Cape Town - He’s a husband to four wives, a father to 10 children, a reality TV star and a businessman. But there’s another title he goes by that he doesn’t like to broadcast too loudly: he’s also a spiritual healer.
Yet it’s a part of himself he can’t turn off, Musa Mseleku says. He learnt the hard way that it was pointless trying to ignore it – once you have the spiritual gift, it refuses to go away. Fans of Musa’s Mzansi Magic show, Uthando Nes’thembu, witnessed his powers first-hand recently when he visited a young girl who had suddenly become paralysed and could no longer go to school. He prayed for her and pleaded with the ancestors to release the child from her pain. The “healing episode” became a hot talking point, with people wondering if Musa (43) was a prophet or a sangoma, and debating whether he would start his own church. But that’s not the case, he stresses.
“People call me a pastor because I pray for people but I’m not going to have a church. I am a spiritual healer.”
DRUM is chatting to the famous polygamist at the Proudly South African Buy Local Brands Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre, where he and his first wife, Busisiwe (41), are exhibiting clothing from their company, Thanx Mama Productions.
It’s impossible to have an uninterrupted conversation with Musa, who leapt into the limelight through his TV show which showcases the ups and downs of his polygamist lifestyle. Everybody wants to talk to “the people’s husband” and take selfies with him and he tells us his story in between greeting his many fans.
His powers are strong, he says, and he can literally feel other people’s suffering. “Whenever the spirits connect me to someone I feel their pain or whatever is troubling them in their body. If a person has a headache, I will have one too. “This helps me to know how to help them. I used to call myself a walking X-ray as my body is a natural scanner.” Musa first realised he had spiritual healing abilities in 2006. “My life was not in good shape,” he says. “Things were not going well in my life, including in my marriages.”
He went to see a prophet to help him unravel his problems – and what he found out shocked him. “The prophet told me my life was in a mess because I was refusing to acknowledge my inheritance and do what I’m supposed to do,” he says. “I was told I inherited a gift to heal people from my great-grandfather, Mazinyogoli Mseleku. “He died before I was born and no one had told me about him.” Musa was not happy with the news. “I had different ambitions,” he admits. “I thought, ‘how on Earth am I going to have many wives when I’m praying for people?”
Musa first started taking his calling seriously when he dreamt about his late mom, Joyce, months after seeing the prophet. “I dreamt of my mother surrounded by priests,” he recalls. “They were wearing cloaks and someone in the group asked if I didn’t want my mother to be better. When I responded that I did, they told me to pray for her.” Musa embraced his calling but experienced a hiccup on his spiritual journey four years later. “People had started to treat me like a demigod and I had a problem with that. Some of the problems require people to pray for themselves but even those people wanted to rely on me. I hated that people were starting to believe in me and not God.” But after he abandoned his calling his life’s troubles came rushing back.
“My logistics business was falling apart and things were not going well at the Ugu District municipality where I was working as a project officer.” He lives with his wives and children in Port Shepstone, in the Ugu District along the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal. So he heeded the ancestors calling again, but now only prays sporadically, Musa says. “My healing operates on the spiritual,” he explains. “I pray to the living God and also consult and I don’t charge for healing people. This is not something I created – how can I charge for it? And what would I even charge?”
His leg starts shaking as he sits in his stall at the exhibition. He looks up. “There is someone who has a problem with his leg here,” he says. He turns to look at people at a stall on his right and points to a visitor who is chatting to some people. “Look at that man – he is the one who has a problem with his leg. He is putting strain on the other. Liyamhlupha (it bothers him),” he states. When the man walks towards another stall, Musa gently pulls him over and asks if he can talk to him. “Do you have a problem with this leg?” he asks, pointing to the man’s right limb.
The man is Mofana Matlou, a 54-year-old from Limpopo who now lives in Sunninghill, Johannesburg. Yes, Mofana replies. “I’ve been in and out of hospital for 14 years and doctors can’t help me. Last year I paid R14 000 for a scan and they still couldn’t tell me why this leg is so painful.”
Musa jots his number down and asks Mofana to visit him. “Doctors will not be able to help you,” he tells him. “Your problem is spiritual and you don’t have to pay anything.” He adds that some people’s problems need spiritual intervention and others need ancestral intervention. He goes back to the stall, which features T-shirts promoting love and polygamy, and caps with the slogan “Thanx Mama”.
“This is my way of thanking my mother,” Musa says. He’s a successful businessman who owns Umdlalo Lodge, an upmarket wedding venue near Port Shepstone with a hotel and restaurant – but as far as he’s concerned his biggest role is being a family man. “My family is important to me and that goes for everyone in the family. This makes it easy to resolve our problems. “We may get angry with each other but at the end of the day we know our family is important and that helps us resolve our problems peacefully.” He’d love to double the number of kids he has and become a dad of 20, he adds. “I want a nation created by me,” he says. Now wouldn’t that make for compelling reality television.