Rev Hendrik du Plessis
D’kar December 2021
Old Ben passed away
It was so unexpected and quick. No one foresaw it. On Monday we were still there in front of dr. Bredenkamp's consulting room. Aron, Ben, and I stood there and we talked. We didn’t have an appointment with the doctor. The taxi rank was right across the street and old Ben stopped next to us with his minibus taxi to greet us. He was complaining of body aches and I could see his eyes were swollen. Little did we know he had contracted Covid-19. His eyes and face were swollen. The next day, which was Tuesday, his wife gave me a call to inform me that old Ben had been admitted to the hospital due to Covid-19 and that he was receiving oxygen. It was devastating news. Yet, it did not register with us that we could have possibly been infected as well. I phoned him and when he answered I asked; "How are you, old Ben?" I don’t know why but to me he has always been “old Ben”. "Hendrik, I’m doing well. I just have some difficulty breathing. This morning my oxygen count was still 90%.” The next day I phoned him again. He explained that his oxygen level was now above 80% but had gone as low as 44% the previous evening. This news left me very worried. The following day he did not answer his phone. I then gave his wife, Lebotsang, a call and she reassured me that he was doing well. The nursing staff had taken his phone away because people were bothering him while being connected to the oxygen machine. This was quite understandable. That evening I phoned dr. Bredenkamp and who was surprised that old Ben was still alive because he suffered from heart failure, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The next day, his wife reassured me that old Ben was still alive and that she was even allowed to visit him. However, when I phoned her the following day I could hear in the way she answered the phone that something was wrong. "Old Ben is no longer with us," she sobbed on the other side. I found it very difficult to hear this news, not only because he was a church member and an elder, but he was a friend of mine as well. He was always a person that you can rely on and count on. He had so much wisdom in him. Everyone listened when old Ben spoke at the church council meetings, but to me, the way he prayed stood out even more. One of the Bushmen told me one day when old Ben prays, it feels as if he was really talking to the Lord. Deeply humbled, he always started his prayer with: “O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,. . . ”
In one of my previous reports, I mentioned old Ben's son who got lost and spent a rainy night in the Kalahari. His family insisted that they should go and pay a visit to the sangoma first, but old Ben refused and didn’t want anything to do about it, nor did his wife. He said to them: "I'm going to look for my child, I do not have time for sangomas now." Miraculously, we found his child alive and well the next day.
After the funeral his wife gave me a call and asked the following: "Our church does not believe in these bath rituals where you have to be cleansed from the evils of death, right?” Shocked, she said: "These people want me to sit in a bath so that they can cleanse me.” I explained to her that we do not believe in these rituals and that we have been cleansed by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ already. She further revealed that according to their mourning tradition she had to abstain from going to church for three months, which I also disagreed on. I was grateful that as a devout Christian, she was put off by these cultural laws and regulations that essentially are nothing but institutions and commandments of people who want to gain a hold on people through the occult. If you do not obey certain laws or regulations, disaster and calamities will befall you. If, however, you wanted to play it safe you just had to keep these occultic commandments. We ask your intercession for old Ben's wife, who often has to resist family pressure. We have to be more obedient to God than to the people. Your brother in Christ, Hendrik du Plessis.