A diplomat in Paris, an IT professional in Holland, and now an independent mayoral candidate in Parys (Ngwathe Municipality), Free State. Both in Europe and back in SA Selma Kok has been active in initiatives to uplift and empower communities. We hear more from her in this Q&A interview
You spent many years overseas. What stands out for you about this season as you reflect back?
Yes, I spent 24 years overseas. Spiritually there were highs and lows, but God has a way of working with a person. He knows the end from the beginning. His purpose is fixed and He will not relent.
Why did you decide to return to South Africa in 2017?
I felt compelled in my spirit to return. Friends could not understand this as I had built up a comfortable life and have very dear friends who are like family. Regardless of the pain, I knew I had to return. The only question was when. Then the message came, “#ItsTime” [the call to South African Christians to attend a historic mass prayer event in Bloemfontein led by evangelist Angus Buchan]. I packed my bags and came home.
What led to your decision to contest these elections?
Contesting the elections was really the last thing on my mind, I had other plans. But an amendment to the Electoral Commission Act 51 of 1996 made it possible for an organisation or movement to register with the IEC and take part in the local government elections. The more people I spoke to the more it became clear that we as residents were being offered more possibilities. This led to the establishment of the Ngwathe Residents Association in June 2021.
Tell me about the independent candidates standing in your municipality and what makes this campaign so different from previous elections?
Once we decided that we were going to contest the elections we had to find candidates. As this was uncharted territory, praying for candidates became an essential part of growing the movement. We started receiving calls of people requesting meetings saying they were going to run as independents but would rather join us. The most amazing people were added to our candidate list. Last Saturday we were campaigning with praise and worship, we had Dr Pearl Kupe leading one of our rallies.
What is your message to Christians in South Africa in preparation for November 1?
I would say that this is the season that God is taking us out of our comfort zones and calling us to be light and salt in the world. If we practically live what we say we believe, being servant-leaders and putting the interests of others ahead of our own we will see radical changes in our communities and towns. It is up to us to stand for justice and righteousness and bring unity to our communities.
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