Den of sin now a church

2012-04-09 00:00

A BUILDING in downtown Pietermartizburg that once housed a night club, which was widely viewed as a den of iniquity, has been transformed into a house of God.

The building in Langalibalele Street, which was known for violence, drugs, pornography and prostitution, has been functioning as a church since October last year.

At least one former night club patron now frequents the Oasis of Worship Tabernacle church as a member of its congregation.

“I was clubbing there, but now this place has changed my life as it is a church,” Dominic Mukuka told The Witness.

“I started drinking and smoking when I was at high school, living a life of going out and having fun.

“But now I am saved. I no longer do these things. I dedicated my life to serve the Lord.”

Mukuka remembers the place as a club called Marabini.

“It was Sodom and Gomorrah: the back rooms were used for sexual activities. There were strippers, pole dancers and rooms where they were showing pornography.”

Another former patron said he only had to walk past the church to be reminded of the “bad things” that used to happen there.

“There used to be blood on the dance floor, drugs, fighting and prostitution. The stigma is still there. I don’t think I would be able to visit that church,” he said.

In the days when it was the 2010 Sports Cafe, a former Lamontville Golden Arrows player, Vumile Dladla, who was also an Under-23 national team player, was killed on the premises by a driver who was reversing a car. The night club also operated as the Cosmos Pub.

Founder and senior pastor of the church, Stanley Towani, who goes by the title of “prophet”, told The Witness people had different expectations about the place.

Some patrons had been happy to see renovations in progress when it was being transformed into a church, he said.

“They thought we were preparing to re-open the night club, but they were not impressed when we told them it would be a church.”

He added that the mission of the church was for it to be “a fountain of worship to God”.

“Our lease agreement was about to expire where we were renting in Victoria Road. We had to buy and renovate.”

Where there was once a dance floor, a pulpit now stood, he said.

Towani said neighbours gave his church the “thumbs up” and were very pleased it would no longer be a night club.

“They said it was one of the notorious clubs. They could not sleep some times because of noise.”

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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