Pastor João Chihesse Langa worked for many years in the West Rand Consolidated Mines at Randfontein and was appointed leader of a group working below the surface. He was always faithful to the church and became the head lay leader over the West Rand.
One day a Swazi miner accosted him and said, “You should praise and thank your God for his care and protection, and worship and serve him faithfully. You don’t remember me? Months ago there was a fight amongst your men. I started it.” Then Langa remembered. It had been over a year before. This Swazi was the chief offender and Langa had had to wrestle him down and sit on him until the police arrived to arrest him. The man went to prison for some months. The Swazi man went on to tell him that he had hated him bitterly and determined to kill him.
He began to plot with his friends to murder Langa, who often walked or rode his bicycle alone to visit Christians at nearby mines. He followed a regular plan using the same routes. They set an ambush for him but that day he had friends along. On the occasion of another ambush he used another path and was out of reach of his attackers. So it continued and they always failed. They concluded that his God protected him, and the Swazi had come to confess it all and assure him that his hatred was now gone.
João Langa was offered and urged to take the position of chief supervisor over the whole compound with a high salary and private living quarters. He realized however that he would be subject to great pressures to become involved in bribery, male prostitution and other evil vices. So he declined to accept the offer and continued with a very modest income. He was indeed a humble and faithful servant of the Lord.
Shortly after his encounter with the Swazi he returned home to pastor the Hlanganha church near Xai-Xai. His wife was Alda. It was a great shock to them on June 23, 1973, to receive word that their twenty-eight-year-old son, Filipe João, a soldier serving with the Portuguese army in the north, had been killed. They were thankful that he was a wonderful Christian. He loved the church from his childhood. When he went away to work he always faithfully sent his tithe back to his home church.
For years Pastor Chihesse Langa was one of the most sought-after pastors to conduct church revivals and district camp meetings. He preached the Word of God very calmly but clearly and to the point. He would give very graphic illustrations from Shangaan traditional life. He passed away in his home at Chitsoguanine.
Paul S. Dayhoff
Dr. William Esselstyn, report (18 June 1993).
Pastor Chihessi and Mrs. Alda Langa, “Report about Our Loved One of the Family and Spiritually,” 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), 14.
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.