The faith and spiritual landscape changed for the better with the launch of Inkululeko Yesizwe – Freedom of the Nation – last weekend at TicketPro Dome, north of Johannesburg.
The Association has been established to advance, promote and protect the rights of the country’s indigenous churches and traditional healers.
For the first time since the 1800’s, which heralded the start of the eventual collapse of the original African gospel – adherents to African traditional religion, together with traditional healers, will speak with one voice and unite under one umbrella body.
The ultimate goal of this new formation is to restore our African spiritual inheritance and values that were steadily eroded through the introduction of the Western form of religion.
Through Inkululeko Yesizwe we want to facilitate dialogue between our members and forge a common purpose towards gradually changing the religious landscape in South Africa. It is our objective to promote the acceptance and acknowledgement of indigenous churches, traditional healers and African practices and values in our communities and our country.
It is time for change. For far too long, African indigenous churches have been stigmatized and labelled ‘backward’ as Western forms of Christianity are categorized as ‘progressive’ and ‘advanced.’
This new association has an ambitious goal – namely to be a hub of African Knowledge in South Africa, in the continent, and abroad.
Importantly, through Inkululeko Yesizwe our members will advocate for access to land and places of worship; as well as be assisted to register their churches with the relevant statutory bodies. Furthermore, church leaders will be given leadership training. Inkululeko Yesizwe will work with like-minded African Spiritual leaders and healers’ associations.
On the day of the launch giants in African spirituality such as Inkosi Phakama Shembe (of one of the splinter groups of the Shembe Church and a member of Inkululeko Yesizwe) and Arc Bishop Ndanga of the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe graced the momentous occasion while Dr VVO Mkhize of Umsamo Institute – a well-known and respected initiated African healer, who has also joined Inkululeko Yesizwe, sent his message of support.
It is necessary to contextualize the formation of this new association, and the manner in which its founding evokes the spirit of our ancestors who were heroes in African spirituality.
The founding of Inkululeko Yesiwe is in response to a vision I received by isithunywa sami – my Messenger from God. It is furthermore in furtherance of a covenant I made with my Creator at eNcome, kwaZulu-Natal on the 5th of December, 2008 – which led me to embark on the path to work for the restoration of the African gospel and its associated values.
With this comes a restoration of the indigenous and spiritual order of worshiping God in an African context; a transformation of the mindset of the African; advocating for financial independence for Africans and overall freeing Africans from all types of bondage.
By liberating Africans from the spiritual shackles placed on them by Western forms of religion we will ultimately restore our cultural identity and dignity.
Also, the formation of Inkululeko Yesizwe fulfils the prophesy of Prophet Ntsikana ka Gaba, the first African Prophet and Christian who preached the gospel of the great God in heaven – uThixo omkhulu oseZulwini long before missionaries docked their ships in our country.
It was Prophet Ntsikana who prophesied the imminent arrival of white people whom he said will carry two things; the Bible and money. He urged the Xhosa nation to receive the Bible but cautioned that they should shun money: because it was going to lead them astray and divide families.
He conducted is preaching wearing a leopard skin and composed African worship songs. Whilst some followed him, others mistook him for a madman. His prophesy was not heeded; and Africans were subsequently dispossessed of their land.
About two hundred years after Ntsikana’s death in 1821 – we have come together as leaders in African Spirituality to forge unity – zenibe yimbumba – as Prophet Ntsikana urged African believers before he died – we are united in serving the true God in an African way.
On the day, I also commemorated the unsung heroes of African Spirituality – our fallen prophets. Unlike last year, it filled my heart with joy to give a token of appreciation to families of our late Prophetess because they are the least spoken about even in the history of Israel. The presence of the four Prophetesses’ families; Nontetha Nkwekwe (Eastern Cape), Anna Mantsopa (Lesotho), Christina Nku (Gauteng) and Anna Lenshina (Zambia) was therefore significant.
I’m humbled by the honor showed by all dignitaries who took time out their busy schedules to attend our launch; Rev Williamson of the United Peace Federation, Michael Swain of Freedom of Religion South Africa, the National Chairperson of the African National Congress Comrade Gwede Mantashe and Head of Elections Comrade Fikile Mbalula.
My sincere gratitude to His Majesty, King Langalibalele II of the amaHlubi Royal House and his entourage – their presence symbolized the support they have for one of their own.
The Executive of Inkululeko Yesizwe and their congregants, my own church, the Revelation Church of God and all our supporters, I’d like to say the launch was the starting point – we still have a long way to go, your support will take the Association to greater heights.
Dr Prophet Samuel Radebe is the Founder and President of Inkululeko Yesizwe – he also founded and leads his church, the Revelation Church of God.