Proponent Noxolo Fihla was born and bred in the Eastern Cape. On 10 January 1990 Mandla and Pumla Fihla became the parents of baby Noxolo at the Cecelia Makhiwane Hospital in Mdantsane near East London.

Noxolo completed her primary education at Schornville Primary School in King Williams Town (now Qonce), and her secondary education at Breidbach Secondary School.

She the took a gap year and then went to the University of Limpopo (Medunsa Campus) in Ga-Rankuwa, Pretoria (now called Sefako Magkatho University of Health Sciences [SMU])where she enrolled for her undergraduate degree in Bachelor of Science (Molecular and Life Sciences).

“My grandmothers, both maternal and paternal, played a huge role in my faith formation as a child,” says Noxolo. “I grew up being close to both of them and was lucky enough to glean and learn their pattern of prayer. To this day, prayer forms the foundation of my life. Although they both died before I have choosen to accept this path of being called as a minister, I believe me watching them as a child made a great impact in forming the individual that I am today. They raised their children in the Christian faith and I was blessed to be born and raised into such households.

“Realising and observing the impact that Rev. Ntshabalala imbued on my home congregation, URCSA Dimbaza Congregation, convicted me to want to go into ministry and be an impactful add to the community of believers. Knowing the struggles that we had as a congregation being without a minister and observing the shift when we finally were blessed with one inspired me to want to bridge that gap in our congregations and mitigate the struggles of a church without a minister. Moreover, I love church and always had a deep passion for it. As my faith grew I began to understand that church is way more than the building and goes beyond even the people of the building. I wanted to be part of this move of God to inspire individuals to grow in their relationship with God, themselves and ultimately with others.”

The title of Noxolo’s thesis was Seeing through a glass, clearly: The Importance of some Mainline Churches in an increasingly charismatic world. In this study Noxolo focused on the development and historicity of South African churches. Her study was motivated by the increasing attention and seeming growth of the Neo-Pentecostal churches (NPCs) against the churches that identify as the mainline churches. She focused on a few purely due to preference but the anatomy of the study was to weigh the impact and influence of the historical mainline church and the charisma of the Neo-Pentecostal church against the socio-economic, and socio-political factors of South Africa. All this was done to find and embrace the still importance of the mainline church in a society that seems to be more influenced by the wave of the Neo-Pentecostal church.

“I am very interested in working with the youth and journey with them in the process to self-actualization,” says Noxolo. “I think some of the challenges that the youth has to cope with would be less should we realise our self-worth and what we have to offer as individuals. I also believe being a minister of the Word and sacraments entails being in service of the whole community that houses the Uniting Reformed Church in South Africa, and to the community of the world at large.

“My dream for the church is to grow in the love of God and allow God to use us as the church to serve Him and also to serve others,” Noxolo continues. “I believe God has a vision about us as his children and we have to work daily, striving to be a part of that vision and working towards finishing the work that Christ began for us at the cross.

“I enjoy reading fictional books and autobiographies, though academic journals and books have become unashamedly demanding and egocentric to say the least,” says Noxolo. “I also enjoy watching movies, essentially comedies and sitcoms.”

Contact Noxolo Fihla at [email protected] or call her at 076 165 4510 for more information.