INKOSI PHAKAMA SHEMBE
Many people who are familiar with the ways of worship in the Nazareth Baptist Church will know that today is our sacred day, the Sabbath. As a leader of the church for the past twenty-six years, it’s the first time ever that I will not be with our congregants on a Sabbath.
For me to be able to attend the launch of Inkululeko Yesizwe, I had to request permission at home from our ancestors by burning incense to let them know that I was going to miss the morning session of the Sabbath. That symbolizes the significance of today where history is being made.
When Dr Prophet Samuel Radebe shared Inkululeko Yesizwe’s vision with me a few months back, it resonated with me. His vision of promoting and uplifting our indigenous churches, including our Nazareth Baptist Church that was founded by Prophet Isaiah Shembe in 1910 and especially the inclusion of traditional healers, is something I had been longing for.
Through Prophet Radebe’s explanation, I realized that I had arrived home, hence I decided to join Inkululeko Yesizwe. The decision to be part of this historical Association was also informed by looking back at Prophet Radebe’s own church that he founded in 2009 and what he has achieved through his prophetic walk with God and where he is heading, I concluded that I was not lost.
When Prophet Radebe made a call for us to unite to be able to resist what’s currently taking place, that non-Christian want to control our indigenous churches but they are not even practicing nor understand our African way of worship and the fact that our churches are neglected and not respect, I concurred and decided it was time for action.
I’d like to thank Prophet Ntsikana for his prophesy – to whom it was revealed that African believers were to be united. As we are here today, celebrating the launch of Inkululeko Yesizwe, I can say Ntsikana’s prophesy is being fulfilled. Also, iLembe eleqa amanye iNkosi uShaka had said Black people must be one nation. All our ancient Prophets, including Prophet Isaaih Shembe who used to say “Blacks unite, wake up Africans don’t be other nation’s doormats”, wanted this day to happen a long time ago.
It’s my wish that one day we will we do away with borders separating our African countries because I don’t understand why the movement of our people is restricted. My wife is from eSwatini. Whenever I want to visit our family, I must fill papers and get asked questions when all I want is to go home because as Africans we are one nation.
When I see all churches united here today, celebrating the launch of the Association, I see history being made. I’m glad to see our brothers and sisters from Zambia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho here with us today. They really need to fight for borders to be dismantled. When you look at America, they have the United States of America – that means the leaders discussed and agreed to unite and work together. As Africans, perhaps we need to burn our passports for our governments to pay attention to our African dream. That’s what women did when they were tired of carrying passes – hence we say “wathinta abafazi wathinta imbokodo”.
I’d also like to say happy Africa day to all. It hurts that in South Africa, the day is not yet a public holiday but in other countries it is declared a holiday. I sincerely hope that now that we have the Association, our government will sit down with us and understand why we formed Inkululeko Yesizwe. Some people think we want to fight with government through the Association – that’s not the case – we want to help our government to have access to indigenous churches and to be able to talk to our people.
I call other churches to come join us on Inkululeko Yesizwe. We are prepared and we are forging ahead as we now we have at least a million people as our members. Judging by how our message has been received in public platforms, I could safely say our people love what Inkululeko Yesizwe represents – not only our local people but also those from across the continent.
I say Phambili ngeNkululeko Yesizwe!
May God bless Africa and all our churches here today to celebrate with us and also bless those who are still going to join Inkululeko Yesizwe.
Inkosi Phakama Shembe is the Leader of a splinter group of the Nazareth Baptist Church in Johannesburg and is also a member of Inkululeko Yesizwe.