Daniel Kufeni Mukheti Muyanga Langa was born into a traditional, non-Christian home at Chicavane near Manjacaze. His father was Mukheti. Along with other herd boys Kufeni played, hunted, fought, stole chickens and raided gardens. At ten years of age his first clothes were two small skins. Water was scarce and had to be carried from two and a half hours away. When he saw his first pond he went in and nearly drowned.
When he was nineteen he walked much of the five hundred miles to find work at Langlaagte Estates in Johannesburg where the main gold reef was first discovered. One day a minister of the Paris Evangelical Mission who spoke Sotho came to their compound room. He said to them in broken Zulu, “What will you say when you die in your sins and stand before Christ who loves you and died for you, but you rejected him?” This gripped his heart and shortly afterwards he found Christ at a nearby mission and took the name Daniel when baptized.
On returning home at the end of his labour contract he declined to drink the beer prepared for his welcome. He told his family, “I no longer drink beer as I have found Christ the Saviour of the world.” The drinking of beer on ceremonial occasions often involved traditional non-Christian religious practices. Daniel Langa started a church in his home at Chicavane in l9l4 and that congregation joined the Church of the Nazarene in l922. He and his wife Rosa were pastoring at Chicavane during the great holiness revivals of 1925 to 1928.
He once learned the song, in Shangaan, “All the way along it is Jesus” and taught it to Rosa that evening. That night their xihlangala (food hut) burned down, a great catastrophe as they lived by subsistence farming; food was scarce and they had little money. They sang their new song, lay back down on their mats and went to sleep. His father knocked the next morning and said, “I warned you of disaster if you left our ancestral spirits.” They just sang their new song and he left shaking his head hopelessly.
They ate the scrapings from the pots from the previous evening instead of throwing them out to the chickens. Later that day some women came by with loads on their heads as though going to market in Manjacaze, but they said, “No, Pastor, we’re not going to sell. We heard of your fire and have brought these things for you from our gardens.” There was maize, rice and peanuts - more than they had lost in the fire.
During the great holiness revivals in l927-8 they found the experience of entire sanctification, and in l930 Daniel Langa was appointed leader over about thirty churches in that area. He was among the first four Nazarene ministers to be ordained in Mozambique in l939 by General Superintendent J. G. Morrison. (The others were Rev. Paul Seweya, Rev. John Mazivila, and Rev. Zephaniah Mhula. Missionary Glenn Grose was ordained along with them at the same time.)
In the early l940s Langa served the church on the South African gold mines. Rev. William C. Esselstyn, a missionary with whom he worked, testified, “He was ever the most faithful, godly, helpful and cooperative shepherd of the flock.”
Shortly after returning home he became sick. In the Chicumbane hospital near Xai-Xai he prayed much on his deathbed and wrote many encouraging letters. When his daughter and Miss Mary Cooper visited him he said to the missionary, “I’ll meet you in heaven.” But he told his daughter, “Goodbye, Sara, I’ll not see you again for you are not going where I am going.” Sara was broken-hearted and soon found the Lord. She became a worker for Him and married Rev. Matias Beta Gama, who became superintendent of the Tete District. Rev. Daniel Langa told his wife, Rosa, he was going home to heaven, closed his eyes and went peacefully to be with his Lord Jesus.
Paul S. Dayhoff
Amy N. Hinshaw, Native Torch Bearers, (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1934), 123-126.
William Esselstyn, letter (Rockton, IL, 18 January 1993).
Mary Cooper, report (3 August 1992); Vicente Mbanze, letter (13 April 1995).
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.