Rivers of blessings flowed for six mothers who gave birth at Michael Mapongwana clinic, in Harare, Khayelitsha, when Pastor Lwando Ngxabani of Rejoice Nation Church showered them with gifts, on Friday June 24, as part of his annual birthday celebration ceremony.
The 39-year-old father of three launched the Your Child is My Child Project three years ago, aimed at providing a support structure to parents who gave birth on June 24.
The core mission of the project was to look after the well-being of the children from the first day they were born until the day they enrol into institutions of higher learning.
He described his upbringing as an excruciating time of his life and an experience that should never be experienced by any child.
Having been rejected by his biological father at an early age meant that his mother had to also be a father figure to him while battling to make ends meet.
Talking to Vukani, Mr Ngxabani said, as a child, he had been aggressive towards other people and had many suicidal thoughts because he did not know why his father had rejected him.
He said one of most difficult times in his life was when he had to go to initiation school and there was no one from his father’s family to perform the required traditional rituals.
He added that he had never met his father and doesn’t even know what he looks like.
Mr Ngxabani explained that he was later informed that his father had passed on. He attended the funeral and thought that at least he would be able see him in his coffin, but he was told that the body had already been cremated.
“I took the decision to mark my birthday by giving gifts to the children born on this day as a way of investing in their future. I gave the mothers clothes for the new babies – not to undermine them because I think they are less fortunate – but to add to what they already had and to show the spirit of Ubuntu and spread the word of God, because the word of God says those who give will be abundantly blessed.
“My childhood was miserable and because of the things that I went through in my life, I found myself drinking a lot because of depression and stress.
“It killed me to hear my friends talking about what they had been given by their fathers while I did not (even) know where my father was. Now I want the children born on this day to have a father figure and (I want to) provide mentorship to their fathers on how to be good fathers to their children through this project.
“I’m saying to the parents whatever hardship they encounter in their lives, they must know that God is there through thick and thin days and they should not be ashamed to come to the church to ask for help,” he said.
Mr Ngxabani said he would try to assist where he could and where he was not able to assist, God would provide.
A beaming Vithi Ziphozethu, 21, who gave birth to a baby girl, said she was at a loss for words to describe the gesture by the pastor.
She said this illustrates that there are still good Samaritans who still practise the spirit of Ubuntu and have dedicated their lives to bettering the lives of other people who are less fortunate.
“I wept with tears of joy when I received the clothes from the pastor and this has been a double celebration for me.
“I thank him from the bottom of my heart for what he has done and he should continue to do the same to others as well,” she said.
Operations manager at the clinic, Nosiphiwo Jonas, said they are proud that the project was initiated at the clinic and applauded the efforts of the pastor. “We hope that this project will continue to bring hope to the lives of these children,” she said.
And the paster concluded: “I hope to get celebrities to endorse this project. We are hoping to visit other clinics in Khayelitsha to do the same. I appeal to local business people and individuals to support this initiative that seeks to create a better future for our children.”