Yesterday in Johannesburg Inkosi uPhakama Shembe of the Nazareth Baptist Church joined Inkululeko Yesizwe where he signed the membership forms at the Association’s head office in Johannesburg.
Also known as iBandla lakwaShembe, the indigenous church was founded in 1910 by Prophet Isaiah Shembe who passed on in 1935, which resulted in five splinter groups being formed, Ebuhleni and Ekuphakameni being the largest groups.
The leader of the Ebuhleni’s Gauteng branch, iNkosi uPhakama Shembe was welcomed by the chairperson of Inkululeko Yesizwe, Dr Prophet Samuel Radebe.
“It’s indeed an honor to welcome iNkosi uShembe as one of our members on Inkululeko Yesizwe and we are looking forward to his contribution in dialogues that will enhance our Association,” said Prophet Radebe.
The chairperson emphasized that Inkululeko Yesizwe was not formed by power hungry people or individuals who had ulterior political motives. He said the sole purpose of the Association’s existence was to unite leaders in faith, spiritual and traditional healing so they could speak in one voice when tackling challenges facing the sector.
Furthermore, Radebe highlighted the issue of land that was a thorn for many indigenous churches given they were not considered by the Apartheid regime during the town planning phases when main stream churches were catered for.
“I don’t have vast hectares of land to give to our members but if we stand together we can lobby our government to recognize our churches. Currently, some of our Zionist churches are faced with evictions from the school classrooms they used as places of worship while Inkosi uShembe was moved from the recreational park that the church worshipped at. Where are we supposed to conduct our church services if we are not even recognized by the democratically elected government?” he asked.
Lady Archbishop Skosana of St Khanani Faith Apostolic Church in Soshanguve in Tshwane, a signed member of Inkululeko Yesizwe, concurred with Prophet Radebe’s sentiments.
“The way in which the Association was introduced made a huge difference in driving me to sign in as a member. We were not made promises of huge benefits such as tenders but the most important aspect they spoke about was the importance of making sure that our faiths were recognized. We re really struggling in conducting our church services due to land issues,” said Archbishop Skosana.
She said even though Inkululeko Yesizwe was still new, already she could see the light through the tunnel and that the days of standing and fighting alone to practice her religious beliefs were over.
In attendance to witness the signing of Inkosi uPhakama Shembe were members of the Executive Committee of the Association and a group of members from various provinces in South Africa.
Inkululeko Yesizwe, an association comprised of indigenous churches and traditional healers has a clearly defined vision – that of positioning itself as the number one hub of African knowledge in South Africa, in the African continent and abroad.