Richard Buthelezi grew up in the northern parts of rural Kwa-Zulu Natal, far away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities. After the death of both his parents his extended family took charge of raising him. Like many African families, they were firmly rooted in traditional customs and ancestral worship and no one in the lineage of the family ever had a thought of challenging the status quo until Richard came along. His family severed ties with him after he chose to follow Christ and forsake all behind, for Jesus said, "..., If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me (Luke 9:23 KJV)."
The thought of one day becoming a great dancer, a theatre director and owner of a production company played in my mind for most of my childhood. As grim as the terrains of the village appeared I still had a dream of being somebody one day. When I was of age to go and fend for myself I travelled to the city of Durban, with the intention of finding a job. I had no money or shelter to survive and when I realised that I could not find work, my home address became the streets of Durban. I turned to drugs and to a life of crime in order to survive and as shameful an existence as that was the thought of going back home with nothing to show from a journey so far kept me on the streets.
I first heard about Jesus Dominion International from my homeless friends. The church provides a daily meal for those less privileged as part of an initiative called Help the Helpless so my friends urged me to come. At first that was my only reason for attending the services but the yearning to be on the stage grew when I heard the music of the church mass choir called Covenant Voices. I joined the choir and also found a father figure in my pastor and mentor, Rev. Tim Omotoso. My life was in dire need of resuscitation so I fought my battles using the Word of God and the teachings of my father in the Lord. After more than two years on the cold streets I was hired as a drama and music lecturer at a local FET college (without a qualification) and a family from the ministry took me in as their own. I reconnected with my family after years and told them that I had become a Christian, no longer following their beliefs. They gave me an ultimatum to choose between God and them; I chose God. That was seven years ago.
One of the most profound teachings that the man of God gave me was to take
God as a father, not as a boss, and in so doing He takes care of you as a
father to his own child. I inculcated the teachings of the man of God in my
daily living and the results are evident. Today I have my own production
company and have been invited to perform in several countries abroad, like
Sweden and Germany. I am also a public speaker and a life coach, to the
glory of God. Words cannot express my gratitude. His mercy has opened many
doors for me. I thank God for overlooking my misdemeanours and short
comings. He has shown me that His love for me is absolute