Shembe leader laid to rest

By Drum Digital
06 April 2011

IT was like a scene from an epic movie, as thousands upon thousands of people dressed in white descended on Inanda in KwaZulu-Natal carrying tents and food, clothing and blankets on their heads.

They came in buses, cars, horse-drawn carts, bicycles and on foot to Ebuhleni, the Nazareth Baptist Church's headquarters, to bid farewell to their spiritual leader, Bishop Vimbeni shembe. But despite the prayers and the outpouring of sorrow, the atmosphere in Ebuhleni was far from peaceful.

That's because the multitudes of barefooted followers, dressed in white robes and some in amabheshu (loinskins) and izidwaba (pleated cowhide skirts for women), knew that behind the scenes a war was raging over the leadership of the country's biggest church. wherever we went people spoke in whispers about the contenders for the top position, always looking over their shoulders to see who might be listening.

Read the article in the Drum of 14 April 2011 – and share your views below.

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