Another Shembe church faction

2011-11-21 09:11

Another faction of the Nazareth Baptist Church, popularly known as the Shembe Church, was launched in Pinetown yesterday, the Isolezwe newspaper reported.

Mthembeni Mpanza formed the church after his fellow priests tried to assassinate him, according to the KwaZulu-Natal-based newspaper today.

The new faction, called New Nazareth Church, is the fifth faction to have been established since the church was formed in the 1970s.
Three of the church’s factions are in KwaZulu-Natal and the fourth is in Gauteng.

Until his death in April, Vimbeni Shembe led the biggest faction, with about five million followers. Most of the splits in the church have occurred when church leaders have died.

After Shembe’s death, his faction approached the court to determine its legitimate leader. According to a will presented at his funeral by the church’s lawyer, he chose his cousin Vela Shembe as his successor.

However, the church’s senior leaders have expressed their preference for his son Mduduzi Shembe. The Nazareth Baptist Church was founded in 1910 by Isiah Shembe. Violent family disputes over succession have plagued the church since the 1970s.

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