KWASHEMBE MEMBERS BID FAREWELL TO HOLY LAND EBUHLENI
By: Afrika Ndlovu
Thousands of barefoot and white-robed members of the Nazareth Baptist Church (also known as KwaShembe) bid farewell to the holy land of Ebuhleni, situated in Inanda, as their mid-year, month long combined meeting came to an end.
Members of the church travel from all over South Africa twice a year in January and in July to their holy place of worship to celebrate and give thanks to the prophet Isaiah Shembe for all that he has done for them.
During this time of thanksgiving, spiritual introspection and fulfillment, members of the church are forbidden to eat foods that contain yeast as they devote themselves to worship.
As with all meetings, the church closed with a series of dancing called “umgidi” performed by men, women, boys and girls as an expression of celebration, acknowledging victory over adversity, as it is believed that the holy land is a land of purity and blessings.
Members of the church shared their experiences and thoughts with media members. “Ebuhleni is a land of blessings and peace. Here we are all brothers and sisters and are all here to celebrate the gift of life”, said Mabutho Ndlovu.
Minenhle Ndlovu had this to say: “Today sivunulile (dressed in traditional gear), because we are celebrating our culture and dancing to please the gods. Dance is a form of communication. By dancing we hope to receive blessings.”
Chiefs from all over South Africa that fall under the Nazareth Baptist Church also introduced themselves and stated that they follow the way and life of Shembe.
MEC of Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs Mike Mabuyakhulu was also present at the closing ceremony and greeted the entire congregation in the name of Shembe.
“We saw it fit to be with you during this time. We’re also here to get the blessings that you’ve all received.”
He shared that KwaShembe is the fastest growing and biggest Nguni church in South Africa. He also shared that the department will work with traders and those that want to be traders to help give them knowledge and power on how to be the best traders they can be. He concluded by saying, “May the peace and partnership between the government and the congregation continue so we can work together to empower more people and grow from strength to strength as people and as a church.”