Cossa, Abraham Timoteo

1948
Church of the Nazarene
Mozambique

Pastor Abraham Timoteo Cossa is the son of Pastor Timoteo Cossa, pastor for many years (including through the early 1950s) at the Chau Church of the Vila de João Belo Zone in Mozambique. He was killed during the civil war. Abraham Cossa was born at Chau near Xai-Xai in Gaza. He went to work in the Johannesburg gold mines. He married Miss Isaura Maguiguane Bila (1950-). They had six children, four boys and two girls. They are are all Christians in the Church. In 1998 Isaura was a leader in the women’s and youth organizations on the Mavengane District. Cossa grew up in the church “as a follower of God.”

He reported that on 12 August 1973 Revs. Paul Hetrick, Noé. J. Mainga and N. Chamu visited their church gathering of the Blyvooruitzich Division in the far West Rand. Sixteen of the men had been taking a Bible Correspondence Course from Tavane Bible College in Mozambique and on that day Mr. Augusto Hlacato from the Chidumo Church was presented with his certificate. This was the first one to be given in the Johannesburg area.[1]

Abraham Cossa was awakened by the phone in room five at 2:30 a.m. on April 11, 1980. The shiftboss at number one shaft on Deelkraal Gold Mine wanted him. Cossa thought that some emergency problem must have arisen and he was the team leader. As he walked down the dimly lit path, dressed in heavy clothing, boots and hard hat, he met a colleague who worked just under him in the command structure. This man said he had also been called and they walked together.

Cossa was a step behind when his colleague suddenly turned and threw a handful of fine red pepper into his face. As he was blinded and choking a screwdriver was jabbed into his neck near the clavicle bone and jugular vein. Blood spurted and murderous jabs fell repeatedly. As his assailant tried to force him under a truck to hide the murder, Cossa gripped him, pinioning his arms. Cossa held on for his life. This prevented further damage from the screwdriver. He weakened however as he was losing blood.

His assailant twisted out of the grip and began hurling rocks at his head. In a burst of strength Cossa arose with a shovel that was lying next to him and attacked blindly, desperately fighting for his life. His attacker panicked. He was known and his victim was still alive. He fled as Cossa yelled for help. The doctors saved his life but he was flat on his back in a hospital bed for a week.

Cossa was a lay zone leader in the church. He was highly respected at work and was promoted over others in responsibility and salary. Envy and greed had moved some of those working under him to plot his murder. The would-be murderer was the one who had telephoned him.

Back to work and praising the Lord for his escape, Cossa put it this way: “God is good to spare my life. I tell you, when I held the villain so tight, my heart said, ‘Don’t pound his head with a rock; only hold him secure and forgive.’” When his attacker was arrested and in handcuffs, the police asked Cossa if he wished to press attempted-murder charges. His reply was, “No, I forgive!” [2]

In 1998 he said, “I have gone through tough and soft conditions but through all of it I always keep God before me as my Saviour, ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want’ (Psalm 23:1).’” In 1998 he works at the East Driefontein Mine at Carletonville, and as a senior leader in the church organization was active in evangelism.[3] Pastor Abraham Cossa retired from the mines in 1998. Returning home he will continue to help in his church at Xai-Xai where Rev. Siea pastors.

Paul S. Dayhoff


  1. Abraham T. Cossa, “Correspondence Course,” Mutwalisi (The Herald), Shangaan/Tsonga magazine of the Church of the Nazarene in Mozambique and South Africa, (Florida, Transvaal, South Africa: Nazarene Publishing House, July-September 1974), 5.

  2. Oscar & Marjorie Stockwell, The Tribe of God: A Collection of Stories from African Christians, (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1989), 73-75; Vicente Mbanze, letter (13 April 1995).

  3. Abraham Cossa, letter (16 March 1998).


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.