Proponent Xolisa Oyiya, is born and raised in Middleburg, Eastern Cape, specifically in the Karoo region, in a locality known as Kwanomzame.

Tell us more about your birthplace and the key individuals who greatly influenced your formative years.

“My upbringing is a testament to the influence of numerous individuals,” says Xolisa, “among whom one stands out prominently—Makoti Nonkoliseko Maseti. Her teachings on respect and the significance of attending church have profoundly shaped my character. Despite not being my biological mother, she played a pivotal role in my life, laying a solid foundation. My family, headed by my grandmother, Nosango Oyiya, has been a source of unwavering love and support. The familial bond extends to aunts and uncles, contributing to a nurturing environment.

“Upon relocating to Cape Town, I found continued support in my loving parents, emphasizing the crucial role that family plays in one’s journey. In reflection, the collective influence of these remarkable individuals has shaped my life, underscoring the importance of respect, faith, and strong family support.”

What is the story behind your spiritual journey and the transformative moments that brought you to a personal understanding and connection with Christ?

“I consider myself fortunate to have been raised among devout believers who wholeheartedly serve God. Growing up in such an environment, I developed a profound love for it. As I matured, I faced a pivotal decision—to either depart from the faith I had been introduced to or steadfastly continue on that path. Opting to continue , I found enduring joy in the company of fellow believers and in actively serving in the Kingdom of God. The transformative power of hearing about Christ’s teachings became evident in my life. Hearing others share their experiences with Christ left a lasting impact on me. Additionally, personal encounters with Christ in my own life further deepened my connection to Him. My journey to Christ was shaped not only by the narratives conveyed to me by those who molded my faith but also through my own experiences, drawing me closer to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour.”

Could you share the story behind your decision to pursue a career as a pastor?

“When queried about my calling, my response consistently revolves around a young boy who, by mere circumstance, was nurtured within a spiritually inclined family. From an early age, this young boy exhibited an unwavering attachment to the concept of service. As I traversed the path of adolescence into young adulthood, a discernible and persistent inclination to serve for the betterment of the Kingdom of God became increasingly apparent.”

What was your theological field of study and your mentor or study leader who guided you during your academic pursuits?

“In my academic journey I gravitated towards systematic theology. I chose systematic theology in connection to ethics and public issues because it provides a comprehensive framework for examining and understanding the core doctrines of a particular religious tradition. When applied to ethics and public issues, this approach allows theologians to address moral and societal concerns in a structured manner. Furthermore, I gravitated towards systematic theology because it facilitates the integration of ethical principles into broader theological discourse. It enables theologians to articulate a consistent and reasoned ethical stance based on the foundational tenets of their faith.

“In the year 2022, my Bachelor Degree research was entitled ‘The Eucharist as a sacrament of Unity: Implications of the Identity of the Church’, and was supervised by Prof. Robert Vosloo.

“My Master’s Degree was entitled ‘The Role of Black Theologies in Informing the Dutch Reformed Family of Churches’ Approach to Land Redistribution in Post-Apartheid South Africa’, and was supervised by Prof. Dion Forster.”

What vision do you hold for the church, and in what ways do you aspire to make a positive impact on your faith community?

“The primary role of a church is to lead people to Jesus Christ, facilitating a personal connection with Him and nurturing the inner spiritual being on a daily basis. This transformative process is guided by the Holy Spirit, influencing the way we live our lives.

“A church extends beyond the confines of a Sunday service at 10 o’clock led by a preacher. It is an integral part of a community, existing for the community. Rather than remaining aloof from the challenges faced by the community, the church should actively engage with and address these issues. It is essential for the church to be hands-on and in close proximity to those who are marginalized.”

Aside from your studies, what hobbies or interests do you engage in?

“I find solace in a tranquil environment, and whenever I encounter such a setting, I leverage it to my advantage by indulging in one of my favorite activities—reading.”

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Contact Prop. Oyiya at 084 548 3419 or [email protected].