Debonair Park Church Empowering the Youth

Debonair Park youth participating in youth day activities

“The church belongs to the community”

Born and bred in Evaton from a family of nine, Thembane Motshele (46) has been a faithful Christian for 20 years, since the year 1998. She was called into the ministry of being a pastor and today she is pastor in a community church at Debonair Park.

 A vocational pastor that is passionate about helping the people in need. She preaches on Hope FM Monday and Tuesday (09h00-11h00) about leadership and is a woman in ministry and an advocate for women.

Motshele started the church 7 years ago with several other members. The church plays an important role in the community. It does not only bring people to God, but gives them an identity to thrive outside church walls.

The congregation assists the youth in becoming leaders, not only spiritually but by helping the youth reshape their future, returning to school or applying for NSFAS and so forth. The church has assisted and contributed in funds for children that needed to pay for their education.

Pastor Thembane says the church is not hers but rather it’s a community church. “The church belongs to the community”, she says. Whenever a situation good or bad affects a household within the community , the church will give support whether you are a member or not, they will be there in your time of need to show you that they have heard and they care and sympathise with you.

The community is benefiting from the church because their area Debonair Park doesn’t have a community hall for recreational activities. The church is used for funeral gatherings, community meetings on politics, or business meetings, for free. The church doesn’t only cater for church members but for everyone in the community by giving out food parcels and donating clothes to community members that are in need.

Almost 214 children from the community are fed from the church’s feeding scheme every Wednesday and Friday, that caters only for children. The church is planning to have a soup kitchen that caters for all age groups including adults and this will be on Mondays and Sundays and is not only limited to the church members but is for everyone.

Usually when empowering the youth church members go to the community grounds and participate in sport activities that distract the youth from doing crime and substance abuse, have braais, and give the young people a sense of belonging.

Debonair Park youth playing games organised by the church

On June 16, 2021, they held traditional games accommodating everyone, such as three-legged race, toddlers running race and adult’s race also. Such events help keep the youth away from the streets. 

“A lot would be fixed if we would create an environment of engagement, a culture of discussion and a spirit of reasoned and constructive arguments’’ says an involved community member.

By Ntokozo Radebe

Ntokozo Radebe is a freelance journalist