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Dlamini, Titus Bukani
c. 1899 to 1988
Church of the Nazarene
South Africa


Pastor Titus Bukani Dlamini was one of the first preachers from Swaziland to help bring the church to Mpumalanga and the eastern part of the Northern Province. He was born during the Anglo-Boer War. His father was Mr. Kekela Dlamini, a Swazi Chief living near Endzingeni. Bukani spent his youth herding cattle, sheep and goats at home. There were no schools or churches there in those days. When Rev. Harmon Schmelzenbach arrived Bukani received some schooling at the mission in classes at various times. Often classes would begin at ten or eleven at night after the day's work was over. He found the Lord with Rev. Schmelzenbach's help while still a herdboy but there were many problems at home.

His mother had died and when another family member died he began to examine his life. He found it very difficult to live at home as a Christian. Eventually his family refused to allow him to attend church. He left home and God helped him to find work at Pigg's Peak. There he attended the Phophonyane Church and met Mrs. Innes Shirley. During WW I he worked at Barberton. Returning to Endzingeni he worked as a messenger at the mission and sometimes looked after the missionaries' child when they were away.

Titus Dlamini began preaching in 1917 when the influenza epidemic came. He worked with Pastor Jeremia Lukhele and helped plant the church at Nsingweni. He and Miss Deliwe Ruth Hlophe married in 1919. Their child Jan was born the following year.

While pastoring at Maphiphi in 1921 the chief's sons once called him and told him to stop visiting homes and telling people about the gospel. They said there were already enough Christians and they did not want any more. He told them he would not stop preaching before the end of the world.

In 1922 the Titus Dlaminis went to help in the new work at Sabie in Mpumalanga, South Africa, and took the place of Pastor Ezekiel Dlamini. The workers attended quarterly meetings at Pigg's Peak and travelled over one hundred miles each way on horseback or even on foot. The Dlaminis returned to Pigg's Peak to attend Bible College. When they were back again in Mpumalanga they pastored for twelve years at Sabie.

Once as they were preparing to travel back to camp meeting in Swaziland, a man hanged himself from a tree. The people blamed them for it saying it was the beliefs they preached that caused the suicide. They went right on preaching the gospel. God was with them and helped them. [1]

In 1940 Pastor Titus and Mrs. Ruth Dlamini volunteered to pastor at Mnombeleni, Arthurseat Mission (near Acornhoek), in the lowveld and continued on the district until 1960 when they returned to Swaziland to retire. They also pastored at Greenvalley and Bethel churches.

They were truly Swazi missionaries to the Shangaan/Sotho people of the Northern Province. At Dlamini's retirement Teacher J. Russell Saoli wrote, "They have fought the fight of God and await the crown of victory for all those who are victorious." [2]

Paul S. Dayhoff

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[1] Titus Dlamini, interview in 1985 by Dr Robert Perry, notes in archives at Manzini. Titus Dhlamini, letter to the editor from Sabie, Feb. 25, 1931, Umphaphamisi (The Herald), Swazi-Zulu magazine of the Church of the Nazarene for Swaziland and South Africa, (Florida, Transvaal, South Africa: Nazarene Publishing House, February 1931), 12.
[2] J. Russell Saoli, "Pastor Titus Dlamini Retires," Montsoša-Bošego (The Herald), Pedi/Sotho magazine of the Church of the Nazarene in South Africa, (Florida, Transvaal, South Africa: Nazarene Publishing House, January-February 1961), 4.


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.