SOPHIA Njanina when she fell pregnant was ecstatic.
REPORT BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
The 29-year-old mother of three from St Mary’s in Chitungwiza could hardly contain herself as the expected date of delivery approached.
Finally, the date came but there was no sign of labour twinges and she wondered if her baby was safe.
Four weeks past her time, a desperate Njanina on June 23 this year went to Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) ministries led by Prophet Walter Magaya to seek religious intervention.
As she waited in a long queue, she silently willed the enigmatic prophet to tell her good news. When her turn finally arrived, Magaya told her that she would give birth the next day at midnight.
“I felt something the moment the prophet laid his hands on me. I knew then that my baby was on the way,” Njanina told Standardcommunity last week.
The following day, she delivered a bouncing baby girl at 12:45am.
“We named her Faith Tadanaishe because it took a lot of faith for us as a family,” said Njanina.
Another woman, Theresa Mandishaya from Nyamidzi in Nyazura said she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and lost one breast and mobility in most parts of her body.
As the cancer ravaged her body, it crippled her back bone and for three years she could not walk.
Mandishaya said she underwent the torturous chemotherapy which was accompanied by bouts of nausea.
Besides the painful procedure, she had to part with US$2 800 for the treatment.
Like Sophia, she was expectant as she stood waiting for Magaya to lay his hands on her.
Last week, Mandishaya claimed that she was instantly healed and went home walking, free of pain.
“The pain is gone now and I am able to do some of the chores that I could no longer do,” she said.
Asked if she had confirmed with the doctors if indeed the cancer was gone, Mandishaya said she presently did not have money for the tests.
Equally happy is Shuvai Mavhondo (35) of Harare’s Budiriro high-density suburb, who had developed a growth on her right leg.
She said when friends and relatives told her it was cancer, she was devastated.
The swelling burst into a festering wound which emitted a horrible smell.
Mavhondo said a colourless liquid continuously oozed from the gaping hole which grew larger by the day. She was embarrassed to socialise with other people because of the smell, she said.
“In June 2012, I heard of the PHD ministries which had just started and decided to take my chances as I had limited options,” she said. “I was given anointing oil and my wound which had not responded to any medical remedies started healing.”
Prophet Magaya recently refused to take any questions from Standardcommunity but instead sent three disks which he said had all the answers.
In one of the disks titled Night Of Turn Around, many of the congregants appeared to be in a trance, while others screamed and made animal sounds.
Some women were speaking in “male” voices challenging the prophet to come and fight with them. One young woman bellowed out a frightful sound which would make anyone’s hair stand on its end.
“Come down here and fight like a man, I want you down here!”
As she continued to scream, she wriggled her body like a worm. It took three strong men to hold her down. Some were confessing to acts of witchcraft that they had “committed”.
There are several high profile Zimbabweans, including Cabinet ministers, who have visited local and foreign prophets in the past few years to have their problems solved.
Among them are Home Affairs co-ministers Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makoni, Zanu PF women’s league chairperson Oppah Muchinguri and Manicaland provincial governor, Chris Mushowe.
‘People fall prey to gospel of prosperity’
Despite the avalanche of testimonies, there has been much scepticism over miraculous healings, gold falling from space, and all sorts of wonders. Several people have questioned the source of such powers.
Such happenings remain an unsolved puzzle to many.
Locally, among those known for performing “miracles” are Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa and Uerbet Angel who allegedly received anointing from their spiritual father Ghanaian Prophet Victor Kusi Boateng.
Also popular is Prophet TB Joshua of Nigeria.
Reverend Michael Mukwati of Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) questioned the source of power of the “prophets”. He said even the devil was capable of performing miracles and urged people not to be misled.
Mukwati said it was unfortunate that most people were not willing to take up their issues in prayer.
“The kind of Christians we have now are not willing to take time in prayer and want quick fix solutions,” said Mukwati. “The bulk of people follow these miracle performing men simply because they are lazy to pray.”
Social commentator, Chris Magaya said the “miracle” issue revolved around poor people who are taken advantage of.
“Poverty levels in Zimbabwe are pushing citizens to go for an easier route. The social ills were caused by failed economic policies. If you do a survey, most people who prefer prophets are poor.”
Magaya said it was sad that many people were losing their valuables to the gospel of prosperity.
“This gospel of prosperity is robbing ordinary people of their hard-earned cash.”