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Nkhofane Samuel Dlamini

Dlamini, Nkhofane Samuel
c. 1896 to 1986
Church of the Nazarene
Swaziland

Rev. Nkhofane Samuel Dlamini was a grandson of King Sobhuza I and a nephew of King Mswati II. He was born about fifteen kilometers west of Manzini at the royal village of KaNtunja. Although his mother Lomvimbi was the third wife and not of royal blood Nkhofane was considered the heir. His mother had been a slave under Chief Gija. Because of that his recognition as heir caused jealousy; so for his protection his mother sent Nkhofane, as a small child, to his grandmother at Louw's Creek in Mpumalanga.

Once he met a bigger boy from a Methodist Sunday School who smiled beautifully and sang a song about a Saviour. He longed to be happy like that boy. When Nkhofane was six his grandmother died and he came to the home of his great uncle, Chief Siphepho, at Endzingeni. When he was ten his ear lobes were pierced as a first preparation for manhood. When he was about fifteen he was taken to the Royal Court at Lobamba as an errand boy and messenger. His duties included building fires, fetching water and wood and cleaning the men's sleeping quarters. Here he lived a life of great privation and ran away after six months.

Then as a teenager he found work at one of the early gold mines and his first contact with Christianity was when he met some Christian miners. He was present at Endzingeni when the Schmelzenbachs first arrived but he showed no interest in the gospel at that time. While he was working in Johannesburg in 1916 a Methodist miner taught him to read. At the end of his contract he returned home and had a chance to observe the Christians in the newly established church at Endzingeni. On his way back to Johannesburg he stopped over at Manzini in 1918 to sign his new labour contract.

Having nothing else to do he went into a church on Sunday and sat on the floor at the back. A relative, Mr. Noah Dlamini, who was a student at the fledgling Bible School, preached. At the close of the service Nkhofane Dlamini, out of courtesy, knelt with the rest. The preacher prayed for their visiting friend. From that prayer he said he felt changed; God loved him and he loved God. In Johannesburg he met with Christians and became established as a Christian.

He joined the Church of the Nazarene at Endzingeni and took the name Samuel. By 1921 he had completed two years in the Bible course. He married Miss Emelinah Nkambule who was also in school there. In 1926 he was sanctified. At that time he became aware of things that had to be made right. He had taken a tin can from a store without paying for it. As a herd boy he and his cousins had stolen and eaten three of Mr. Vilakati's goats. He had stolen a sheep from a white lady farmer. After making restitution for everything he returned home happy.

The Dlaminis went to pastor at Ensingweni in Northern Swaziland where his uncle was the chief. They took the place of his distant cousin, Pastor Noah Dlamini, under whose ministry Samuel Dlamini had first found the Lord. A mud and grass church was erected and the people brought mats on which to sit. They worked very hard and visited all of the homesteads for miles around. At the end of the first year there were twenty-five converts and they had opened a school.

Some women from the chief's village found the Lord, and their husband Dunguzela, a brother of the chief, accused Dlamini of stealing away his wives. Resentment grew against him in the community. Later Dunguzela became very sick and Dlamini visited him faithfully. On recovery Dunguzela began attending church. One Sunday he raised his hand and said, "I choose Jesus." As he had great influence, general attitudes towards the church soon began to change for the better.

Samuel Dlamini supported and protected Christian girls who were being forced to marry non-Christian men. The chief's counselors ordered him to stop holding services. He defied them. Eventually they threatened to come the following Sunday to burn the church, his home and the clothes of the Christians if he continued. Dlamini sent word for missionary Harmon Schmelzenbach to come to help. On Sunday morning he was ringing his hand bell as usual. As the people were gathering he saw eight men coming over the hill: the prince, two counselors and five armed warriors carrying burning flares. Just then the two missionaries, Rev. Harmon Schmelzenbach and Rev. Joseph Penn, appeared on horseback and, together with Dlamini, they were able to intercept the attackers.

Reluctantly the prince and his men sat down on the hillside to talk. The accusations went on for eight hours. Three witnesses had arrived, men whose daughters had gone to the mission for protection. In the end the witnesses all supported Pastor Dlamini and the missionaries by affirming their appreciation for the help their daughters had received at the mission. Thus the counselors lost their case and the next day the chief assured Dlamini that he and the church would not be molested any more.

After that instead of the bell, he began using a more effective cow horn trumpet.[1] Three times the chief and his men helped them to build a bigger church building. By 1929 it had become one of the strongest on the district.[2] Dlamini preached all over the lowveld and often contracted malaria. Once he developed deadly black water fever and barely made it to the mission where, with nursing care, he recovered.

Once two little girls, Lillias and Lucy, died in the community. The chief ordered the traditional doctors to carry out ceremonies to find the sorcerers responsible for their death. They demanded that all of the Christians be present. Dlamini was afraid that they would be accused of sorcery and he forbade the Christians attending. He himself went to represent them,--a very dangerous thing to do. The dancing and divination went on for three weeks. They were frustrated by the pastor's presence and finally dispersed without naming anyone as a sorcerer.

Samuel Dlamini was appointed overseer of the churches in the Pigg's Peak area. He was a gifted preacher, always kind, gentle and tactful in dealing with perplexing problems in the congregations.[3] Christians and non-Christians alike respected him as a humble man of God. [4]

In 1971 he wrote of revival back in those years. He remembered that once for three Sundays consecutively there was no preaching at Hhelehhele. As they began singing the power of God came into their midst and everyone began praising the Lord, drunk under the power of the Holy Spirit. The years of 1927 and 1935 were remembered especially as years of great revival throughout Swaziland. A traditional doctor told a lady missionary in 1962 that back in those years, when the fire of the Holy Spirit was burning in the churches, the doctors were afraid of the believers. They found that their medicines and sorcery would not work against them. He said that in later years that was no longer always the case.[5]

He was ordained in 1939 by Dr. J. G. Morrison. It was a great day when his uncle, Mazibuko, found the Lord. Some young men, who had held him down and hit him after his conversion, also found the Lord.

In 1941 Dlamini volunteered for service as a Chaplain in the Swazi Pioneer Corps. He served throughout the campaigns of World War II in North Africa, the Middle East and Italy. They were bombed at Tobruk and were in great danger. He reported that many soldiers were saved. [6] Dlamini was promoted to sergeant major, the highest rank for a chaplain. During this time he began to develop glaucoma and his eyesight deteriorated.

In 1944 Rev. James Malambe wrote the following "praise" (poem) to honour Samuel Dlamini:


IZIBONGO ZOMF. S. DHLAMINI PRAISE FOR REV. S. DHLAMINI
Ijub' elindizayo, elika Noah Noah's flying dove,
Elatunywa ukuhlol'amanzi ka zamcolo, Which was sent to survey the flood waters,
Labuya nombiko omuhle, kwa be semkunjini. Brought a good report to those who were inside the Ark.
Labika ukuti amanzi ka zamcolo a se ncipile. It reported that the flood waters had abated.
Leza li pete iqabunga lomgwenya ngomlomo, It returned bearing an olive leaf in its beak
Ijub'elimpofu, pakati kwamavukutu, kanti isisila salo singwevu. A grey dove, among the rock pigeons, yet its tail feathers are grey.
La vuka lokusa, lapangel'abalindi ba masimu, It rose up early in the morning and overtook the field watchers
Bate be papama lase lindizile. When they awoke it had already flown away.
Landiza lisuk' eNdigeni, lapinde landiza It flew from Endzingeni, and again it flew
Lisuk'eManzini kwa Bulema-Sitopa.. From Manzini, which was called Bremersdorp.
Landiza liqond'enyakato, ukhlol'amanzi ka zamcolo. It flew northwards to survey the flood waters.
Ndizi Juba, usiletele umbik'omuhle. Fly Dove and bring us a good report.
Si yabona ukuti bomdungazwe, ba lidungilizwe, We are aware of those who have stirred up conflict,
Lidungwe bo Dolofu Hiti be noBeta Msoleni. Those such as Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini
Be noTojo wa maJabane a se mpumalanga. Along with Tojo of the Japanese in the east.
Juba, ndizela kwe laseGipite, elalibuswa uFaro. Dove, flyl towards Egypt, once ruled by Pharoah.
Juba, ndizela kwe laseJerusalema elalibuswa amaJuda Dove, fly towards Jerusalem, once ruled by the Jewish people.
U buya nombiko omuhle kwa ba semkunjini Return with a good report to those who are in the Ark
Ududuze abahlezi ngovalo, Comfort those who are living in fear,
Beti, "Izwe, a li sayikwakiwa, lohlala licitekile." Who say, "The world will never be the same, it will remain desolated."
Kanti kulapo kona, ngoba kuyolinywa izindala zemizi yezita. Whereas there will be prosperity, because we shall plough where enemie's homes used to be.
Ijub'elindiza ba lidinge baseNdingeni The dove which flew away, was missed by Endzingeni residents.
Lidingwa ngabadala nabasha, ngoba ipimbo lokukala kwalo li ngasezwakali It was missed by adults and the youth, because its cooing voice was no longer heard
Pakati kwa mavukutu amnyama namhlope kwe lase Ndingeni. Among the black and white rock pigeons of Endzingeni.
Ijub'ilincamakazi, kanti linhliziyonkulu A slender dove, yet it has a big heart
Likwazi ukutwal'imitwalo yezinsizi, ngokubekezela. It patiently bears burdens of sorrow.
Tula Juba unganyakazi, zalel'amaqanda kwe laseNyakato. Wait quietly, Dove, be steady and lay eggs there in the North.
Wot'ubuya, usunomhlambi wamajuba. When you return, it will be with a flock of doves.
Izwe lakaNgwane, li yo gewal'ukutoza. Swaziland will be filled with rejoicing.
Kupele usizi nezinyembezi zokudabuka Misery and tears of sorrow will come to an end,
Ngoba oPezukonke, ufungile wa ti, Because the Almighty has pledged:
"A ku sayikubako uzamcolo emhlabeni." "There will never again be such a flood on earth."
Ijub'elihle ngezimpape zamapiko alo, Beautiful dove with the feathers on its wings,
Ijub'elisila singwevu, kanti si ya pepezela. The dove with grey flapping tail feathers.
Nalapo selifile, bosala be zihlobisa ngezimpape zalo. Even after its death, those remaining alive will adorn themselves with its feathers.
Ba ya kwenza izihluku, kanye nezinpicabacapeli. They will make hats and beautiful things that will amaze the connoiseurs.
Ijub'elinyama mnand'ekoseni, The black dove whose meat is tasty when it is roasted
Kanti eziny'izinyama, zimnand'ekupekweni. Yet some meat is delicious when cooked.
Dlamini weKunene, qawe lika Somandhla, Dlamini, Sir, hero of the Almighty,
Inkos' ikubusise size sipinde ku sibone kwelakini May the Lord bless you until we meet again in the land of
lomdabuko, elika Mswazi eSwazini.[7] your birth, the country once ruled by Mswati, King of Swaziland.


(Translated by Mr. Gareth Mabila and Rev. Timothy Dlamini)

From 1949 until 1962 Dlamini served as Chaplain at Thembelihle, the Leper Colony near Mbabane. He said he asked God that all who entered there be saved physically and spiritually and God answered.[8]

Mrs. Emelinah Dlamini died in 1950 and Samuel Dlamini married Miss Emily Shabangu (1925-1999) in 1952. Her parents were Mr. Amos and Mrs. Ellinah Sikumane of Mvembili. She began her education at Mvembile and completed her higher primary certificate at Ndzingeni. She enrolled and graduated from the Nazarene Bible College and pastored at Shelangubo in South Africa and then at Mzimnene, also in South Africa. They had one son named Lindimusa (Wait for God's mercy).

After 1962 they pastored Dvokolwako, Black Umbuluzi, until 1980 when Samuel Dlamini retired. For the last thirty years of his life, Rev. Samuel Dlamini was completely blind. His brother, Rev. John Dlamini, could not hear well and they were often seen together. John provided the eyes and Samuel the ears for them both. [9]

They returned to Endzingeni and Emily pastored the Ebulandzeni Nazarene Church until she retired in 1992. Rev. Emily Dlamini was ordained in 1990 after many years of productive and dedicated ministry and service to the Lord.[10]

Paul S. Dayhoff


Notes:

1. Lula Schmelzenbach, The Missionary Prospector: A Life Story of Harmon Schmelzenbach Missionary to South Africa, (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1936), 182; The Times of Swaziland, report (17 August 1962).
2. Elmer and Mary Schmelzenbach, report (Nazarene Archives, Manzini, 12 December 1986).
3. Roy E. Swim, A History of Missions of the Church of the Nazarene, (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1936), 85.
4. Amy N. Hinshaw, Native Torch Bearers, (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1934), 110ff.
5. Rev. S. E. Dlamini, "The Church of the Nazarene in Those Years," Umphaphamisi (The Herald), Swazi-Zulu magazine of the Church of the Nazarene for Swaziland and South Africa, (Florida, Transvaal, South Africa: Nazarene Publishing House, January-March 1971), 9.
6. Elizabeth Cole, Give me this mountain, (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1959), 45-48.
7. Umphaphamisi, (March-April 1944), 7.
8. Margaret C. Dlamini, "Farewell of Rev. Samuel Dlamini of Thembelihle, Swaziland", Umphaphamisi, (November-December 1962).
9. Robert Perry, notes, (Nazarene Archives, Manzini, 1985): M. Burne, Thy Servant Heareth: The Story of Samuel Dlamini of Swaziland, (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1967); Bill Moon, notes (14 August 1995); Dr. Richard F. Zanner, "One More Warrior for the Heavenly Army," Trans African, (Florida, Transvaal, South Africa: Africa Nazarene Publications, January-February 1987), 8-9.
10. Obituary of Rev. Emily Dlamini (laShabangu).


This article is reproduced, with permission, from Living Stones In Africa: Pioneers of the Church of the Nazarene, revised edition, copyright © 1999, by Paul S. Dayhoff. All rights reserved.