Matolwa Simon Dlamini was born near Manzini in Swaziland and found the Lord in 1920. When his father died he was chosen to be chieftain of the Horo area. Dlamini felt that he could not accept this and still serve God acceptably. So he renounced his chieftainship to take the higher calling of preaching. Completing Bible College at Pigg’s Peak in 1924, he pastored at Sidokodvo. His one desire was to follow the Lord and do His will.
He was sent for several months to Mozambique and the southeastern lowveld of Northern Province to assess the progress of the work. Years later while travelling through the thickly populated hills between Nelspruit and Acornhoek, he remarked, with tears in his eyes, “I might have missed it when they sent me to advise whether to close or continue the mission work here. We might not have witnessed to these thousands of people.”
His wife, Mrs. Rachel Dlamini (d. 1974), will always be remembered for her good counsel, her courage, and faithful support of her husband in the Lord’s work. After pastoring a number of churches in Swaziland, Simon Dlamini was ordained in 1947 by Dr. Hardy C. Powers. They moved to Idalia (southern Mpumalanga, near Piet Retief) in 1949 to help pioneer the mission there along with Rev. J. F. Penn (Jr).
From 1958 they served in the Carolina area where missionary Miss Irma Koffel worked with them. Dlamini was the pioneer superintendent of the southeastern district until retirement in 1978. When the work opened in Natal in 1962, he was also the superintendent in that area until the KwaZulu district was formed.
In 1970 he wrote, “I love the church because there is no racial discrimination–it preaches to every nation. It supports education and physical health. I love it especially because it encourages Bible College students–the educated as well as the poorly educated.”
He was a very humble man, loved and honoured by all who knew him. His jolly laugh and smiling face were always a blessing. In all of his travels and discomforts he never complained–waiting in the cold to change trains at night, often hungry and wet with rain and many times misunderstood, but never in despair. Dlamini often said, “The gospel is the power of God because Jesus died and rose and is coming. Therefore the kingdom of Satan will be destroyed.”
After retiring he continued to show great interest in the progress of the work. Just shortly before his death, Irma Koffel told him they now have church building sites in Belfast and at last in Ermelo. His last words to her were, “Carry on, soldier, carry on.”
Rev. Frank Mncina paid tribute to him at his funeral, “He was to children as a little child. To young people he was as one of them, and he related well to adults. His one thought was his Lord and the Lord’s work.” A colleague, Pastor Isaiah Buthelezi, wrote of him, “He never seemed ill or tired. He was a holy and powerful preacher of the Bible. After Rachel passed away he continued to work alone with great perseverance and courage. He was one of the great warriors of the church who strengthens us even though he is now gone.”
Paul S. Dayhoff
Rev. F. Mncina, *Umphaphamisi *, (The Herald), Swazi-Zulu magazine of the Church of the Nazarene for Swaziland and South Africa, (Florida, Transvaal, South Africa: Nazarene Publishing House,September, 1974), 9.
Isibani Sobungcwele, (The Lamp of Holiness), Swazi/Zulu Magazine of the Church of the Nazarene in South Africa, (Florida, Transvaal, South Africa: Nazarene Publishing House, July-September, 1970), 2.
Isaiah P. Buthelezi, letter, 1992.
“In Memoriam,” *Trans African *,(Florida, Transvaal, South Africa: Africa Nazarene Publications, September-October, 1982), 2.
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.