Mmegi Online :: Zionists bring song and dance to Shoshong
Banners
Banners
Banners
Banners
Last Updated
Thursday 25 April 2019, 15:24 pm.
Banners
Zionists bring song and dance to Shoshong

SHOSHONG: Almost all the available space on sub-tribal authority, Felix Barobi Kgamane's field was occupied.
By Staff Writer Thu 25 Apr 2019, 22:57 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Zionists bring song and dance to Shoshong








It was taken up by dancing Zion Christian Church (ZCC) men wearing rumpled khaki and black caps with shiny stars on top. Some displayed their stylish ways of dancing as they rolled and tumbled kicking the dust away acrobatically.

The weather was conducive for their dance and song. Clear blue skies with some occasional breeze although it often got stubborn and blew dust into the eyes of the masses.

They leaped energetically into the air and landed firmly on both feet. This is how they prayed for rain and peace in Shoshong last weekend at the invitation of Felix Barobi Kgamane, Bangwato regent Sediegeng Kgamane's younger brother, who is also a ZCC member. He had invited his church to come and join him in prayer.

He was worried by drought and rising crime generally, especially murder cases. There were hundred of thousands of faithful from Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Lesotho, Malawi and other places. 

In the church lingo or Sepedi, they are known as Masogwana or Mokhukhu. The attracting factor could have been that the church's spiritual leader, Reverend Barnabas Edward Lekganyane was to give the main sermon on Sunday afternoon.

Because of the incessant song and dance, the whole place was covered with rusty coloured dust. Clouds of red dust hung for the whole night of Saturday and Sunday morning, only to subside when an announcement was made through a public address system for the members to take their positions for the arrival of Lekganyane.

To the uninitiated the scene of men attired in the khakis and white big shoes, known as manyanyatha, some of which are big sizes akin to Botswana Defence Force and Botswana Police Service clowns, could not stop them from laughing.

But to the ZCC mokhukhu men, every part of their uniform is very important and must always be worn in proper order. On their chests, they wear a silver star emblazoned with the letters ZCC proudly pinned to their clothes. BBC's Carolyn Dampster describes this star as a "badge of honour and a healing talisman."

As they (mokhukhu men) leaped in the air, an old story of some Batswapong mokhukhu men who reportedly fell from a five-tonne truck moving at a high speed came to my mind.

Whether true or not, this old story has it that whilst the men were high in spirits, they did not pay attention to the moving truck and only to land on the road and sustain serious injuries after the truck could not wait for them to land on it.

Ask any ZCC members, about this story, they will dismiss it with the contempt it deserves.

Back to prayer. Felix's tshimo occupies a vast piece of land; perhaps double the size of the national stadium in Gaborone or even more. That ZCC members occupied almost every part of this land speaks volumes about the church members that had thronged last weekend prayers in Shoshong. It's a pity that no statistics was availed depicting attendance. But I could guess, the number was not really very far from Botswana's population of about 1.8 million.

In my 19 years membership of this church, it was my first time to attend a church service of this magnitude outside South Africa. The only time that I returned home very proud was after learning that I was counted among about six million people at the Holy City of Moria, near Pietersbirg in South Africa. It was one of the past Easter pilgrimages.

Although some church mates found themselves arguing that the 2005 visit by the church's spiritual leader, Reverend Barnabas Edward Lekganyane in Gaborone had attracted more people, I still argue that the weekend visit had more.

The number of buses and cars parked athwarting the dusty road that was cleared for the purpose of this visit, was very high which also supported my argument that there were more people than in 2005.

We arrived for the prayers on Saturday evening at around 9.30 pm from Francistown and it took us a long time to find parking space. From where we finally parked, we were informed that some of the buses, in particular, stretched to about 10 km ahead of us.

Behind us, it was another long stretch estimated at almost the same distance. The rusty and powdery soil is blown all over soiling passersby. But to the ZCC men, this could not deter them from pursuing their agenda. After all, this was their dust.

Not very far from the dancing mokhukhu men, women kitted on khaki pinafores and green berets were also doing their thing. As if they did not want to be outdone by their male counterparts, they also danced the night away. The whole place was turned into a festival of song and dance. Like their male counterparts, women danced and sang in a semi-circular form with a choir mistress directing them. There were several of these choirs.

Interestingly, majority of these women from different church groups danced with rattles (matlhowa) tied to their legs like traditional dancers would do. They did so dexterously and like a cunning worker.

All roads leading to Shoshong last Saturday were clogged with cars and buses transporting the church's faithful to the place of prayer.

Making calls from both Mascom and Orange mobile cellphones was impossible last Saturday and part of Sunday from both Mahalapye and Shoshong, because of congestion. This was due to the high number of people in the area, which were not supported by the mobile service providers.

The many vendors that have taken advantage of the visit must have made a killing from the hundred thousands of church

Banners

faithful. In fact, all the places near the borders around the country must have made a killing especially at the many fuelling points around the country and shops.

Jimmy Sethomo, a church elder in Francistown took advantage of the visit to set up a stall in Shoshong. He might have not got what he had budgeted for in terms of sales but he knew it was going to be win or lose.

"I had set up a stall selling food but unfortunately, I could not make what I thought I would get. The bottom line is that I was happy to listen to the Bishop delivering his sermon last Sunday and that has left me in high spirits. I did not incur a loss either although I have not make any profit to write home about," he says. After all, he did not leave Shoshong empty handed, as majority of his wares were gone.

Sethomo's nephew, Billy Makuku of the Botswana National Front (BNF) also had a stall in Shoshong, but unfortunately because he had set up in an area that was not accessed by many people, he was amongst those who complained that a lot of the people did not buy from them just because they were non-members.

Lediretse Keodibetse, a Warrant Officer in the army commemorates his 18th anniversary as a ZCC member and is attracted by the members' love and caring attitude towards each other. "You will not notice who is poor or rich as we congregate for prayer since we would all be clad in our khakis. We all enjoy respect across," says Keodibetse about the church.

"You can imagine six million of us gathering in one place without stampede or even fighting among ourselves. We don't spend money when we are treated for various ailments in case one falls sick." To him, this is the reason why he has remained so loyal to the church.

Whilst the Central District Council (CDC) did a good job by bowsing water to the area, it was apparent that there was a shortage of water in the area where prayers were held.

Vendors selling bottled water made a killing.
Sunday was a big day for the church members as they changed their uniforms from the sweat-soaked khakis to sombre dark green blazers with a golden yellow trim, whilst women also changed to the vivid yellow dresses with green turbans, whilst others were kitted out in a startling blue. They all braved the scorching Sunday afternoon heat creating a carnival of colour with their uniforms. It was a sea of yellow, green, blue and of cause the khaki uniform was part of it.

Lekganyane's sermon was from the book of 2 Chronicle 1 verses11-12 which reads thus: "...Then God said to Solomon: 'Because this was your heart, and you have not asked for riches or wealth or honour or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge my people whom I have made you king-wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honour, such as more of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like."

But as the Bishop delivered his sermon, it was apparent that fatigue had already caught up with a lot of the church members, some of whom were already snoring. One interesting thing about the ZCC members is their loyalty to Lekganyane. He commands a lot of respect from all and sundry in the church.

Besides several chiefs from both Botswana and South Africa, the prayers were graced by assistant ministers, Moggie Mbaakanyi, Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri, Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Otsweletse Moupo, MP's, councilors and other dignitaries.

The founding father of the ZCC was Engenas Lekganyane. His calling first came as a vision in 1910. Whilst asleep, he heard a voice telling him that he would command multitudes. The voice also told the founding father that he would find a cure for his deteriorating eye ailment if he traveled to join a church that practiced baptism through immersion in water.

Upon waking, the church history reflects that he decided to leave his former church-Church of Scotland-and traveled to around Johannesburg where he joined the Zion Apostolic Church. Miraculously, once he was baptised into this church, the eye ailment was healed.

Lekganyane, who reportedly was a powerfully charismatic preacher, orator and healer, later formed the ZCC. The ZCC had about 920 members in 1925 to over eight million up to about 2001. A lot could have happened upwards or downwards.

Millions of the church members are attracted to the church because of its healing and prophetic ministry.

Like many other African Independent Churches (AICs) the ZCC embraces Christian principles as well as African cultural traditions. ZCC is part of the AICs which has an estimated following of about 32 million believers across the world.

"The growth of the AICs over the past century, especially among the poor and illiterate, has been phenomenal. They currently constitute the fastest-growing sector of Christianity in the world and the ZCC is the largest of them all," reports Dampster for the BBC Focus on Africa magazine. Critics of the church are waiting to see if peace and rain would come after the long and hard prayers. But for the church members they have done their bit. "Yes, we have done our bit and the rest lies with God whether he answers our prayers or not. But I can tell you, God never disappoints," occludes Keodibetse strategically.

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Banners
Banners
Banners


Banners
Banners
Subscribe to our Newsletter
have a story? Send us a Tip
Banners
  • Previous
    Avengers: Endgame
    Next
    Masa Centre
    ::: Tuesday 23 Apr - Thursday 02 May :::
    Avengers: Endgame
    The Queen's Corgi
    Little
  • Previous
    Little
    Next
    Riverwalk
    ::: Tuesday 23 Apr - Thursday 02 May :::
    Little
    The Queen's Corgi
    Avengers: Endgame
  • Previous
    The Queen
    Next
    Gamecity
    ::: Tuesday 23 Apr - Thursday 02 May :::
    The Queen's Corgi
    Little
    Avengers: Endgame
Selefu
Alliance Of Progressives Manifesto Launch
Banners
Banners