At home with Pastor Vusi Dube

By Drum Digital
12 January 2010

REY vervet monkeys, all with babies clinging to their tummies, dot the pathway leading up to the double-storey house in Glenmore, one of Durban’s leafy suburbs. They’re brazen, lazily eating bananas and mangoes while watching the passing show and they don’t bat an eyelid as we go by. And no wonder – most people living here accept their primate neighbours. Welcoming us into her cosy home, Dr Takalani Dube, a founding pastor of the Ethekwini Community Church, just shakes her head. “They always jump through the kitchen window and take whatever they want,” she explains.

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The modern house is painted a pale shade of lavender and sits comfortably in the lush landscaped garden, which includes a beautiful fountain and crystal-clear swimming pool. Once inside, Takalani (41) leads us to the lounge where the man of the house waits for us. At 57, Pastor Vusimuzi Dube, the outspoken politician and preacher known for his flamboyant style and fedora hats, looks closer to 40.

He says his favourite spot in the house is not this elegant lounge lined with books, but the wooden deck overlooking the terraced garden. It’s here that we eventually sit down with the pastor and he gazes at a view that’s a far cry from the humble home in Sobantu village outside Pietermaritzburg where he was raised.

Surprisingly, the charismatic Pastor Vusi, who founded the Ethekwini Community Church along with his wife in 2005, did not aspire to be a preacher when he was a child.

“Whenever I looked at priests, I saw poor people and I have always known that I do not want to be poor. I believe in political, economic and financial freedom. How can you say you are free when you are poor?” he says matter-of-factly.

His elders, however, had different ideas, particularly because his grandfather, Ephraim Dube, was an evangelist at the Presbyterian Church.

“People in Sobantu know me as umfundisi (pastor) and that is the name everyone from home used from the time I was a little boy. I don’t know what my uncle saw, but he gave me the name when I was still in primary school,” he explains.

The eldest of three children, Pastor Vusi has certainly lived up to his name and vocation.

The ECC meets in a marquee in Durban’s city centre with a seating capacity of 4 500. Gospel stars Rebecca Malope and Hlengiwe Mhlaba along with house DJ Tira and singer L’vovo Derrango are just a few of the well-known faces often seen in the congregation.

Read the full article in DRUM of 20 January 2011

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