Widow shepherds flock after husband’s murder

STEPPING IN: Evangelical Presbyterian Church of South Africa (EPCSA) Mthatha Central congregation presiding priest Reverend Nolulamo Tina Poncana, 34, has been recently ordained, heading the congregation led by her late husband, Reverend Sibongile Doctor Poncana. Taxi boss Poncana was gunned down in cold blood in the yard of his Ngangelizwe home in Mthatha on July 7, 2013. His killers are still on the run
STEPPING IN: Evangelical Presbyterian Church of South Africa (EPCSA) Mthatha Central congregation presiding priest Reverend Nolulamo Tina Poncana, 34, has been recently ordained, heading the congregation led by her late husband, Reverend Sibongile Doctor Poncana. Taxi boss Poncana was gunned down in cold blood in the yard of his Ngangelizwe home in Mthatha on July 7, 2013. His killers are still on the run
Nolulamo Tina Poncana watched hopelessly with her young daughters as her husband – a popular Eastern Cape priest and taxi boss – died in front of them after being gunned down in 2013.

To add insult to injury, the late Reverend Sibongile Poncana’s killers have never been arrested

It was a difficult time for Nolulamo, who since her husband’s killing has stood firm in the face of adversity and accepted the calling to fill his shoes and lead the congregation he was heading before he was murdered.

Nolulamo, 34, was one of four Evangelical Presbyterian Church of South Africa (EPCSA) priests from the Eastern Cape recently ordained by national moderator the Right Reverend Phumelele Qwabaza.

Nolulamo – a mother to three daughters Lisolethu, 16, Amahle, 11, and Bavuyise, 4 – said her husband was shot 13 times on July 7 2013 in the yard of their flat in Ngangelizwe Township, Mthatha.

“The killing of my husband left me heartbroken and I lost hope in life.

Reliving the incident she said: “It was about 6pm, shortly after he had dropped our then 18-monthold daughter, Bavuyise, at home and had gone back out for a minute.

“I heard a car coming into the yard and the children were happy, calling ‘Daddy, daddy’. Seconds later I heard gunshots.”

She said her eight-yearold daughter had witnessed “criminals” trying to rob her father.

“I rushed outside and found my husband lying in a pool of blood. I called his name and drew no response. When I bent down and tried to lift him, I saw a large hole in his head and lots of blood, I don’t know what happened after that,” she said.

Nolulamo said after his death, she had had a number of dreams in which her husband begged her to continue with his ministerial work.

“That dream continued for a number of nights until I stood up and responded to the calling,” she said.

Nolulamo did the required theological training and was ordained at the new church hall of her congregation in Zimbane Valley in Mthatha on October 30.

“This is a call from God to be a servant of his people. I know being a mother of three girls and a widow that the priesthood is going to be a big responsibility, but it is a duty that God wants done and I am giving my all,” she said.

Nolulamo said she had received spiritual strength and support from many people including her parents and the congregation.

Qwabaza described Nolulamo “as a brave pulpit giant”.

“I have great confidence in her to lead the congregation to greater heights. She is a very strong preacher, a servant of God.”

“The new Reverend Poncana is some sort of glue uniting the congregation and building it stronger and making it more effective.” — lulamilef@dispatch.co.za

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