5?300?km and counting: ‘I walk because Jesus told me to walk’

2013-08-02 00:00

DE Wet Swanepoel has walked 5 300 km for 19 months carrying a big cross, and his journey has not yet come to an end.

He is not walking for a cause or to raise money for charity, but purely as an act of his faith. He has no support team, relying rather on friends, family and the kindness of strangers for food, clothes and a place to sleep.

He has made it his mission to walk all over South Africa. His journey started on January 6, 2012 in Mpumalanga. He walked from Mpumalanga to Cape Town, Blood River, Pretoria and Durban. He arrived in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

“I walk because Jesus told me to walk. He told me I was going to walk with a cross. When we look in the news, all we see is bad news. This is the way I can spread Jesus’ word throughout the country and gather his disciples. The Lord has chosen me to go on the highways and byways to spread his message,” said Swanepoel.

When Swanepoel told one of his friends about his walk, the friend provided him with a cross his father had made 14 years earlier.

The cross held for 4 700 km before breaking at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

“I was walking with a friend in Nelspruit. I told him about the cross and he told me he had one for me. Now I carry this one.”

The cross is just over four metres long and has a small wheel attached at the end to help Swanepoel move it easily. A small bag is attached to it containing food, water, a pump for the wheel and occasionally a change of clothes.

Prior to his walk, Swanepoel was a farmer and financial adviser in Gauteng. He is also a minister and has been in the ministry for nine years. His cross gets him lots of strange looks on the roads, but he just walks on.

“I do get tired sometimes, but Jesus gives me the strength to go on. I do believe that the walk will come to an end, that Jesus will tell me it is finished. Until then, I will be obedient and walk.”

Swanepoel will walk from the City Square today along the Comrades Marathon route back to Durban.

Whether his journey will end there or continue is yet to be seen, but what is certain is that he is dedicated to his mission.

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