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1) Lenasia's Black Hindu Priest Breaks Myths: He used to be a devout Christian until curiosity took him to a Hindu temple in Lenasia town, 25 miles south of this South African city. Four years later, Meshack Jantjies, 35, is South Africa's first black African Hindu priest. Not only does the deputy resident priest at the Siva Gnana Sabay temple have a large following, but with tremendous effort he is also mastering the Tamil language. Initially, Jantjies joined activities at the temple while working as a cleaner there. When his family joined him to live on the premises, he found more time to engage in deeper studies. "The resident priest then made me a tape which I listened to over and over. I learned to recite prayers from the "Thevaram" (collections of Tamil devotion songs) by doing that. I also joined the adult Tamil classes at the temple." Two years ago, Jantjies was appointed the deputy resident priest. He has been fully accepted by the devotees. "When I stand before the people here and lead the prayers, I feel that I am with my own family," said Jantjies. He goes to great pains to emphasize that he was not recruited or converted by anyone. "I was like a wild animal before joining the temple, and now I have found peace with myself. Jantjies now plans to make it his mission to break prevailing myths among other communities about worship at Hindu temples.

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