KwaSizabantu is a non-denominational church mission in South Africa.

It was founded in 1970, by Erlo Stegen, who had been an evangelist among the Zulu population since the 1950s.

The most important thing is to preach the gospel, and if necessary use words.

St. Francis of Assisi

He could speak fluent Zulu.

Erlo Stegen, circa early 1970s

The mission is situated on a 550-hectare farm bordering Zululand, and is one of the largest missions in Africa.

I’ve been there and am immensely impressed by everything they do, strongly focusing on self-reliance.

KwaSizabantu has:

  • a primary and secondary private school,
  • a teacher-training college,
  • a community radio station,
  • South Africa’s largest bottled water plant,
  • hydroponic greenhouses for sweet peppers,
  • an extensive avocado farming enterprise (with around 57,000 avocado trees),
  • a coffee shop, and
  • a supermarket (with its own bakery).

The profits from the various operations go towards helping people in need.

I visited KwaSizabantu and took this photo of their bottled water plant

Smear campaign

In September 2020, South Africa’s largest propaganda mainstream media outlet, News24, released an exposé alleging that KwaSizabantu is a cult, with former members accusing the mission of money laundering and abuse, including rape.

Fabricated claims by News24

To be clear, News24 – especially its editor, Adriaan Basson – appears to have an agenda against KwaSizabantu, with around 150 articles published in total, including a peak of over 30 articles in a single week.

Noseweek, an investigative magazine, recently released a series of videos in which it showed why News24 fabricated, sensationalised, and outright lied.

In her book, A Journey To The Truth: The case of KwaSizabantu Mission, Gerda Potgieter delves into the ethics of news headlines, examining their power to shape public opinion and impact reputations. She focuses on News24‘s untruthful coverage of KwaSizabantu. (An independent panel later cleared KwaSizabantu of all accusations.)

She looks closely at how journalists do their jobs, pointing out ethical problems and red flags in mainstream media. She also uses results from different investigations, affidavits, and audits.

[A]nd then I cried to God and said, ‘Oh God, reveal yourself to these people that they realize that Jesus is not just the white man’s Savior but for all mankind.

Erlo Stegen

Here’s my conversation with Gerda.

False rape claim

And here is a short conversation in which Gerda debunks one of the rape claims made by News24.

At the end is a related clip from the previously mentioned Noseweek documentary.

The most important thing in the world is the proclamation of the gospel.

Martin Luther

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