Frederico Jonas Catende Buta was born in Sombo, in the town of Tchicala-Tcholohanga, in Huambo province, a member of the Umbundu tribe, around 1901 (probable date). He was the son of Buta, a salesman, and Chambula.
He attended primary school in his village and as a child, cared for the cattle of his uncle, the brother of his father. No one knew then that God was preparing him to be a pastor of His flock!
To continue with his schooling, Buta left home for the town of Bailundo, which was a famous center of learning in those days! Bailundo is still a town of reference, representing the Umbundo people. It was a place of wide streets and various plantations, where there was developed agriculture: land of rain, land of King Ekhuikui, land of sweet potato, land of corn, land of beans, land of green. There in Bailundo, it is believed that it was through western missionaries that Buta came to know the Lord Jesus Christ and give his life to the Lord.
Buta later studied at the well-known Dondi mission and probably attended Bible School there.
He was a teacher in Guenjo, a town in Bailundo, in 1930. In Guenjo, he married Mariona Chitula in 1931. At this time, there was an Evangelical Center in Luvemba Velha, northeast of Bailundo, about 90 kilometers from the town center. The mission of Bailundo decided to send Frederico Buta to Chacumba, the communal village of Galanga, in the town of Londuimbali, to evangelize and to later set up another Evangelical Center.
At that time, there was no church and no witness to Jesus Christ in Chacumba. Buta was a pioneer of the gospel of Jesus Christ in that area. He sacrificially and courageously left for Chacumba to serve God. He also taught singing to those who loved to dance. These were his first students. Some of his students in Guenjo became evangelists in Chacumba.
Frederico and Mariona had 12 children. Their first-born, Eliseu, was born in 1932 in Chacumba. Their children are: Eliseu, Maria (who died as a baby), Rebeca, Raquel, Sara, José, Benjamin, Lúcia, Francisca, Abel, Adélia, and David. Of these, there is very little information on two of them (Abel and David). Three of the them have been known, the grandchildren (Raquel, Sara e Adélia), the others have died. But today, there are more than 84 grandchildren and many more great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
His daughters remember him as a man of few words, a firm disciplinarian and firm in his faith in the Word of God.
Frederico Buta was ordained to pastoral ministry in 1945. He ministered in the Chacumba region, in Londuimbale, going from village to village, evangelizing and teaching and starting churches. His ministry was so memorable in that region that he left people amazed by his words and how convincing he was as he spoke.
People in Chacumba would say, “Who is this man?” “What he says with certainty, happens!” “One day, in a very full church service, the offering was very small. And this man of God warned us, ‘If you continue like this, these things you hold onto to take care of you: your harvest, your cattle, and other things will not give you anything,’ and after some time passed, it happened exactly as he said… who is he?”
Many of the people who embraced the faith through his ministry came to be pastors and evangelists. One of the deacons who served alongside Frederico later founded a church in the Benfica section of the city of Huambo. He named the church building “Frederico.”
In 1960, he was transferred back to Bailundo, in Sieta area of Lunge commune, where he worked until the time of his retirement.
During the last years of his life, Frederico, getting old, had health problems in his legs. In his last weeks, confined to bed, he several times seemed comatose, but then recovered his senses and would tell those present to open a certain Bible text or sing a hymn. He did this multiple times over several days. A few times, he spoke of realities not of this world; he seemed like someone who was already seeing God’s glory of future days. Other times he spoke to those physically present at his side. Those moments were simply amazing and tremendous. Frederico died, or, better, passed from this world to be closer to God in January 1985.
He left a vibrant testimony, of someone who lived to please God, having brought many to the feet of Jesus Christ. To God be the glory and honor forever!
Frederico Catende Buta Catihe
Sources Telephone interview with Sara Chambula Buta (daughter) in Luanda, April 19, 2020. Interview with Raquel Buta (daughter) in Lubango, April 20, 2020. Telephone interview with Adélia Sia Buta (daughter) in Lubango, April 21, 2020.
This biography, received in 2021, was written by Frederico Catende Buta Catihe, a master’s degree candidate with a specialization in linguistics and interpretation at the Higher Institute of Evangelical Theology in Lubango (Instituto Superior de Teologia Evangélica no Lubango, ISTEL) in Angola. He has already received the title of Licenciado in theology from ISTEL. He is a pastor in Lubango and a member of the Union of Evangelical Churches of Angola (União de Igrejas Evangélicas de Angola, UIEA). Since January 2018, he has worked as the General Secretary of the Grupo Bíblico de Estudantes Cristãos de Angola (GBECA), which is a member movement of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES). He has also served as a lecturer in various universities in Namibia (from 2003-2017), China (from 2018-2020), and various provinces of Angola. He is also a relative of Frederico Jonas Catende Buta. This biography was written under the supervision of Sindia Foster, instructor at ISTEL and missionary to Mozambique with Serving in Mission (SIM).