The battle for rightful leadership of the Nazareth Baptist Church also known as Shembe Church rages.
A Kei Mouth gardener has beaten the odds and will represent South Africa when he plays at the World Deaf Golf Championships in Japan later this year.
Despite losing most of his hearing in 2006, Mkhuseli Holose continued to pursue his passion for the game.
Ranking fourth at the South African Deaf Golf Championship in Kwazulu-Natal in March, Holose scored himself a spot in the world championships in October.
The Kwazulu-Natal trip was the first time the 32-year-old man has ever left Kei Mouth.
Gifted and grounded, the hearing impaired golfer worked as a gardener for East London resident Leon Delport at his Morgan Bay beach house, who pushed his passion for the sport.
“He was the first gardener I’ve had that could hold a conversation about sport. I soon realised this young man loved golf and used to caddy at the Kei Mouth Country Club,” said Delport.
However, Holose went missing six years ago and Delport visited his home where he was told the gardener had died.
But months later Holose returned home having lost weight and his hearing from Tuberculosis.
“He came back to the community and strengthened up. He went back to the golf club and started working again as a caddy,” said Delport. Holose started entering competitions where the local caddies played a round of golf against each other.
The Kei Mouth Country Club noticed his potential and embraced his perseverance.
He currently has a two handicap.
Aware of his determination to succeed in the sport, Delport contacted the South African Disabled Golf Association (SADGA) to see if Holose could develop his skills.
Operations manager at SADGA Michael Bredenkamp said Holose’s story immediately caught their attention.
“It’s such a success story and very emotional. We took an immediate interest in him,” said Bredenkamp.
Holose now joins 27 other hearing impaired golfers to represent South African in Japan.
“I am very happy to go to Japan, I will miss Kei Mouth but hopefully I will win,” joked Holose.
Before he can jet off to Japan, each player needs R30,000 to cover costs. They are asking the public for donations.
Holose is determined to make it and won’t allow anything to stand in his way.
“No matter what, I will keep on playing and never let anything hold me back,” he said.