Black South African “pastors” at some of the country’s largest African churches have been revealed as running “healing” ceremonies in which congregants are sprayed with insecticide, made to touch and eat live electric wires, eat stones, grass, rats—the latter of which they claim have been transformed into chocolate.
The bizarre antics—taking place at churches attended by tens of thousands of Africans in the northern part of the country—have only emerged after the “pastors” started posting pictures of their work on Facebook.
The first “pastor” to publicly announce his “healing work” in this manner was self-styled “prophet” Lethebo Rabalago from the Mount Zion General Assembly (MGZA) church in the town of Zebedelia, Limpopo province.
Rabalago posted up pictures on Facebook of his ceremonies, which mainly appear to involve him spraying diseased congregants with a South African commercial brand of insecticide known as “Doom.”
In his Facebook posts, Rabalago claims that the afflictions for which his congregants were treated, were healed after his ceremonies.
After the images appeared, South African media took an interest, with the News24 news service reporting that the congregation was “doomed.” Other news outlets started calling him the “prophet of doom,” but Rabalago refused to back down, telling the eCNA news service in an interview that he believed God was working through the insecticide.
He also went on to say that he had sprayed the face of one woman because she had an eye infection and claimed the woman was “just fine because she believed in the power of God.”
An article in the Johannesburg daily Citizen newspaper revealed that “Pastor Doom,” as “he is affectionately known in Limpopo by congregants,” had already “healed” those infected “with HIV, irregular menstrual cycles, epilepsy and ulcers.”
The Citizen newspaper reported that Rabalago “has become the hero of his rural community of Ga-Mathibela, just a stone’s throw from Lebowakgomo outside Polokwane.”
The newspaper—once one of South Africa’s serious national dailies—went on to give other examples of Rabalago’s “miracles”:
“I spent two weeks in bed without walking, talking, drinking and eating after the doctor diagnosed me with [an] ulcer,” Jeanet Maroga told The Citizen on Tuesday.
“My son told me about how God uses his son in Mount Zion General Assembly Church. The pastor only took Doom from the car and sprayed in my mouth and my face and I rose with jubilation and praised the Lord because I was a totally new person.
“I was healed, active and felt anew. Our father [Rabalago] should be given a space to breathe and to execute God’s mandate to help his nation.”
Maroga jumped with elation as she demonstrated her new lease on life. Another woman, Brenda Lesetja, 29, also from Ga-Mathibela village, said that a single prayer from Rabalago made a R6 000 debt for a refrigerator “disappear”. Lesetja said she bought a refrigerator from a local furniture shop in Polokwane and only managed to pay for three months.
“But on the day they came to fetch the refrigerator, the officials from the shop said my [debt] has been scrapped,” said Lesetja.
Interestingly, the jovial Betty Mashadu, a middle-aged woman in Zebediela who had no water in her borehole that she drilled 12 months ago said: “I now have a flood of water from the same normally dry borehole after I followed Rabalago’s instructions.”
Speaking to The Citizen on Tuesday, Rabalago confirmed using Doom to heal people.
“God uses anything to heal the sick and Doom is no exception. I always have an a-ha moment with the sick because, through the mercy of God, they always get help,” he said.
Just a day after Rabalago’s revelations, another “prophet” going by the name of Apostle Phillip Sithole, located in the town of Hammanskraal, just to the north of Pretoria, released a video showing him commanding a church member to touch and eat live electric wires in order to be “cured.”
According to the South African Daily Sun newspaper, Sithole also turned water into wine, announcing that he was replicating the biblical miracle, and one man who he asked to drink the wine instantly got drunk, so he included that scene in his video.
Sithole, who is the pastor of Divine Word Ministries, told the Daily Sun that he could “command people to touch live wires and they will not get electrocuted. Anointing is more powerful than live wires,” he claimed.
He said after he had anointed people, they could do anything without putting themselves in danger. “Not everyone can do this. It’s only for those who have the power of God.”
The MGZA appears to be linked to the “Zion Christian Church” (ZCC) of South Africa, which also has its headquarters in Limpopo province, and is South Africa’s single largest black church.
The ZCC has a long tradition of encouraging its congregants to support “prophets.” Some of the more famous recent “prophets” include:
Lesego Daniel, from the Rabboni Ministries, who in 2014 instructed members of his congregation to drink gasoline and eat grass and flowers, in order to effect miracle cures. Daniel is the father of the “Doom pastor” Rabalago.
Penuel Mnguni, from the End Times Disciples Ministries, whose Facebook page showed pictures of him feeding members of his congregation stones which he claimed to have turned into bread. Later that year, he released other pictures of him feeding his followers snakes and rats, which he—and they—claimed had been turned into chocolate.