Joseph Engenas Lekganyane
Names: Lekganyane, Joseph Engenas
Born: 1931, Moria
In summary: Bishop and leader of St Engenas Zion Christian Church (the Dove).
Joseph Lekganyane was born in 21 January 1931 in Moria. His father is the founder of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) in 1910. He attended school up to standard six and later a junior certificate (standard nine).
Joseph Lekganyane’s prominence in the church developed when he became a personal driver for his father. This position brought him closer to various church leaders and the inner working of the ZCC. After the death of his father, Joseph Lekganyane claimed leadership of the church. However, his brother Edward Lekganyane disputed his claim after his return from Natal where he worked. This caused serious conflict leading to the split of the church in the ZCC of the Dove and ZCC of the Star as their respective symbols. ZCC (Dove) was headed by Joseph Lekganyane and its stronghold was in rural areas. Edward Lekganyane’s stronghold was in urban areas, especially Johannesburg, were many people still believed that succession should follow traditional lines of primogeniture. On 15 September 1949, elders of the Church and Advocate P Roos installed Joseph Lekganyane as leader of a divided ZCC.
His branch of ZCC consisted of only 6 000 members. He raised the membership of the church to nearly 1 million people by the time of his death. In 1965, in honour of his father and founder of ZCC, he changed the name of the church to St Engenas ZCC and added a symbol of a dove to the ZCC badge. After a serious illness in 1967, Joseph died. Prior to his death, he appointed his second son, Engenas Joseph Lekganyane, as successor and he became Bishop in 1975.
Joseph Lekganyane died in 1972, leaving behind his wife, Mothlago Flora Molopa, whom he married in 1960 and two sons and two daughters.
- Verwey, E.J. (ed)(1995). New Dictionary of South African Biography, v.1, Pretoria: HSRC.