1920 to 1973
Church of the Nazarene
Reginah Tesulelo Dlamini was from Siteki, Swaziland. She married Mr. Makhizikhizi Sibandze, a younger brother of Rev. Leonard Sibandze. They lived at Logoba between Manzini and Matsapha. The marriage broke up, and Reginah returned to Siteki with her son and daughter to live with her elder sister, Ms. Alvinah L. Dlamini, a strong Christian. Alvinah had been married to Mr. Kinton Du Pont but he had died many years previously. She had found the Lord at the Siteki Camp Meeting in 1957. Both Alvinah and Reginah reverted to their original family name, Dlamini.
Reginah gave her life to the Lord Jesus in 1967 when Rev. Leonard Sibandze was pastor of the Siteki Church. She enrolled in Swaziland Nazarene Bible College at Siteki in 1971. Regina was a faithful Christian and a woman of prayer. She carried a burden in her heart for sinners. It was rewarding ministering to her as she supported chapel messages and college lectures with glad "Amens!". She seemed to sense that her days on earth were short, and she frequently urged others to make good use of the time and vowed that she would do the same.
She was tenderhearted and very obedient to the Holy Spirit. She would often go to pray at the altar in services when she felt that the message pointed out some need in her heart and life. One day after praying at the altar she stood and said, "I want God to put a big pile of firewood upon my heart in order to burn and consume me through and through." She was certainly fully sanctified and she wanted to keep glowing brightly for the Lord at every moment.
It was not customary to take an offering at the Bible College chapel services. One day Reginah brought an offering, and after that in every chapel service she brought her offering at some time during the opening exercises. Soon other students began following her example, and eventually it became an established part of the programme to take an offering to care for needs in the college.
During her last vacation she was asked to go to the Emvembili Church to observe and assist in the ministry there. She stayed with the pastor, Miss Ellen Mnisi, a very successful pastor who was later ordained and who was married to Rev. Leonard C. Sibandze in 1982. Regina was delighted to be given this privilege. She was not interested in learning about church organization and administration. Her sole concern was to speak to people about Christ. Not only did she accompany Pastor Mnisi in visitation but went out on her own as well. She called in many homesteads and preached a revival campaign in that church. Lasting converts remained in some of the homes she visited because of her faithful ministry. When Regina returned to college she told one of the students that she had finished her work and was ready to meet the Lord.
One Saturday in September Regina became very ill and was rushed to the Nazarene hospital in Manzini (about forty miles to the west). On Tuesday at 9:15 a.m. she passed away to be with the Lord. Dr. Paul Riley and the other doctors did all they could to save her life and many prayers went up on her behalf. It seemed God's will to take Regina into His presence then.
At the mortuary early Thursday morning the coffin was opened at the request of the relatives. They wondered if she was really dead as she seemed only to be asleep. Her face was like that of Stephen: "They saw that his face was like the face of an angel" (Acts 6:15). As the coffin was taken from the hospital mortuary to be placed into the vehicle someone began to sing the hymn, Banokuthula abangcwele nxa bemuka lapha (The saints have peace when they depart from here). The beautiful words were sung over and over for more than ten minutes. The presence of the Holy Spirit filled the mortuary. There were shouts of "Amen" and hands were raised in testimony. The relatives who were not Christians were amazed as they saw the joyful Christians. Everyone was convinced that Reginah Dlamini was not dead; she lived somewhere. Rev. Jotham Magagula, the pastor at Manzini, prayed and everyone responded with "Amen."
Words cannot describe her funeral service at Siteki, conducted by the district superintendent, Rev. L. C. Sibandze. Her pastor, Rev. Caiphas Mnisi, was there. Six people paid tribute to Regina's holy life and influence. The Spirit of the Lord came down and anointed the singing and the preaching. Hands waved in testimony and shouts of victory filled the Lord's house. The Holy Spirit bore abundant witness that heaven had gained a saint through the grace of God.
A paper was found in Reginah's Bible after her death in which she asked Christians not to mourn for her after she had gone, but to rejoice because she had gone to heaven. The Holy Spirit enabled them all to obey her admonition. Reginah was deeply missed at the Bible College. Her life was so exemplary that it continued to bear fruit. Students responded to her challenge to devote their lives totally to God's service. Her intercessory prayers for her family were answered in her death. On the day before the funeral, and in the weeks following, her kinfolk repented one by one.
Paul S. Dayhoff
1. Rev. L. C. Sibandze, district superintendent, Swaziland and Petrus P. Pato, teacher, "Glory in Sorrow," The Other Sheep, Mission magazine of the Church of the Nazarene, (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, July 1974), 18-19. Petrus and Gladys Pato, letter from Lilongwe, Malawi, November 16, 1996.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Africa Nazarene Mosaic: Inspiring Accounts of Living Faith, first edition, (Florida, Gauteng, South Africa: Africa Nazarene Publications, 2002), copyright © 2001, by Paul S. Dayhoff. All rights reserved.