Who is TB Joshua?

2014-09-17 09:54

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Prophet. Healer. Charlatan.

TB Joshua has been called all of these things during his rise to prominence as one of Nigeria and the continent’s most recognised evangelists.

He’s famous for fiery sermons and “cures” that his followers regard as gospel and his detractors consider snake oil.

Joshua is no stranger to headlines, and the collapse of a guesthouse on his church’s property in Lagos on Friday is not the first time his name has been linked to controversy or bad news.

In his own words, Temitope Balogun Joshua is the “general overseer” of The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations. He credits Jesus Christ as its founder.

“Born on June 12 1963 in Ondo State, Nigeria, TB Joshua’s journey is a humbling story of how God raised a young man from a poverty-stricken home to lead an international ministry that would attract thousands worldwide to witness the reality of God’s power today,” reads his biography on the church’s website.

“From dropping out of secondary school in his first year to working in a poultry farm; from teaching little children while attending evening classes to washing people’s legs on the muddy streets of Lagos; from a 40-day fast to receiving a divine call and starting a ministry with a mere eight members – the life of TB Joshua is a story of amazing grace and unwavering focus.”

He’s a man given to hyperbole – his official biography suggests he spent 15 months in his mother’s womb and nearly died a week after his birth when a quarry near his family home exploded and sent rocks flying through the roof.

He is also described on the website as a “mentor to presidents” and prides himself on being a “friend to widows”.

Joshua is also a friend to some well-known South Africans, such as Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema. Malema and a delegation visited Joshua last August just before the party was formally launched.

They received Joshua’s blessings for the political journey ahead, City Press reported at the time.

The evangelist is also famous for his “prophecies”.

Weeks before Malema and company visited him, Joshua told congregants during a meeting on the outskirts of Lagos: “In the nation South Africa, the country South Africa, the nation of South Africa … We should help them in prayer. I’m seeing huge revolt. Huge one. Revolt. And it will be very serious. You pray for your nation, South Africa. Huge. Revolt. The youth will come out, and begin, there will be a huge protest here, shoot, some people are killed. Certain people … some people are killed. Revolt. South Africa.”

His followers have also claimed that Joshua predicted the disappearance of flight MH370, which vanished in March after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.

In a sermon delivered in 2013, Joshua said: “We have to pray for this Asian country. I will not mention the specific country but God showed it to me. I can see a very huge balloon. But what is the cause of all this? The plane was just about to take off when the fault started. This clearly means that the fault could have been discovered on the tarmac but they were impatient.

“I am even planning to send a letter to the embassy of that Asian country just to warn them in advance. The plane will be huge and there are so many things that should be considered before flying it but because of their impatience, they were unable to do so.”

It is not known if he actually wrote to the Malaysian authorities.

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