By Surihe Gaomas
The Under Secretary for Parks and Wildlife Management in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Maria Kapere, will leave public service to follow her divine calling by becoming a full-time pastor, in two weeks’ time.
“I have always been divinely positioned by God in my life and after having thought about this godly calling for the past two years, I have decided to go full-time in doing God’s work,” said Kapere with a smile.
Kapere confirmed that she tendered her resignation in June. She leaves the Ministry of Environment after 11 years of service.
She took pioneering leadership positions in the SWAPO Party Women’s Council for much of her youth.
The 53-year-old Kapere will ‘retire’ into priesthood, under the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Katutura.
“I was ordained as a pastor in 2003. So, the calling started long ago.
However, over the years, I realised that although it was allowed, you cannot become a pastor and have other jobs. At the end of the day, you would not do justice to that calling,” explained Kapere.
While it may seem strange to some people for one to resign just a few years before retirement age, Kapere feels she can no longer put on hold her divine calling.
“Colleagues urged me to keep on working till the age of 55, but I am divinely driven and in June this year, I could not sleep or just could not find peace with my soul if I did not do what I’m about to do now,” she said.
Since childhood, Kapere, who was born in Keetmanshoop and has been a member of the AME Church since has had godly visions, even while awake.
Her first experience was on January 11, 2001 when “my mind connected to God or to the higher might,” she said recollecting the moment. ” The voice was so clear, it said ‘Stay closer to me.’ Then, the instruction came ‘Lay down jealousy, greed, anger and unlovingness’, and I could feel this connection,” said Kapere touching her cross-shaped necklace.
Again the same vision came during the fourth month of the same year. This time, she heard “Preach my Gospel of love.” That changed her life.
“Some might think that it is too late to be starting a new career at the age of 53. But for me this is a new direction and I think there is still something I can offer to my church and the entire nation. I have a calling in this field,” she said.
So who is in fact Maria Kapere?
Kapere, a mother of three was born in the south. She completed her primary and secondary education at Luderitz and Tses.
Already at the tender age of 12, she would speak supernatural and divine messages to her friends and was nicknamed the girl with the “Big Book.”
Kapere later became one of the leading figures in SWAPO Party and was elected to the SWAPO Party Women’s Council.
In 1989, she was nominated to the executive of the election campaign in the south by Founding Father of the Nation, Sam Nujoma.
Kapere thought at the time that she would become a social worker but her dreams were dashed while studying at the University of Western Cape in South Africa due to the Soweto Uprising.
She took up training in teaching, but then went into campaigning more for the ruling party and the SWAPO Party Women’s Council.
In 1996 Kapere joined the Ministry of Environment and Tourism under Gert Hanekom.
“I was the only female black manager, so I had to work very hard to find myself in this position,” she said.
Kapere said she learned under the previous minister, Phillemon Malima, and now the current Minister, Willem Konjore, and holds her working experience dearly.
She believes in the powers that led her in this direction on a full-time basis and looks forward to fulfilling her mission in life as a fully ordained pastor.
“Prayerfully, I will be focussing on bringing the Word of God to the people. I will ask God to reveal this to me and use me as a tool to carry out His will,” she said.