Pieter Mazibuko is the third of five children and the only boy in his family. He lives with his mother, four sisters, his adult cousin, and her baby in the rural village of Xigalo, South Africa. His father works and lives in the city and, for a long time, had little contact with the family.
Pieter and his sisters all attend school, but Pieter lacks one important thing that will give him the opportunity for a successful future: a birth certificate.
Though Pieter was born in South Africa, his mother was a refugee from Mozambique. Because of this, Pieter and his two younger sisters couldn’t get birth certificates when they were born. This is a common problem in rural areas throughout Africa, and families often spend many years and lots of money applying for these documents.
Pieter’s two older sisters were from their father’s first marriage and have the necessary documents to continue their education and get jobs when they are older. They are also the only members of the family to receive state grants, which was the family’s only income for many years.
Without a South African birth certificate, Pieter’s mother cannot get a job that will support the family, leaving her unable to afford the basic necessities to care for her children.
Pastor Aaron Ndove of Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Xigalo first heard about the Mazibuko family from a church member who lived nearby. He visited the family and brought with him enough food to last a month.
Though a few years have passed since that first visit, several important things have changed. Thanks to access to regular meals, Pieter is able to concentrate better at school. The family can afford more blankets during the cold winter months.
Pieter’s father has also started sending money home to support his family. Though his father still lives and works in the city, Pieter and his sisters get to see him more now.
Pastor Ndove has noticed an incredible transformation come over the Mazibuko family. Through regular visits, the family began to warm toward the church members coming to their home. The family has been very receptive to the gospel and have started attending church faithfully. Pieter and his sisters look forward to visits from the church and are eager to ask questions about God. Looking at the two small huts with grass roofs where Pieter and his family live and seeing how the lack of documentation has impacted their lives, it would be easy to lose hope. But for Pieter and his family, this isn’t the case, because they have the hope of salvation and the knowledge that this is not their home. They have something better waiting for them.