She helps humanity adhere to Christian values

BORN 50 years ago, Gwendolene Kanokanga is a biological mother of two but foster mother of multitudes. Through her care, many boys and girls from orphanages and the streets have successfully been reintegrated into society.

Initially her philanthropic work included sporadic reactions after exposure to emotional cases of disadvantaged children where here and there she would give away her belongings, sometimes paying school fees for a child.

 But now it has become more than a life for Kanokanga.
Having grown up in the high density suburb of Highfield and being a Methodist follower, sharing was not an issue because of the community spirit and togetherness common in such environments.

After high school, she answered to God’s call to minister. She had spent two years at Africa Multinationals for Christ Institute founded by Zaoga founder, Ezekiel Guti.

By 1987 and at the age of 22, Kanokanga was already serving as a full time pastor with Zaoga— making her the first youngest girl to be a pastor in the church.

Two years later, she got married in 1989 to Davis Kanokanga, a lawyer by profession. “I always wondered how our lives would fit but somehow I trusted God for a supportive husband. I knew I had to touch lives,” she said.

Just like many in modern day Zimbabwe, Kanokanga now has her own ministry, Christian Impact Centre. Asked on why she decided to leave Zaoga in 2005, Kanokanga said, “I felt challenged as professor Guti wanted us young ones to come out and make a difference, unleash our potential.

“Baba Guti prophesied that when I turn 40, I won’t be in the church but leading another ministry. He said, ‘You don’t have my DNA but you are here for me to train you.”

Every Sunday, Kanonokanga and her husband take turns to minister to their followers as the husband is now a pastor too.
The couple, after 10 years of hard work, commands a following of 500 spread in three assemblies, city centre, Domboshawa, and Hatfield.

“When we left Zaoga, we didn’t take anyone with us. We would preach on the streets, people started referring the sick after realising how God was using us. I prayed for the blind and deaf people, God healed them, and them and they also brought their relatives,” said Kanokanga.

However, she believes her works are a critical component of Christian living. Despite deepening economic problems, Kanokanga takes care of 16 children on average, paying school fees, helping with accommodation and food.

Most of her beneficiaries are from St Joseph’s Home for boys.
“Many people concentrate on helping the children when they are at the children’s home, I follow up and assist them in their post-home life,” said Kanokanga.

Apart from adoption, Kanokanga runs training workshops with women, boys and girls teaching people on low capital income generating projects such as poultry breeding, Vaseline shampoo, dish washer making, video filming, editing, posters, T-shirt making and woodwork.

“Jesus went about doing good things for the people, so my motto is reaching, touching and changing lives. For example, whenever I meet a homeless person by the time they are through with me, they will be someone recognised in a community.”

Empowering spiritually and physically helps humanity adhere to Christian virtues, she stressed adding the majority of Christian Impact Centre’s praise and worship team are orphans who came through her philanthropy. At home, Kanokanga concentrates on her roles as a mother and a wife.

Family roles include not only carrying out chores at home and striving to put food at the table. She has raised two sons; one is studying law while running a business, Credit Check, plus two kombis.

The other boy already has two budding recording studios.
At the same time Kanokanga has seen the world through her other career as a motivational speaker.

“Amazingly I have never been to north Africa. It’s my wish to go to the Islamic nations. I have a number of followers based there now,” she said adding, “If I could have my own broadcasting station which will be run by the boys and girls I have raised who are orphans, that would be great but I know one is never too young or too old to embark on a dream that God has given you.”
Recently she was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by International Institute of Philanthropy Zimbabwe. — Wendy Muperi

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