Another turn inShembe feud

2011-05-25 00:00

THE battle for the soul of the Nazareth Baptist Church — also known as the Shembe church — is expected to take yet another turn following an announcement by a smaller faction that has secured the church’s intellectual property rights.

In a move that is expected to affect millions of the church’s members belonging to the biggest faction, eBuhleni, the Ekuphakameni faction announced that it now holds the church’s intellectual property.

This means that only members aligned to this faction will have the right to use the church’s way of worshipping, including hymns approved by the founder, Prophet Isaiah Shembe.

The executive committee of Ekuphakameni will hold a media briefing in Durban North today to make a formal announcement.

The church’s secretary-general, Edward Ximba, said they will also show the media intellectual property rights certificates, proving that all rights for the Nazareth Baptist Church, Ibandla LamaNazaretha, Ama­Nazaretha, as well as the names “Ibandla Lakwa-Shembe” or “Shembe Church”, now officially belong to one leader — Inkosi Vukile Vukukhule Jehovushilo Shembe of Ekuphakameni as of July 1, 2003.

He said that with immediate effect no one will be allowed to refer to any church, organisation or group as “Ibandla Lakwa-Shembe”, “Shembe Church”, “Ibandla LamaNazaretha”, “Amanazaretha” or the “Nazareth Baptist Church” without the authority of the leadership of the church led by Vukile Shembe from its headquarters at Ekuphakameni.

Ximba said that anyone doing so is likely to be sued for damages for bringing the church into disrepute. He added that the ban also extends to symbols that belong to the Nazareth Baptist Church, AmaNazaretha.

Nor is anyone allowed to preach directly or indirectly or to broadcast to the public any religious material or sing or record any of the hymns that were composed for the church, broadcast any comment about them or the religious movement founded by the Prophet Isaiah Shembe via any media such as radio, magazines, television or newspapers without the authority of Inkosi Vukile Shembe.

Landile Shembe, the convener of negotiations to unite the church, said talks are still in progress and today’s media briefing will be about the intellectual property of the church.

Attempts to reach the Ebuhleni and Thembezinhle factions under the leadership of Mduduzi Shembe and Vela Shembe, respectively, were unsuccessful.

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