On Ascension Day, 2 June 2011, Fano Sibisi ended his long struggle with the debilitating Motor Neuron Disease, which gradually took from him all physical abilities. Yet, despite his ever weakening body, Fano remained and grew spiritually stronger. Along with the Apostle Paul, he could say: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
I praise God for Fano’s full and productive life; for his love for Christ, his zeal for the Gospel and his energy in fighting the good fight of Faith. Truly he can say that he has finished the race (2 Timothy 4:7).
The first time I met Fano, I was impressed by his dynamic personality and energy in proclaiming the Gospel. It was January 1987, when I first met Fano at a Parents conference at KwaSizabantu Mission.
Later that year we were part of a United Christian Action Delegation to Kirchentag in Frankfurt, Germany. Together, Fano and I confronted communists who were threatening 18 year old Pansy Hlapane . In 1982, Pansy’s courageous father, Bartholomew Hlapane , a Central Committee member of the South African Communist Party, had testified at the Senator Jeremiah Denton Commission in Washington DC, concerning the Soviet control of the SA Communist Party. Later, Bartholomew Hlapane and his wife were murdered by AK47 wielding assassins who invaded their home in Soweto. Bartholemew’s daughter, Pansy was paralysed in that attack. Pansy Hlapane was part of our Christian Action delegation to Kirchentag to speak up for the victims of communist terrorism in Africa. I remember communist thugs threatening this precious believer in her wheelchair. They were shaking boxes of matches in her face and threatening to necklace her! Fano and I went to her defence and confronted these communists with the Gospel of Christ.
Battling Blasphemy at Wits
When I was invited to a debate on Blasphemy at the University of Witwatersrand, my first phone call was to Christians For Truth. Fano Sibisi mobilised Christians For Truth members and travelled up to Johannesburg to support me in the debate. We had been informed that Wits University planned to screen the blasphemous Last Temptation of Christ film after the debate. So, when after the debate the organiser announced that they planned to show the film, they were most surprised when Fano Sibisi stood up in the auditorium and informed them that as Christians we could not allow that to happen. Fano led CFT and Christian Action members up to the front of the theatre to sing hymns and block the screen. The threats of the Blasphemers failed to budge us and it was past midnight before the police arrived to request us to leave. The police then joined us on the steps outside to pray against this blasphemy.
A Real Zulu
Later that year, after I had spoken at the first Christians For Truth conference, Fano stood up and declared: “Peter is a real Zulu ! He sticks in the assegai and then he licks the blood off the blade!” Fano assured me that this was actually a compliment!
In May 1995, as we planned our march to Parliament in protest against the ANCs plans to turn South Africa into a secular state, Fano Sibisi flew down to Cape Town to join us. Well over 20,000 Christians joined us in this, the largest protest in Cape Town’s history. Outside the gates of Parliament, Cyril Ramaphosa was thrust out by nervous ANC leaders to receive our Memorandum. Mr Ramaphosa was plainly rattled and quite intimidated by the large group of determined Christians with banners and posters declaring: A Godless state is a hopeless state; Back to the Bible; Grondwet op God se wet; Jesus Christ is Lord.
Cyril Ramaphosa’s eyes lit up on Fano Sibisi and his large leather bound Bible. “Can I borrow this?” Mr Ramaphosa swiftly plucked the Bible out of Fano’s hands and climbed up the platform. Lifting Fano’s Bible high into the air, Cyril Ramaphosa declared: “I am a Christian! See, I bring my Bible to Parliament every day!” From where I was standing, I could clearly see Fano Sibisi’s name engraved on the front cover of this Bible, (which was actually a gift from Rev. Bill Bathman in Arizona). The brazenness of this politician left Fano and I staring at one another in amazement .
Fano was an exceptional Christian Leader. He was courageous and principled. In 2005, Fano wrote the Introduction for my book Slavery, Terrorism and Islam – The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat.The publication of this book actually earned me a death threat Fatwa, from radicals. I had asked Fano if he really wanted to be so closely associated with what was bound to be a controversial book. Fano brushed my concerns aside and wrote: “for the sake of our generation and coming ones, we have to set the record straight.”
Each of the editions of our Biblical Principles for Africa book have been dedicated “to Rev. Fano Sibisi , the President of Christians For Truth and Co-worker of KwaSizabantu Mission. Fano is an inspiration and example to us all of Christian grace and perseverance under adverse circumstances.” These books have now been translated into Afrikaans and French and over 26,000 copies have been printed and distributed throughout Africa and even further afield. The presidents of Zambia and Malawi have both endorsed the book and ordered hundreds of copies for their parliamentarians.
Health in Heaven
We praise God that Fano Sibisi is now enjoying full health in the presence of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ who said: “I am the Resurrection and the Life, he who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”John 11:25
Fruitful and Faithful
We praise God for the deep and abiding Faith of Fano Sibisi and for the great fruit of his ministry worldwide.
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa