My name is Clement Mabunda, born and bred in South Africa; founder of Thinking Witnesses, a website designed to encourage people to follow the spirit of ‘making sure of all things‘ and to soberly (and impartially) analyse facts.
I came in touch with Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) in 2003. My first convention was that very year, an International Convention at that, held at Nasrec Expo Centre. Not that I knew (or cared) at the time, but the special guest of honour was none other than Samuel Herd of the Governing Body (GB), having being so appointed only 4 years ago.
I got baptised December 17, 2005 at the Roodepoort Athletic Stadium. In subsequent years I went on to serve as a regular pioneer and ministerial servant. I engaged in several other activities typical of Witnesses; I ultimately joined the local French congregation. In the latter part of 2012, God’s spirit bore witness with my spirit. The following year I started law school.
After years of pouring myself out like a drink offering and years of ‘putting things on the shelf’ (namely, surrendering my unanswered questions to the passage of time; you know, this practice of ‘leaving things in Jehovah’s hands’) and after years of being put to many pains by, inter alia, the local body of Elders, to the point of siphoning my joie de vivre and corroding my mettle, it all just came together. In many ways, I had been exsanguinating; I had to put a tourniquet on the situation – I had to get off of this treadmill (this loop) and confront the empirical evidence. I reckon I was a ‘conscious Witness’ for a while by this time, but I had adopted the pattern of giving the organisation the benefit of the doubt, making concessions, forgiving, overlooking… leaving things in Jehovah’s hands.
I eventually took pause and confronted this heavily bedecked ‘shelf’ with the aim of arranging all of these shelved items in order to see what picture they painted. Suffice is to say that I eventually accepted the status quo as an indication that now was especially the right time to make my exit. Genoeg was genoeg.
I hadn’t really thought about it, but a great deal of what pained and frustrated me could be traced back to the organisation, which is, perhaps, not surprising when you take into account that as a seasoned Witness you invest a great deal of time into ‘God’s organisation’ – a case of cognitive dissonance I suspect.
After attending the French convention in August 28-30, 2015 at the Nasrec Expo Centre (having allowed myself time to grieve), I devoted the early months of September to paving my exit. I eventually visited Randburg-French congregation one last time (September 20, 2015), dressed in casual wear (all black errythang), to say my adieus and au revoirs in person – mostly as a courtesy to the Elders – before emailing my official letter of disassociation later that day.
 A ‘conscious Witness’ is a JW who knows that not all is well in the Watchtower. It refers to a JW who is ‘Awake!’ (excuse the pun).