By Piperjames McGowan, Chairman of the MMC Western Cape
As the Mighty Men of the Western Cape reflect on Women’s Month (August 2015) in honour of all women in South Africa they would also like to pay special tribute to OUR very own Mighty Ma, Ina Murison (Francina Sara Murison-McGowan) who is a driving force behind the upcoming MMC Western Cape from September 25 to 27.
At a meeting with Mighty Men founder Angus Buchan last year Ina spoke up about the urgent need to unite men in the Western Cape in order to revive the Mighty Men movement in the region. Buchan pointed at Ina and said: “You do it” and ever since then she has pursued that mandate relentlessly and the gathering at Malmsbury next month owes much to her tireless efforts.
A tru blue Capey
Ina was born and raised in Cape Town. She tells all that she meets, that she is a ‘true blue Capey!’
Ina’s childhood was marred with real physical pain. She was born with a leg disorder and spent most of her first seven years in hospital. As she grew she underwent nine operations on her leg. It was a very lonely time for a little girl and she also faced bullying because of her ailment.
She was raised in a well-disciplined family home led by her father who was a fine figure of a man, an Inspector on the railways from Cape Town to De Aar and back. Ina used to ride her bicycle to meet her dad off the train or go to the local station to pick up the family wages from him as he passed by en-route to another station somewhere. Ina’s mother was an excellent caterer making all kinds of tasty foods for weddings and special events. Before school Ina had chores to do, and all the floors had to be swept and buffed — buffed by hand and on her knees, sore leg and all.
Ina had a love for fashion design and she had plenty of time to ‘hone in’ on the subject when laid up in hospitals or her bedroom. She managed to get a little part time job on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings at Ackermans in the Haberdashery Department on Voortrekker Road near Parow where she grew up. Ina turned out to be most ‘independent’, she did not want to depend upon anyone at that time of her life. To date she still is very independent. Also in her early life she found it hard to hand over her life to Jesus, because she was so used to being independent.
Her independence also manifested with dreams such as travelling the world as an air hostess. That was her plan, or so she thought, but then God stepped into her life and another bigger plan started to unfold for her.
Before she knew it Ina had embarked on the tricky and hard road of becoming a police officer in the South African Police where she went on to complete 25 years of exemplary service.
She gained much media attention as the first policewoman in Cape Town pounding the beat in Green Point and surrounding areas. Having seen a real and desperate need for the protection of children and youngsters, Ina became the Founder Member and Commanding Officer of the much publicised and ground breaking Child Protection Unit and was nominated and became Police Officer of the year in 1994. She was and still is well loved by her former colleagues, but is also respected as a ‘no nonsense’ woman who would often defy defy protocol by taking a stand when and where it mattered! Some of her former colleagues say that when Ina spoke even the generals stood to attention.
As a woman she has always had a big heart and affinity for ‘her boys’ as she calls the men in her life (her Dad, her husband and late husband, her Male colleagues in the SAPS) and now ALL the Mighty Men of South Africa. She is passionate about encouraging men to take back their rightful place in their families through the Mighty Men Conferences.
Because of her dedication to the Mighty Men movement she earned the well-respected titles of ‘Mighty Ma’ or ‘MMI’ (Mighty Man Ina). She lives, eats, sleeps (well tries to sleep) Jesus. “The freedom it brings to ‘hand over’ your lives to Jesus is so liberating”, she says.
Mighty Men Tartan
Her love and talent for fashion design has also been actualised through her pioneering development of the world`s only registered Christian Tartan, the beautiful and iconic Mighty Men Tartan. Ina is also one of the finest tartan designers in the world today, although she will not tell you that herself. She has several great tartans to her name, including designs registered under a Special Act of Parliament in Scotland.
The Mighty Men Tartan, her ‘flagship cloth’ if you like, is the only cloth besides the Shroud of Turin (if you believe it or not) that proclaims Jesus and tells the story of His death and resurrection.
When she was led to design this tartan, she was guided by God and the design comes directly from Scriptures, to bring to the world an amazing tool to share His Word and proclaim Jesus Christ as the Saviour of us all.
‘Wear your Faith Boldly’ became the slogan for the Tartan.
Ina supports everything and anything to do with Jesus and therefore her tartan is now being worn in 23 countries. It has even been part of a world record challenge in which a young girl walked up Mount Kilimanjaro unaided and then flew a Mighty Men Tartan flag from the summit.
“My path was predetermined by God to get to THIS point in my life” she says. “Staying close to God`s direction, the road, although with major humps and bumps has been easy” she shares. Gods’ love has always reassured me since giving my life to Him.”
Even when life threw her curve balls in losing both her parents and her husband, Barry, dying when she was only 33-years-old, and responsible for two young children, she buckled down, bit the bullet and got even more determined to do her bit. “Right let’s move on!” and “Bring it on!” are just a few of her famous sayings.
She met Piperjames McGowan (now Chairman of the MMC WC Committee) in the United Kingdom in 2005 and they got married in Durbanville, Cape Town on October, 18, 2006 — exactly a year after the day they met.
She is an accepted and respected lady found directly ‘amongst the troops’ if you like at the Mighty Men Tartan stall at Mighty Men Conferences around SA.
She is not an astronaut, a scientist or a politician. Just one ORDINARY woman called by God to do His EXTRA ORDINARY work! A woman who does not like to be photographed or seek any accolades, but on this occasion is a lady that we, as Mighty Men, honour and wish to share with all others out there over this Women’s Month.
PS. One cool titbit about her, is that if she had her way, her house would be a Christmas scene all year long for she celebrates the Lord’s birth as well as His death and resurrection. She also loves the colour Purple in her hair. It’s just a girl thing lol!
So there you have it and as Uncle Angus says and all the lads repeat, Amen!!!!.
The lads can meet Ina on the Sunday Morning Service at the Western Cape Mighty Men in September. www.westerncapemmc.co.za