Inside Woman: Your faith is unmistakable in your life; can you tell us about the journey that led to your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your personal saviour?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: Christ Yeshua (Jewish Name for Christ Jesus) is indeed my personal Saviour and my Redeemer. My dad, Elliot Tunzelana, who passed away in May 2011, saw a tent revival in 1988 in Bhisho, Eastern Cape and he went home and asked that we all join him to see what is happening at the revival. The whole family got born again at that revival. I was about 8 years old then.
Inside Woman: How is your relationship with Jesus right now?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: My relationship with Christ Yeshua is growing in seeking Truth and Love, so that I may be enabled to hear God and be intimate with Him, apply Truth and Love in every area of my life, so that I may be enabled to apply God’s commandments to a lifestyle that is totally yielded to God, for God’s Glory to display. I am learning more about the Hebraic origins and Jewish roots of our faith. Original meanings and symbolisms are mind-blowing.
Inside Woman: Can you define how you understand the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: I believe it is the Truth of Christ Yeshua. The Good News that God sent Christ Yeshua who had no sin, to die on the cross, and to rise again to leave us with the Holy Spirit, so that we may become God’s Righteousness and God’s Children, by grace and mercy through faith.
Inside Woman: What is Jesus teaching you about Love?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: Love never fails and it is tested by whether it perseveres while it suffers long. Love is indefinite to most of us; we do not know what we mean when we talk about love. Love is the sovereign preference of one person for another, and spiritually Jesus demands that preference be for Himself. When the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ is easily first; then we must practise the working out of the stature of a perfect man mentioned in 2 Peter 1:1-11. Christ Yeshua is teaching me that Love is God. Love gives and it sacrifices and that is how I am experiencing Christ Yeshua. He keeps on giving faithfulness and spiritual gifts that I desire above all else. Neither natural love nor Divine love will remain unless it is cultivated. Love is spontaneous, but it has to be maintained by discipline.
Inside Woman: What about forgiveness?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: We ought to daily offer forgiveness, 70 X 7, for each error or each person we encounter. I do not feel as strongly about justice towards me. Even though I do address scenarios where I believe that I have been dealt with injustice; however I focus on me by forgiving and ensuring that I treat people with integrity. I believe that forgiveness wishes that the person who crossed my boundaries should come to a point to finding truth and a path to God. I am not particularly fond of those ‘vindication’ and ‘vengeance’ prayers.
Inside Woman: You have a very warm personality. Have you always been like that?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: Thank you ever so much. I hope so dear. I would attribute the warmth to my parents – both my mommy and my daddy are warm and generous people. We watched their marriage relationship of being loving, warm, committed, persevering, forgiving, fun and faithful for over 40 years, and hopefully the warmth spilled to us, their children. We are loved much and therefore we strive to love the way we are loved.
Inside Woman: What were your struggles as a young woman?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: Weight issues primarily.
Inside Woman: How did you overcome those struggles?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: I had to find out the truth about my weight issues and deal with it. I had to search my soul and my spirit to find out why I was comfort eating so much out of the ordinary. I realised that when my brother, Phumzile Tunzelana, who was my best friend passed away in 1993, at the age of 17, I least expected it and I did not take it too well. I went for counselling and professional psychologist sessions. On the practical side of things, I had to get a personal trainer and maintain healthy eating habits. I do not take disappointments that are out of my control too well. I found some strength in Messiah, in meditation and in music, for sustaining healing.
Inside Woman: What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: I would wait until I am over 35 years before I am involved in a relationship that might translate into marriage. J
Inside Woman: There are so many women struggling to love themselves. What do you say to them?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: I would say: ‘God loves you unconditionally and there is nothing you can ever do to make Him love you less and there is nothing you can stop doing to make Him love you less.’ Therefore, whatever is hindering you from loving yourself at the moment, being loved by God and allowing Him to enable you to love Him is the ultimate relationship on earth. I would also encourage them to allow God to enable them to love others. If they do not love themselves, it would be a challenge to love others, because the way they treat themselves would be the way they want to treat others. I would also play them a track by Mary J. Blige that says: ‘Love is all we need… How can I love somebody else, if I cannot love myself enough…?’
Inside Woman: What do you say to women who feel they don’t measure up in life?
SibongiseniTunzelana: Who is doing the measuring up in the first place? Our ultimate reason for existing is being completely yielded to Love, willingly. Every woman is created for a reason and for a purpose. Each woman has a responsibility to find out from God to guide them to figure out what makes them tick, what their interests are? When they find that which they are passionate about and they have extra ordinary ability to do, they have an opportunity to add value. It is never too late to follow each person’s own passions and dreams instead of doing any role in life. Alternatively, each woman may ask God to give them a passion and ability to do whatever they are doing in the mean time until they find their truest passion and dream, so that they may start seeing the value that they are adding in the sphere they find themselves in. We should strive to live a simple life and not pressure ourselves with unreasonable standards that are unfounded. May we be grateful and content in all seasons of our lives and not rely on our own understanding, because everyone goes through up’s and down’s. May divine wisdom and discernment be our guide in all truth.
Inside Woman: Feminine attributes have become Christianised and cultural conditioning, including church culture, shapes and informs who women are. My question is what do you think Jesus wants for women?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: I believe that Christ Jesus wants us women to be intimate with Father God first and foremost and get our needs met by God directly. God wants women to be the truest version of their individual selves. I believe that God wants us women to be free in spirit and in truth, so that we may be instrumental in the liberation of other women. I am fully persuaded that God wants women to be instrumental in building marriages, homes, giving birth to children, nurturing them, respectful to husbands, fulfil our calling and to be homemakers. God knows that we like attention and pampering as women, we are the weaker gender; therefore it is fine to laugh out loud sometimes, to cry a lot sometimes, to seek to replenish tender care and ask for help sometimes – we cannot be tough at all times. It is fine to have girly gatherings and get each other back to smiling.
Inside Woman: There are so many negative influences bombarding women from a very early age about what is acceptable, attractive and appropriate. How can women combat and avoid these poor influences to ensure that they are God instructed rather than world instructed?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: This is a challenging struggle. We are in the world, yet not of this world. It is difficult to avoid poor influences, ideally, we ought to overcome poor influences by immersing ourselves with solid truthful influences found in the Word of God, prayer, discipleship, mentorship, praise & worship, meditation and other trustworthy and truthful sources. It is an on-going battle of spirituality and humanity. Our spirituality should supersede our humanity every time. We ought to feed our spirit, so that we may display the fruit of the spirit and overcome the carnal nature.
Inside Woman: Please share with our readers some of the beautiful qualities that you have learned from the women that have made you the woman that you are today?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: I am blessed to have a number of spiritual mothers who are honest and truthful to me. They are simple women who believe in the spirit of excellence and quality. They have a gentle and a quiet spirit. What they say is consistent with their lifestyles. Sometimes I learn by observing their lifestyles without them having to say much. They have taught me: Love, Truth, humility, generosity, faith, servant-leadership, hope, gratitude, consistency, fabulous image and holiness.
Inside Woman: Sometimes we pray and pray and pray and nothing happens. How can we redirect our thinking to see our battles/challenges as God sees them?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: The purpose of prayer is to communicate with God with the disposition of finding out His Will and a disposition of being willing to surrender to His Will and be enabled to obey Him. Communication is a dialogue between two or more people. We ought to listen as well to God, after we empty our prayers. Sometimes we pray without talking, we pray with our entire being, if we are not aware of these prayers, it is challenging to understand prayers by our spirits; therefore, we may not be still to listen to God. When we are empty, and we become blank with expectation of God’s revelation; when we diligently seek God in an attitude of being nothingness, he shows up and He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. He may show up in a way in which we least expected Him. God came to the Jews as a baby and a Shepherd’s Boy and they did not recognise Him, still some Jews still believe that the Messiah is still coming, because they expected Him to come and ‘happen’ in a certain way.
Inside Woman: Tell us about LoveOlution.net. What is the purpose that God has laid on your heart for this?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: LoveOlution.net is a love revolution network that is encouraging us to love God, love ourselves and love people in a practical way. More information on LoveOlution.net is found on: http://www.loveolution.net/
Inside Woman: From your interaction with women, what do you think the greatest need among Christian women is today?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: Women need to learn to collaborate with other women without judging other women and without feeling insecure about themselves, no matter the denomination. When this happens in its purest form and in its truest form, women can overcome so much more together, because we understand what happens among us! Women need to love one another by acknowledging positives from one another and supporting one another when they can, this will demonstrate God’s Love. Love gives… Women need positive attention and acknowledgement from one another. When we pray for one another, help each other look and feel great truthfully, add value towards each other’s dreams sincerely, God’s Glory is displayed and God’s Kingdom is advanced.
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: My aim is to see the young ladies I mentor to be at least ten times better than me! They are motivated and encouraged by themselves. I would say encouragement to them to be closer to God as I strive to point them to the Truth sincerely and sharing resources with them to encourage them to get closer to their God given dreams. The application of Truth makes all the difference and yields fruit to those who succeed. Focusing on Spirituality more than on our humanity is a great starting point for the young ladies who want to yield fruit on their purpose and goals. Another great fruit that I appreciate from the young ladies that I mentor is their planning ability and the enthusiasm to exceed the Mentor by going an extra mile! I love this! It means then that they can pay it forward to the younger women who come after them, as well. J
Inside Woman: How do we help women in the Church to have the God kind of confidence?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: I encourage them to meditate on Proverbs 3:26, which states that: ‘the Lord will be my confidence.’ The first thing we ought to realise as women is that the confidence is not ours – we ought to ask for it from God. When God is your Confidence, it means that your confidence is the same yesterday, today and forever, it cannot be shaken. It is about God’s consistency; therefore we ought to be humble about it. Then that is only the first part, the next part is the ministry of being a great steward of the Temple of God, our body and image. It is our responsibility to ensure that we look and feel great, when we are in our ideal and appropriate health levels, we tend to be confident, then we can even dress in ways that enhance our healthy bodies. I believe in sustainable and consistent lifestyle behavioural patterns.
Inside Woman: What else are you up to currently?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: I am resting on holiday in Italy, my first break this year. I am shopping for some of wardrobe items that we are going to use in video shoots for my first and second single in my debut hip hop project called: ‘LoveOlution.net Volume 1: MoloMolo’.
Inside Woman: What’s your final word of encouragement to the Christian women?
Sibongiseni Tunzelana: I encourage every woman to allow Christ Yeshua to redeem and save her daily, so that we may have intimacy and a personal relationship with our Lord and Saviour. May we humbly come to a point of complete surrender, total yielding, allowing God to enable us to obey Him daily. May we continue to love God, love ourselves and love people. Love is the flame that will bring light in our challenging situations; therefore we ought to allow Love to keep burning. Challenges and trials are going to come our way, may we embrace them as stepping stones to spiritual growth. Christian women must learn to look in the spiritual mirror that is the Word God and the physical mirrors that exist and then appreciate the fact that she is made in the image of the Most High God! That is the best image in the land!