Bible study is every Wednesday at 6pm sharp in Kwanokuthula. At this time of year, at the time of the day, the sun has firmly set and the sky is onyx black. It doesn’t matter. A traveler would have no fear of getting lost in this sprawling township – at least not for the sake of darkness. The moon, stars, and the odd street lamp provide enough light to make out your path. If you stay the course, you will find yourself in the humble house of worship where Pastor Grant is leading the study for the evening.
Tonight, he’s teaching out of 1Kings, linking the artifacts and sacrifices in Solomon’s Temple to Christ’s body and His ultimate sacrifice. There is a mighty brass basin called The Sea in the temple where mammalian sacrifices were washed before they were offered up to the Lord. Likewise, John baptized Jesus in order to prepare His body for the cross. The atmosphere is charged. Saints are sharing and asking questions, hungry for a deeper meaning and revelation from God. Eventually, the study ends with the attendees praying for one another.
Pastor Grant has been asked by one man to pray for a job. He’s looking for work to support his family. Unemployment, especially among Black South Africans, is alarmingly high. Pastor Grant honors his requests and prays that God will provide this man with the means to support him household through gainful employment. Soon another saint makes a similar request – a woman this time. She wants the pastor to pray for her daughter to get a job. She closes her eyes, ready to receive the benediction.
“No,” says Pastor Grant. “I will not be praying for anyone to get a job any more.”
The woman is shocked!
He begins to explain himself, speaking deliberately. “Instead, I’m going to pray that God gives your daughter, and anyone else looking for work, insight and inspiration to start their own business. I’m going to pray that God gives you an idea and resources to start your own business. No more depending on others to give you work. YOU will employ yourself!”
Everyone in the room is stunned. This is unusual! It is customary to pray for work, and tradition to look for a praise report in a matter of weeks (or months) of evidence of God’s power by providing some job in town…most likely a menial one. Nevertheless, pastor Grant prayed the prayer and the people said “amen”.
Evidently, the word was well received. The next day, pastor Grant gave a congregant who was not at the study a lift after seeing him in town.
“I heard about what you said last night,” he said excitedly. “It’s true! We need to start our own businesses and stop looking for others to employ us.”
The pair chatted about the obstacles of entrepreneurship and how they can be overcome with practical measures. The first step is in understanding your business environment.
Plettenberg Bay and Knysna are the two cities that feed the surrounding townships. Neither is a large city by any stretch of the imagination. Yet the ANC sends bus loads of people from the Eastern Cape to this area with the promise that those who have relocated will find jobs. The gullible and hopeful transplants arrive, construct shacks and live in abject squalor while waiting for the afore-promised jobs that only come sporadically. Both Plett and Knysa are beach towns, inhabited by retirees the majority of the year and by tourists who holiday on the coast during the summer season. Any jobs will invariably be in the service industry, cleaning houses for the seasonal visitors or working as restaurant staff to manage the influx at peak season. This is not long-term guaranteed work. Restaurants bloom and shutter in Plett all the time, and it is devastating to have ones fortune tied exclusively to a company ALSO so heavily dependent on tourists’ rand without some sort of back up.
Kwanokuthula is the hood, but like any hood anywhere in the world, there is wealth flowing through it. Asians and Arabs know this, which is why they set up liquor stores and hair shops in ghettos all across America; a risky venture on its face, but with high returns in the long term. In South Africa, the Somalis act as the Arab/Asian counterpart, conveniently providing goods in the townships in container stores. This isn’t something Black South Africans can’t do for themselves. The challenge is in changing the mindset into something that they should do for themselves and then set about unraveling the hows. God has given each of us a measure of rule, and inherent in that rule is the ability to sustain oneself with the earth’s resources. Your job will never meet all of your needs. God, not money, is our supply.