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Tsebe's church was a meeting place for liberation cadres

By unknown | Dec 14, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Monk Nkomo

Even during the dark days of apartheid, Father John Kgoale Tsebe preached about love and forgiving the racists who governed and oppressed the majority of black South Africans.

"Never give up," he used to tell his Anglican Church congregation during his sermons in Atteridgeville, Pretoria.

After a long illness, the world- renowned cleric finally gave up and peacefully passed on last week aged 95.

Tsebe was born in Marabastad, Pretoria. His parents later moved to Mahwelereng, outside Polokwane in Limpopo, where he completed his teacher's diploma in 1935. He taught for a few years and then enrolled at St Peter's Seminary where he qualified as a priest.

His ministry started at Marishane village in Sekhukhune, where he met and married his wife Norah in 1945. He also served as a priest in charge of the Anglican Church in Lady Selborne before he moved to Atteridgeville in 1956.

Despite several attempts on his life by apartheid security agents, he continued in his advocacy for peace, justice and liberation in South Africa.

In the early 1950s, Tsebe narrowly escaped death when he sustained serious injuries while travelling in his motorbike after being trapped by security agents who had placed a wire that tripped him along a street near his home in Lady Selbourne.

A true man of the cloth, he is renowned for saving marriages that were on the rocks and giving advice to the youth who had chosen evil paths.

He served at St Bernard The Martyr Church in Atteridgeville from 1956 to 1966 when he was transferred to Polokwane after being appointed the first black archdeacon of the Pretoria diocese.

He served as Rector of the Parish of Jane Furse, Limpopo, for seven years and was transferred back to Atteridgeville in 1972.

It was during this time that his church became a hive of activity when political parties, mostly the ANC, used it for commemoration services, political meetings and funerals of those killed by apartheid security forces.

Tsebe will be buried at Jane Furse Cemetery tomorrow. The service at the local Anglican Church starts at 7.30am.

He is survived by three children - Peter, Matjie and Mpho, and nine grandchildren.


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