Jean du Rand was making a name for himself in Afrikaans rock music while still in his teens but God had other plans for him and now, at the age of 26, he is about to release some Afrikaans worship songs “with a difference”.
I chatted with Jean during a recent visit to East London and learned about some of his many adventures with God after he made a life-changing decision during a psychology lecture during his first week as a student at Stellenbosch University.
Church has always been part of his life and heritage — his father, Corrie du Rand, leads a vibrant church in East London and his parents visited Toronto in the late 90s and were deeply-impacted by the revival fires there, and there were Afrikaans Baptist pastors on his mother’s side, including a great, great grandfather who studied under Charles Spurgeon in England.
But in 2010, while still in high school, Jean was a member — and the songwriter — of a band called Zondernaam which won a televised, Afrikaans battle-of-the-bands competition.
Suddennly he and his friends’ dreams of making it in the music scene were materialising, as they began to share the stage with some of the biggest names in Afrikaans music. With the territory came alcohol and drugs.
Three months before he was due to start his university studies in Stellenbosch, he moved to the town. He played music, “jolled” continuosly, and was “semi famous”, but deep down he could not find the happiness that this lifestyle was supposed to bring.
Cut to the turning-point psychology lecture: he was struck by an awareness of God’s presence in the class and heard the Holy Spirit say: ” You know Jean, I have plans for your life. You can come with Me now and leave this place, or you can come in five years. I’m going to use you either way, and its up to you how much pain you want to traverse.”
Jean chose “now”. He immediately quit the band and his studies and called his father. His parents flew to Cape Town and fetched him and soon afterwards he was enrolled for three months at YWAM Amsterdam in Holland where he recalls having a great hunger for God, fasting, devouring Scripture, and encountering the Lord in radical ways.
In 2013 he went to Bethesda House, a restorative ministry in Muizenburg Cape Town, where he learned much and was involved in street outreaches to New Age people — through dream interpretation and spiritual readings — and ministry to homeless people.
That year he and other friends who were hungry for more of God prioritised meditating on Scripture and praying, and would speak in tongues for up to four hours at a time. They would also hold open nights where they would play music and release prophetic songs over people — learning how to manifest the heart of God through song and music.
After that year he was considering returning to Amsterdam to pursue Christian music but met up with a friend, Kevin Kazemi, a healing evangelist who was born to a Muslim family in Iran, raised in Sweden, and delivered by Jesus in Armenia from a lifestyle of drugs and crime. Prompted by God, Jean travelled around SA and Europe with Kazemi, leading worship for him. He saw many amazing miracles during this season.
Since then he has been on a number of ministry trips in SA, Africa and Europe, teaching on living a naturally supernatural lifestyle and leading worship. He said he loves that relationship with God is a tangible thing and has found that the deeper he goes into relationship with Jesus the more easy it is to minister through Him from heavenly places.
“I believe we are in a season where it’s not for a select few but for everybody. The same with prophetic experience and seeing God in Spirit in daily encounters. We all are wired for it,” he said.
Jean met his wife, Alex, 21, in Amsterdam in 2016 while she was enrolled at YWAM for a year and he was teaching on supernatural evangelism. She is from England, where her father is an Anglican vicar. She was born in Greece where her parents were missionaries for five years.
The young couple married in South Africa a year ago and according to Jean they have a calling to Europe and the West but are spending a season in SA as a time of training. He is helping his father in his church and Alex is doing admin for a mission.
He said he has always maintained a passion for worship and songwriting and in 2016 released an EP For Freedom comprising six worship songs . (See video clip below featuring one of the songs.)
Recently he has written three Afrikaans worship songs which he is currently producing and will release soon as singles. Writing worship songs in Afrikaans was new to him and was God’s idea, he said.
“It’s a part of what my wife and my season in SA has to do with — reconciliation — and worship is where reconciliation begins,” he said.
“When Alex and I got married we were having an Anglo Boer wedding — she’s English and I’m Afrikaans — and our union is a spiritual stake in the ground for reconciliation on a DNA level.
Message of reconciliation
“So I’m just trusting God for a platform to share within Afrikaans circles a message of reconciliation — for people to just embrace in their hearts forgiveness. I just want to see racism leave and I want to see people embrace each other and see each other for who they are — and see reconciliation on a large scale in South Africa.”
He said he felt God wanted him to release a new sound in Afrikaans — something more authentic.
“Don’t get me wrong. I love Afrikaans worship music, but feel there is something missing.”
Describing his three new songs, he said one is called U is my Bron (“You are my source”). Another is Heilige Gees (“Holy Sprit”) “You know, you don’t hear a lot of songs about the Holy Spirit in Afrikaans,” he commented.
“And the other one is, basically, the ‘Our Father’ prayer in Afrikaans,” he said.