Manchi Masemola Pilgrimage 2015
Over 2000 people gathered at the grave of Manchi Masemola, deep in the rural part of Marishane district of Sekhukhuneland, on Sunday 2nd August 2015 for the annual Pilgrimage.
Two things stood out in particular:
1) The participation of young people who led the first part of the service (Click to see the special Manchi Masemola Liturgy)
2) The encouraging sermon of Dr Vicentia Kgabe, Rector of the College of the Transfiguration in Grahamstown. You can download it by clicking Manchi Masemola Sermon 2015.
This year's pilgrimage was also marked by:
- A lovely spirit of joy and worship
- Good organisation, with enough tents and chairs for everyone to sit in the shade
- The youth who served as ushers
- The presence of the "Voices of St Mark" (Diocesan Choir) and the band from Manchi Masemola Church in Namakgale.
Manchi Masemola Pilgrimage 2014
The Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist hosted the annual Manchi Masemola Pilgrimage at the site of her grave in Marishane, Sekhukhuneland, on Sunday 3rd August 2014. Once again, about 2000 people from the Diocese, other parts of South Africa, Africa and Europe participated. Canon Raphahle Malesela (Priest in Charge of the Parish of Matlala in the Diocese) preached a stirring sermon - which can be accessed here.
Through negotiations with the Masemola family, the tribal authority, and SAHRA (the South African Heritage Authority) the Diocese has been allocated 2ha of land surrounding the grave. SARHA have promised to provide fencing and to pave the area before the pilgrimage next year.
During the negotiations it was discovered that the family prefer to spell the name of the young martyr "Manchi", and not "Manche" as the church has been doing.
Manche Masemola Pilgrimage 2013
Sunday 4th August at 10am
At the Grave Site in Marishane, Sekhukhuneland
A congregation of more than 2000 converged on the grave site outside Marishane. In addition to all those from the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist, we were joined by visitors from the Dioceses of Johannesburg, Highveld, Pretoria and Kimberley & Kuruman. A delegation from the government Department of Traditional Affairs was also present.
Dean Luke Pretorius preached on the witness of the young Manche, challenging the congregation to follow her example in the power of the Holy Spirit. After receiving communion, many came to receive prayer for healing and other needs.
The Diocesan Choir, the "Voices of St Mark" led the singing, with contributions also from the St Mark's College choir and a group from Manche Masemola church in Spruitview (Diocese of the Highveld).
Sermon for Manche Masemola Pilgrimage August 2013
Very Revd Luke Pretorius, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Polokwane, Diocese of St. Mark the Evangelist
Helping "Sauls" become "Paul"
We have gathered to remember the remarkable faith and witness of a young woman. Manche Masemola was martyred for her belief and faith that Jesus Christ is Lord. For Manche Jesus was not just some colonial belief; Manche recognised the existence of Jesus as Lord and Saviour of this whole earth. What is Jesus to you? Is Jesus alive in your hearts and in your life? Is Jesus as real to you as it was for Manche? Jesus wants us all to know him as powerfully as Manche knew him.
She came to faith through the missionary witness of other young women who were members of the local Wayfarer Movement. She was taught and encouraged through the witness of the local church lead by Moruti Augustine and Mrs Sabbath Moeka.
Manche was strengthened in her resolve to worship Jesus through the power and encouragement of the Holy Spirit; which strength she later required when she was martyred for her faith on the 04th February 1928. She was only 14 years old. Manche was killed by her own parents because they did not understand this holy transformation within their daughter.
Now it seems to me that the faith and life of Manche and her death is a powerful African testimony of love and devotion and witness to Christ. It is an account that moves the heart and which leaves us breathless as we think about such things.
Permit me to share with you some of my thoughts as I reflected and prayed over the witness of this extraordinary woman.
1. The first point I noticed was that Manche came to faith through the witness of her peers. These other young women were part of the Wayfarers Movement and their witness so impressed Manche that she wanted to worship Jesus too. This got me thinking; should we, could we re-start such a movement now which would also be as powerful a witness to Jesus? Also, what kind of witness do we present to the world around us? When the world looks at us, especially our young people, do they see Jesus? Do we stand for Jesus and his truth as strongly as Manche did?
2. Secondly, I notice the powerful role that the local church played. Moruti and Mrs Moeka were a powerful influence in Manche’s life. The question this raises for me is to what extent the local church is still such a powerful influence in our lives? The church should be salt and light to the community around it; the local church should change the lives of the people in that community. Does your local church do that? Remember that the local church is not the building or the moruti; the local church is us! Therefore, are we being the true and living church of Christ? Are we powerfully witnessing into the lives of the people around us?
3. My third point is that the gift of the Holy Spirit is for all Christians. It is for you and for me. The Holy Spirit will take our godly desires and grow it into a powerful force. If we believe it is right to do something and what we desire is from God then the Holy Spirit will make it happen. Therefore, if we wish to be more powerful in our witness of Jesus and if we desire to change the lives of people in our community through our witness then the Holy Spirit will help us achieve this.
4. My fourth point is that the witness of Manche through her life and through her death did affect the community around her. People began a remembrance and pilgrimage to her burial site every year. We still today hold this annual pilgrimage over 80 years later. The seeds that Manche sowed through her faith and martyrdom lead to her mother committing her life to God. And the people commented when they saw Manche’s mother being confirmed; “Saul became Paul”. Does our Christian witness help make ‘Saul’s’ become ‘Paul’s’? When people see us do they see a follower of God, or do they just see someone who talks about God?
The key to all that I am saying is to explore the extent to which we believe and do what we know is right. Will we like Manche be a powerful witness? Will we change the lives of people around us? Will we strive to be obedient and committed to Christ even when it is tough? Will we stand and speak for the truth when those who are close to us are against us?
It would have been easy for Manche to bow to the pressure of her mother and her family and to simply give up on being a faithful Christian. She could have chosen to ignore the church!
The thing is Manche did not choose to ignore God! In the face of incredible persecution she stood her ground. She was willing to challenge her family and her culture in the things of God. This is remarkable, and it cost her her life.
37 years ago the young people of South Africa stood up against injustice in the Soweto Riots and many died for their belief. We salute these young leaders. Do we today have the same commitment amongst our young people to stand up for Jesus? Manche did; will we?
I ask that we reflect deeply on the testimony of Manche Masemola and that we allow her witness to change us from being ‘Saul’ into being ‘Paul’ so that we can help other ‘Saul’s’ become ‘Paul’s’.