Tuesday, 2 April 2013

MLUNGU IN MORIA: joining THREE MILLION on the ZCC Easter pilgrimage


If any publications are interested in running this story, please email me on nealcollins@hotmail.com

Blessed leader: With St Engenas on Sunday at Moria

THE fabled road to Moria, on any given Good Friday, is not to be trifled with. Off the nation-long N1 at Polokwane and up towards the mountains on the R71, you are greeted with 100,000 buses in an iron-human ribbon headed stoically towards the gates of their vast Zion.

The journey is littered with those who struggle to make it. Breakdowns, crashes, toll plaza jams. But no impatience, no anger… just a vast horde of largely uniformed men and women quietly determined to be there for their Bishop at Boyne in Limpopo.

Khaki army: Inside one of the buses
On the road, they sing, dance and sell mashuda, long, noisy ribbons to supplement the dancing.
I clambered on a couple of buses while they were stopped, waiting to get past a crash not two miles from the twin gates of Moria.

The buses are largely gender specific. On the women’s charabanc, noise and children among the blue-and-white and the green-and-yellow congregants. The men sit in serried ranks, with the ubiquitous ZCC hats, khaki suits and white shoes. One long row of smiles.

Iron-human ribbon: buses on the R72 to Moria
Both are equally welcoming. Ready to talk anything from Nkosi to Amakhosi, unholy kids to holy tea. Eager to reach their destination but prepared to wait… and wait… while talking to the mad mlungu in a Kaizer Chiefs t-shirt some recognise from eTV Sunrise. 

At the end of their long road they are faced with a choice. The Dove or the Star. Founded in 1910 as a breakaway from the Scottish Free Church by Engenas Lekganyane, there are now two branches of the ZCC, with a combined congregation of around EIGHT million in a nation of 55 million.

First you come across the Star, led by Engenas’s grand-son Barnabas. Then, under a bigger, more elaborate gate, there’s the Dove sect, inspired by another grand-son, St Engenas. Insiders suggest the Star congregation is largely urban while the Doves are more rural, and draw many from neighbouring nations.

As an estimated three million people set up camp within the property of around 12 square kilometres; I expected chaos. I have seen Glastonbury and the Isle of Wight when huge concerts are held. It’s a matter of grabbing a site for your tent and a place to do your business. Disease and pollution are rampant, so is theft and beer.

On camera: the nerve centre at Moria
Not at Zion City, Moria, Boyne. Here, there is a natural order. People slip quietly in to position. Dozens of church workers are on hand to advise, guide, help. Across acres of barren veld, camps are formed, groups gather, locals stick together to sing and dance… and pray.

It took me, an mlungu (white) who grew up from the age of 10 protected by a ZCC vicar called the Reverend James “Smart” Sibanda, quite a while to take in the enormity of the organisation. If you learn one line, it’s “KGOTSONG A E BE LE LENA” (or the shorter “KGOTSO E BE LE LENA”) it means "peace be with you" and will earn access all areas.

We are gathered here today: the blue-and-white crowd
The colours are vital. Green and yellow is for the 'seaparo se segolo' (the majority, means the respectful uniform, adults only), blue and white for 'khwaere ya bomme' (choir of women), who take pride of place at the big ceremonies. Maroon and white belongs to those who help the church.
And everywhere, the army of men in hats and khaki, keeping the peace, guiding the Easter campers through the food shops and latrines in a campsite five kilometres long, speckled by loudspeakers and huge video screens.

At the gate, given my pale visage, I become a focal point. Video cameras follow my every move. Photographers save my image. I’m taken in to a plush gate house, my picture is taken for the umpteenth time and I give me name, address and religion (Methodist) before a vicar sprinkles me with holy water before I take a nervous sip.

By Easter Sunday, when Saint Engenas emerged in a Rolls Royce Phantom with eponymous number plates to give his long-awaited sermon, I had not seen a single incident of violence or theft. None of the smell of sewerage or garbage I expected. Amid the millions, peace and contentment – and plenty of dancing – reigned in the blazing African heat.

Phantastic Phnatom: St Engenas's Rolls Royce
Dancing? The spelling may not be perfect, but I’m told it’s mkhuku for men, dancing and jumping, a more demure chanting, clapping choir for women. Mphoho happens when everyone gets together to clap and get “taken by the spirit”. At midnight, every night, mphoho breaks out noisily, the camp comes alive, nirvana for three million at Zion City.

Like his father before him, St Engenas’s son drove the Roller. There is a collection of huge black limousines over the mountain at the Bishop’s home, including two Mercedes and older American Cadillacs. This is the only obvious sign of wealth on offer, though the VIP lunch lacks little.

The assembled masses go crazy. Surprisingly, the pre-sermon is given in Afrikaans by a high-pitched white man who even uses the old-fashioned term “Transvaal” for the Gauteng province. Not a murmur. Every word of every service in both Dove and Star camps is translated from the original Pedi in to English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Tsonga.

Such translations are not helpful for the flow of the message. But St Engenas has them hanging on his every word. I keep my eyes tight shut during the prayers, on advice from Twitterers concerned about my blessing levels.

In the middle of his lesson, which starts with Noah and ends with modern, troubled South Africa, a lady in blue-and-white is dragged out screaming: “taken by the spirit” the Bishop’s wife assures me.
Occasionally the frantic women in the front unleash a volley of cackling between the gentler hum of “amen”; again the spirit is to blame.

Khaki kerb stones: holding back the blue-and-white worshippers
About five metres from me, St Engenas – having ruled out talk of politics from his glass-fronted podium with Julius Malema looking on - talks of respect, crime, “looking out for our women” and “the pain of stealing”. He is no wild-eyed evangelist. No Billy Graham. Just a calm, authoritative man offering wisdom in a church where ancient African ancestors meet missionary Christianity.

During the Apartheid years, the ZCC was seen by some as counter-revolutionary but here the millions might be a quiet revolution waiting to happen. Waiting to assert their calm over a turbulent Rainbow Nation. During his speech, unexpectedly, St Engenas turns around and gives me a huge smile and thumbs up.

Deep in Moria: crowds lined the Bishop's route
Afterwards, with the crowd going utterly bonkers, he grabs my hand in his white glove. He wears an 
almost ridiculous uniform, black with lashings of gold braid, the very model of a modern major general. The family have always worn military uniform, it’s expected.

He says: “So glad to have you here, I hope you enjoy it, watch this…” and I am waved to a golf buggy with Jacques, the manager of the Magoebaskloof Hotel up the road. We are the only two white men in sight, apart from the crew who run the broadcast facility and a photographer with a fantastic Boer beard.

St Engenas takes up his mace and performs his ritual role as drum major to his ear-bashing brass band. And we surge straight in to the crowd, where a road with khaki-clad men as kerb-stones has been steam-rollered through the throng.

Drum major: the Bishop leads
Just for a second, chaos threatens. The young women in blue and white, eyes glazed, surge forward to meet their Bishop. I’ve seen crowd trouble in Umlazi and Soweto, Paris and London… but nothing like this. The road is eroded, the women reach out, inches from their prophet, their link with God.
Somehow the thin Khaki line holds. The Bishop doesn’t falter. Like the Titanic, the band plays on. Loudly. They have two marching songs, they beat still through my slumbers.

We are through the blue-and-white to the gentler green-and-gold ranks. The noise remains deafening. When Kathy Simpson won gold at the Sydney Olympics I thought my ear-drums would burst. When Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal won the Rugby World Cup, a wall of noise assailed me. Now, I can hear nothing. For an hour afterwards my ears were ringing.

St Engenas twirls his mace with some skill. This is his time. For a good half-hour, we soldier on through the masses, past “Food Shop Number 5”, past the kiosks selling holy coffee and tea, past the endless buses, with human barriers holding back the thousands eager to see their spiritual leader. I have been on Arsenal victory parades, Olympic marches, Buckingham Palace Garden Parties. Nothing like this. Never.

Star on the hillside: Moria, Boyne, Limpopo
I look at the crowds lining the route. From tiny tots to wise old men. I catch their wild enthusiasm, high five the jumping teenagers, revel in being an obvious visitor experiencing something quite phenomenal. Unique.

And finally, unscathed, we emerge from the masses and retreat to a room upstairs in the pavilion. Outside, the crowds gather to witness one last glimpse of their bishop. Inside, St Engenas works the room, flanked by pictures of his meetings with Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, who came last year but, perhaps significantly, wasn’t present this year.

The Bishop pumps my hand again: “Did you enjoy that? Will you come again?” He tells how he has bought “the Van Der Walt farm” over the road. How he received a prize bull as a birthday present: “And he can do the job, this bull, he has 15 cows to service!” Booming laugh. In 1996, 40 percent of black South Africans were reported to be members of the ZCC.

St Engenas moves smoothly between languages. An old white man explains how he used to serve the family at the KFC in Polokwane in the 70s, how they were always “fine people, the best”. Local politicians jostle for position. The sound and vision guy, a Greek chap who has been involved since 1998, explains how the Dove is growing.

Patrice Motsepe’s ARM directors are there, talking easily with MEPs. Of Malema, since the speech, there has been no sign. One man takes me aside. He tells me the prophecy: “One day the Dove and the Star will be reunited again. Soon. And the numbers will be incredible. We grow every year. The new farm will be for parking. We will transport the people, we get bigger every year.”

Outside, tractors pull huge green-and-yellow trailers around the site. An aerial picture on the wall shows the full extent of what we are involved in. Millions of people, thousands of buses, cars and tents, stretching for miles around.

It's late. Armoured cars filled with cash move slowly through the crowd. The financial implications of eight million-plus members doesn’t need to be spelled out. I didn’t see a single collection plate but the money offered is carefully ploughed back in to the church. It doesn’t get squandered. Corruption is a c-word here.

The Bishop is back. “Take a picture,” he beams, “You will be back. I know this. Do you need a police escort to get home? I can sort that out.”

The new garage on road to Moria: no Total Nobody's in sight
And he did. A blue and white light leads us through the throng still awaiting a final appearance. We pass the first garage beyond the gates. It’s new. It’s called “Total Nobody” in honour of a local dignitary who called himself “Nobody” to avoid an ancient curse. But here, nobody is a total nobody. All have their place in the vast ZCC scheme of things.

The drive home is terrifying. Breakdowns litter the route. The N1 tolls are heaving. Cars and buses occupy oncoming lanes. For two hours we wait, while the pilgrims, tireless, sing and dance in the buses. Home exhausted. The dominant thought: Everyone should do this, at least once.

Somewhere in the real world, Zuma is preparing to bury 13 SANDF soldiers, Arsenal won, Orlando Pirates drew, Andile Jali remains an enigma. The world goes on. Until September, when the ZCC millions gather once more.

I can’t wait. St Engenas for President anybody?

121 comments:

  1. Please get yourself a decent cellphone camera ......great story, pity about the pics quality.

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    1. Yeah...totally agree. You must get yourself a Samsung Galaxy Camera.

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  2. Wow man, u blew me away. This is amazing....

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  3. It has definitely been added to my bucket list. Thanks for the link.

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  4. Thanks guys! Will add some email comments soon, brilliant response. ZCC do NOT tithe members, which surprised me... Also offer free clinic and scholarships to college

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    1. You guys are total tools why don't you mind your businesses and stop being hard on this church

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  5. "Ba dumela go yena Modimo wa rona, ba tle Sione Thabakgolo" *singing*

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  6. Wow Neal, I'd love to visit after reading this. Brilliant artical!

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    1. Mmakgomo everyone is welcome ka moria.

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  7. I stand correct but the previous easter, the Star had 8.2 Million ppl, so it means both churches combined are well over 10mil inthe 50mil population, excluding close countries, next time try to get press/VIP pass for the Star, but they don't allow cameras, only cellphones with no cameras, so not twitter

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    1. get ur statistics correct ur estimation is poor

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  8. AIDS is the work of the devil. The condom is the devil's instrument.

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  9. I just think that it would have been better to write specifically on one church. I mean u talk of ST. Engenas and afterwards you show pictures of the ZCC church! Which church has 3 million?! I am confussed now coz S.T ENGENAS ZCC doesnt dance to mkhukhu but its curved to that direction in ur article. No hard feelings, brilliant article, but confusing

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    1. Yes it could have been so nice and clear to focus on one ZCC. It is a wonderful church like the Star one now has got more that 20 something million people am one of them. Good luck

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  10. Neal, nice article but the problem is you always rely on uncorroborated facts. For instance, stats at the ZCC star was 11,8 Million. And the ST Engenas is something else. You feed our people with your ambitious tendencies. ZCC is apolotical and this "St Engenas for President" is a bad joke. Come to the ZCC star. I know you thrive on lies. You once commented that Irvin Khoza is a father is law to Zuma hence his wielding powers in SA soccer. Your journalism sucks men. Please write facts and stop misleading our masses.

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    1. Anonymous, how possible can you host 11.8million with Hired Toilets (RED ones), you know very well that your infrastructure development is just a mess. And you cant do anything about that, the issue of the is in question. get your facts correct

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  11. Nice piece Neil. Just be a little bit careful when you write about issues that you are not sure of (ie) get your facts first and make sure that your pen moves after your mind has worked. ZCC star of Barnabas had 11.6 Million Pilgrims, St Engenas had 3 Million. The ZCC of Barnabas is apolitical, no politician is allowed to address the pilgrims and its leader has a diploma in theology so you may compare him with your Graham fellow. And I also don't see any need for you to write about St Engenas's private converstion or pleasantries, the man was happy to see you. There are many who wants that privilege without any success. But the churches are different so I'm in agreement with those that say you must distinguish. We were with Irvin Khoza at the star (the one you hate) as well as Danny Jordan. I use to respect you but I think you are slowly loosing it. You once said Khoza is powerful because he is Zuma's son in law. Please Neal is you are tired write about something else, the politics at Sunderland or the corrupt Issah Hayatou. The Lekganyanes have always avoided media mainly because you guys write whatever come into your mind and not facts. Please man, retract this piece, edit and re-publish if you see any need to. Quite frankly I don't see any need as a ZCC member.

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  12. The ZCC star also have a branch in Sherfield, England. There are also many students under its scholarship in local and internatinal institutions of higher learning. Concept same but two distinct churches.

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  13. *smiles* thank you for coming to Moria to get facts, instead of writing false rumours. thank you

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  14. @anonymous, anger is what written all over your comments. Firstly ur statement that ZCC is apolitical is a lie. Let me remind u, Nelson Mandela adressed the ZCC pilgrimage in the Late 90s, Thabo Mbeki, adressed the pilgrimage twice during his tenure as the president. This info can be obtained on google. The same leaders visited S.T Engenas and never addressed them, recently Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma never did. So before u brand Neil as a liar, check urself first. I dont know whether u dont like Neil or S.T Engenas. N my friend i can counter everything u have written with facts so dont act like a messenger here. ( pun intended)

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  15. Hi Neal

    I have never in my young life read an article that to told the story of my church with so much respect, humility and truth. Your article left me trying so hard to hold back my tears as I'm at the office. Only a fellow ZCC member would understand the spiritual feeling that comes with the mention of any of our two Bishops. We have gotten used to being ridiculed and called all sorts of names for merely having chosen the christian path seen by many as worshiping just another man or gods. Many have lacked what I respect you for, the desire to understand without judging. Without any doubt, you might not live to see the reality behind the prophecy as given to you, however some who read your article will one day share with the world when all happens as predicted. I loved what you said, "Spiritual leader" and "The Link". May the great God of Engenas, Edward and Barnabas bless you.

    Regards

    Bethuel Seroto

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  16. Im a zcc star member but im so touched reading this your article, you took me there i thank God nd u for being our eyes nd ears, especially us who were not given a chance to b there on easter.This church is a real deal everything it prophecy is goin to b that way no matter how long it takes.U r a blessed person person nothing bad will ever happen to you,once the Bishop touches u with his holly gloves it means that you were directly blessed.Tnx for this beautiful piece of our mighty ZCC
    Matshaba

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  17. Sorry guys, didn't have figures when I wrote this story... finding out new things about ZCC all the time... I know I am no expert, this is simply a piece written from the heart about what I saw

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  18. What I loved about reading this article was that it gave that sense as though I, as the reader, was on that journey with you, witnessing everything as detailed.
    Not knowing much about ZCC, I can say I learnt from this article. Thank you.
    The crux of every article is for the writer to "show, not tell". I can say that I've seen it all now.
    Thanks Neal.

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  19. Hi Neal-

    As a non ZCC member not having some of facts that some clarified or disputed I think for me it was informative. I think we must accept that this was an opinion piece not a well research book so as a writer of this opinion piece I am certain you will accept some of the clarification on some facts and we all then learn.

    I have come to accept though and admire that ZCC is a very important institution in our society, hope the members will not object to my use of the word institution.

    Great Job Neal,perhaps this should be a challenge to the members to tell their stories they way they want it to be told.

    Thanks

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    1. Good work neil, dont bother abt pple who are bitter coz they lack faith. Talking abt this 2churches is an honour by itself. As a member of the great ST Engenas I followed as if I was there. Kip it up ka KGOTSO

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  20. Great article Neal, however I feel you need to know the following facts:

    1. According to ST. Engenas, the church started in 1924
    2. The members are nowhere near 3 Mil, they are definitely more than that.
    3. Mokhukhu and choire ya bomme is for the star.
    4. There is no green or maroon uniform is ST Engenas
    5. It's not two branches of the same church, its two different churches, doing different things, so I think next time when you go fucus on one church. :)

    Thanks for this article, I like the fact that you went there with an open mind and as a result you witnessed something millions of people wish to witness.

    Peace,
    Billy

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  21. when estimating the figures, be sure and tell us where you got it. Africa will remain Africa with its multicultural society and languages and we are proud of our languages.

    According to you its OK! for European Churches to give sermon in French and other languages except english but in Africa its wrong to give sermon in English? Zion Christian Churches based in Moria are stricktly Africanism not westernised. Write what you see and dont compare and the Churches are not for the rieches so that you can expect a laxarious treatment, its only prayer and nothing else.

    The Farasaians who were criticising Jesus Christ in the New Testament were interested in nasty comments about Christ, thinking that they know too much about the Kingdom of Heaven. one thing is that don't be like them, just come to learn only and you will enjoy African Religions.

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  22. Thank you Billy

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  23. Thanks Billy and Anonymous - 06 April 2013 06:46

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  24. AIDS is the work of the devil. The condom is the devil's instrument.

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  25. Interesting story to read . To all those that are workedout by some few points not recorded correctly , there is no need to blow your gaskets . Neal good work visit again in september 2013 and improve on this one . I look forward to reading more of your articles.

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  26. I liked your article. In future report only on one church - star alone or dove alone . Do not mix pictures of the two . Other than that , we love what we are reading . Do it again and visit moria in the next conference if you can please . Good work , God bless you!!

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  27. My biggest wish is to see members of these two churches united in their common ideal of peaceful society. It is an irony to claim to be a Christian that loves peace while harbouring hatred towards your (closest) fellow Christian - as is the case with members of the two churches. Start embracing one another as siblings united in Christ and his disciple Engenas (founder) and stop contradicting your claims to be custodians of peace. For the record I am a member of the Star ZCC and I love by St Engenas fellow Christians as siblings in Christ! Yoran Mogaladi

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  28. I really enjoyed reading the article especially how you lay out your experience. It is always an honour having to read or hear a perspective about our church(St Engenas ZCC) from someone who's not a member,though some of the things a reader won't know which church between the two are you referring to i.e mukhukhu which belongs to ZCC star only while you talk about St Engenas ZCC but to us members we know.

    Thanks again to such a wonderful piece and like our master has already said You'll be back and I believe that during our September pilgrimage you'll be amongst us again.

    If you have any other pictures from our church(St Engenas ZCC) I'll be delighted to see them.

    Thanks in advance
    Happy (Madibana Mohlala)

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  29. we thank u Neal Collins.jst that we knw gore there's this other church members who likes to put themselves sumwhere they knw dt dey dnt belong. zcc star is far from S.T ENGENAS ZION CHRISTAIN CHURCH, they are two different churches. A Dove and a star are nt the same.. "LEABA le naledi". Neal, u're sorry for nothing, there's nothing wrong u've said.

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  30. @Neal Collins ...well i am an academic and i am not going to interfere in such contentions ..fisrtly i would like to thank you for availing our Bishop s pics,as sent to us, Secondly these matters are so sensitive that u need to b cautious wen bringing them to public, and to all of us who commented on this blog....pls n pls stop interfering into matters of the Lekganyane family,yours is to pray and b loyal members 2 ur churches.... if i ask any of u here if u know the people u arguing about who will raise his hand and say i do...its funny bcos its only Neal who knows him better dan us bcos they even had a conversation ...so Neal u the man..u tell us and we wil listen bcos we dont knw a thing...yet we claim to know everything....Neal dont be angered by lame comments from sick people...this people are sick...nd with wat uve posted here,uve healed many....and with that hand of yours u can do wonders....next time wen u go the church dont go as a journalist go as a visitor and ask the Bishop what u shud write and he will tell u....he is the Bishop and he will tell you....thank you Neal Caneth Mojapelo

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  31. MR NEAL COLLINS, ur choice 2 visit S.T ENGENAS ZION CHRISTIAN CHURCH is best, so dnt leason 2 such saying dat "come to star", at ur time u'll go. we knw dem, dey use 2 say:"S.T ENGENAS ZION CHRISTIAN CHURCH & zcc star is 1 thing". bare gone ga rangwane le ga ramogolo.

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  32. mojapelo we dnt care abt ur academic staf, i mean dnt tel us wht u're busy wit. again dnt jst rush n talk, who's sick..? Neal ws wit the Master, den Neal knws alot..? do u knw dt SURNAME u mentioned there..? gona rena reka fodishwa ke mantsu a Neal..? U lack sumthin booi. emamele b4 u tlk

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  33. The truth hurts and we need to accept the truth as it is.Neal I suggest that when you write these please distinguish the two churches through their articles so that it can assist in managing conflicts.

    We need to commend on our domain without insults and treat as that time is gone and our souls need prayers not battles as we are only here to pray. In that short I am impressed with packing order and the cleanliness seen on the picture attached except one.
    Regards and compliments

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  34. You have also managed to identify a very critical and crucial elements which makes the two to differ sharply which is the apolitical finding on the saint Engenas but the commanding power religiously in execution of the mighty sermon of the day.

    It is also interesting and will still be to identify which ones talk a war and pleading for unity because they know their actions hence I guess it will be interesting to drive toward as conclusion will others need to combine against the others wish.

    What is it that is missing in the other domain that is available in the other and people are unable to devorce what they are not comfortable with and bond with what touches their hearts but instead would want to bring the flock.

    Depending is an individual decision not a mass as if it is a political merger of municipalities to strategize against loosing leadership.there is no debate of the leadership here but we simply follow holy direction so stay and commend where you are if you want if not repend and go home individually and no one will stop.

    Please Neal donot provide a platform to aggravate matters but present the truth on each so that everyone can commend based on their domain without encroaching on others domain and that is respect of other churches.
    Regards
    ox Gafela Ga-Mmadila Vlakplaas

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  35. What's there to talk abt ka ZCC remember journalists are news breakers n they go were the story is if the facts had to be told thru the ST Engenas then it was about time, nexrtime invite Neal Collins to ur church I don't knw if he will be able to publish the propaganda u always put out there to the media abt the number of ppl who attented the ZCC star conference how on earth can a population the size of Gauteng Population fill the grounds of ZCC the star, that info is incorrect coz u will need to have an average of 15 thousand buses which each bus carries a minimum number of 65 passengers Putco does not have such fleet I understand y the ST Engenas does not like media its soley becoz they don't want to publish distorted inf like the ZCC star does, to be honest with you guys You can't compare the two churches, lastly cleanliness is next to Godliness that's what we see at the ST Engenas they are very organised and very proffesional, lastly the issue of urban n the other being rural to me its the opposite, they have a hightech entrance to scan for dangerous weapons so what's rural abt that gather your facts stop deceiving ppl

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  36. Let us just say your Bishop is reading your comments will he be proud or embarrassed

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  37. let them talk we knw them. i'm non member of both churches but yes it's true S.T ENGENAS is excellent compared to.....

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  38. Yaka Kgosi ebeilwe Sione Motseng wo Mokgethwa.Psalm 65:1-4.I didn't attend the Easter pilgrimage the article gave me the picture.Motse oteng thabeng...let me pause.

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  39. whicH Bishop mr/mrs anonymous...? be specific

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  40. marumo fase kosha e be mpoho masione a geshu.lets lead by example...live what we preach.neil next time when yu come do nt observ every move as a jounalist bt a visitor.blesed though

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  41. well I am not a coward "anonymous" to the person who directed the comment at me, hence I have stated my name here ...if u knew what u wer taking about u wer not gonna call urself anonymous wit intentions of insulting people and churches ....ooh n sorry if ive upset u when I said I am an academic but u gotta deal with that bcos that's what I am...u like it on not u cnt change who I m...hahaha and wen u say "we and rena" who are u implying to? y cant u say "u or nna" stand ur grounds bcos u dnt even make sense I dnt even here wat u r on abwt...whats ur name? who are u ?

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  42. I can choose to be an anonymous and slander like a viper and curse at you "Till Kingdom Come". The fact of the matter is that the fire you felt in your belly, when writing this blog cannot be ordinarily be felt by any ordinary person. I respect you for that! Your blog captures the essence of the 2013 Easter pilgrimage not choosing between the two denominations. It is totally unbiased and paints a picture of ordinary men, women & children on their way and in one of their bi-annual conventions, irrespective of denominations. I do not have right to politicize your writing nor should it be construed in that light because it is not a political comment, for heaven's sake, it is a blog. If you wanted to write a political commentary you could have written it for eTV. Focusing on politics, the Star, not the newspaper, the church, was visited by several politicians before the dawn of democracy in our country. From Pik Botha to FW De Klerk and even "Umtwana" at the helm of our people being slained by Inkatha. At one stage they claimed then the Gauteng premier to be their priest! We don't know whether all that was to be construed as politicking! Writings on their visits accompanied newspapers every easter monday and even dominated their magazine which was unashamedly shoved to the faces of those we did not attend their pilgrimages. Ww couldn't care because it was what was happening in their little part of the world. It was like an act playing itself out! It is though, now apparent that "THIS HORN HAS GROWN AND IT PIERCES THROUGH MOUNT SEGO" and danger shall befall those who are challenging, this bull. If you chose to say ST. Engenas, For President, Anyone!; that is entirely your feeling and we can only marvel and say to you that we still expect a lot more before focusing on the presidency! Maybe reunion with Christ, for now! The Christ that we try emulate in our daily lives, so that His Father's Will Be Done On Earth, As it is in Heaven!! What you heard will surely come to fruition; and GO RATA LE GO SE RATE, LEFASE LE TLA MO TSEBA... Cheers and next time bring a movie cam and big Minolta camera. You ain't seen nothing yet! It is a choice to log onto your blog and read ... It is like voting for Helen Zille, you choose her and no one holds a gun to your head! It is a free country and we deserve to feel good about reading your blog! All the best and I will also log on to see whats new! In any case I saw your profile in Google+ and I might be following you!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Wow, thats great comment for Neals's blog, I wish and pray that he will be available every Church pigrimages for word of our Lord Jesus Christ to be known and practiced the whole universe.

    It is true South Africa is a free country, just post your opinions and we will read not to judge you. There's only one judge of judges - Almighty God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen!!!!!!

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  44. Neal, Let the whole world know the truth.

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  45. Kgotsong masion, na se segolo go bakwa eng mo? Neal Collins, ST Engenas Zion Christian Church or ZCC, really I can't understand help pls

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  46. Firstly, le re swareleng! We exude love & passion when it comes to this history that has been part of us for our entire life. You see the comments here, are complicated by the fact the commentators here write as if our mothers and grandparents has been miscarrying all this time from 1948 to date. It is further complicated that people generally think that we are illiterate as they claim that our church is mostly in the rural areas. There is also history attached to that. I am not even going to touch it. It is for me to know and for them to find out! There's indeed a lot to talk about. A doctoral thesis can be written out of this Church. You do not even have to go a library, Google itself has lot of information, i.e. HSRC's New Dictionary of South African Biography, Volume 1, to quote but one. There are also works by eminent professors which the other denomination negate.

    We are not fighting! "Ba kgopeletŠwe tshwarelo"! It was asked out of our grandparents that theirs was a spiritual one! They should only pray, pray and pray. With humility they continued doing so. Yes, their prayers have paid off. In the 80's this small denomination could not even fill a football pitch and come 2013 it is not yet big but beautiful in all its respects.

    This whole history about the Z.C.C reminds me of this scripture, Psalm 137: 1- 9 (KJV) which reads as thus:

    1. By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. 2. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. 3. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. 4. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? 5. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. 6. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. 7. Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. 8. O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. 9. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

    Truth be told, we have forgiven them and ours is simply to pray, pray and pray even for God's mercy upon them so that their transgressions against our grandparents will not ever be remember by any human being ..... Our tears have wiped away from our faces and we are continually looking over this bull called Mmalenakane! “ “Remember, the one that its horn pierces through Mount Sego”. Yours Truly Anonymous!

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  47. Neal thank you! You touched on the city of Jacob younger brother of Essau, the City of Joseph the youngest to the children of Jacob! The city of King David the younger one from the sons of Jesse! You went to the Holy Ghost which came down from heaven in a form of a dove!the same spirit came down from heaven onto the Lord in His Baptism

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  48. Thanks again for all the comments... Mind, a beautiful thought, and Ludwick and Caneth... and all the Ann Onymouses! Thank you.

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  49. Generally the truth hurts.....some wished their church should have dominated the space together with their Bishop....
    so bitterness is written all over their comment....
    11.6 million people can not be possible because they do not have enough space ...there`river that goes thru the yard which has eroded to the better part of ZCC star to be exact
    what u see from R71 its all what is there and nothing else..Mr Neil my special request to you
    please survey the land and confirm if it can take atleast 5 million ppl as 11.6 its far fetched...

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  50. If u want to hear the legimate and unaltered truth about the church,u are kindly invited to the ST ENGENAS ZCC on the 31 of May,to all the masses and annointed members of kereke ya Maeba,bana ba papa,history le di tlaiso ka moka diatleng tsa balahlei rea di tseba,however we cannot hold Grudges forever,yes they did every bad thing you can imagine to our grandparents and to then Lordship Bishop Joseph,but remember your church Foundation was laid in 1924 when the Saint of god established the church,are you not surprised when you commemorate him and they don't?and to you are neighbours rena ase rena ba ha Rangwane, Mmalenakana or whatever u may think of calling us re biswa Masaint engenas,bana ba Morena.

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  51. I'm appealing to all the ST.Engenas Zion Christian Church members to refrain from writing to this site. We are humbly requesting you to stop this. Those who want to know about the church's history should go to their domains and they will be highlighted. We are not doing any good to our beautiful church instead we are damaging its image and therefore we should stop this now. Please STOP.

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  52. On behalf of the anonymous above . . . I would like to apologize to Neal Collins for the unpleaseant words anonymous just said. Our beautiful church does not teach us that and I hope you don't put such in your heart. To the ST.Engenas Zion Christian Church members, we are still appealing to you to refrain from writing to this site. We are not doing any good to our beautiful church instead we are damaging its image and therefore we should stop this now. Please STOP.

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  53. Please visit us again in September, keep your ears open for the date.

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  54. It really puzzles me why the members of zcc star are making noise about your article. Over the years we have been seeing their congregation on every newspaper in SA. I have never heard any nasty comments from the ST.Engenas members. What you have written here is the truth the big screens, the loudspeakers one of its kind, never seen anywhere in the world. Because of that jeolousy creeps in people. Lets read the bible and follow the teachings of jesus christ. This church will grow and no one will stand on its way.

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  55. Please Neal do more of this articles. Not only on sunday but the whole of pilgrimage period. Tell us about the kind of music, the choirs. I have seen different ST.Engenas choirs at funerals the sing fabulous music. I have seen the khakhi men on the streets of Thembisa, they are clean,their blacks shoes polished nicely and their caps very clean. Their priests very presentable and clean, their preachings at funerals very good.

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  56. Masione Kgotsong...Kgotsong (ka voice ya Mokgalabe Mothapo) ba tlogeleng le aba tseba rea le kgopela a re emiseng.
    Please beloved Zionist ba kereke e botse lets refrain commenting to this article.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Let us spread the word of Jesus Christ to fight the demons, lets unite together in prayer for our Lord Jesus Christ to be with us in turmoils, darkness and in joyfulness. Jesus loved us before we were conceived, before birth, after birth and He still loves us now, and will also loves forever more.

    We are all sinners and the only one who knows our trespasses is Trinity (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost).

    Neal is a Saint to us or those who doesn't know or have an idea about Jesus Christ. He spoked about Zion Christian Church (Z.C.C) and Saint Engenas Zion Christian Church, as long as the word Christ appear, the devil is shattered, his tail is cut off and his horns are burning. Neal revealed to many the power of the Holy Ghost whom were not aware that Christ is the Living God and that all the power belongs to Him, Him only not the devil.Guys lets thanks Neal for Gospel that will save the world. Thanks again.

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  58. As Jesus loved us, it is our privillege to love each other as Christians. Our tongues must spread unity against the devil. It doesn't help to say that "we love God but forgetting the love for our siblings; parents; grany's; aunt's; uncles and neigbours.

    If Jesus loves me/ you; why worries you? He had no Medicine but was called a Healer, He is A Great Counselor, Almighty God, the Prince of Peace and the government is upon His shoulders; Oh His is so wonderfull; You Are Wonderfull my God and all praises must be directed to you!!!!!!!!!!

    Neal Collins, be on top of the mountain like John the Baptist in the bushes in Israel's Era and proclaim the Gospel of Christ that you did witnessed in South Africa, Country of African Continent. Make the world aware that God is dwelling in South Africa, the Country of Peace and Stability. Kgotso e be le wena. Amen!!!!!!

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  59. Well done Neal. I love the pictures but next time please use the better camera and what you said about the gate is the truth. I am not the member of any of the two but i know this place. I have seen how beautiful the gate of ST.Engenas is, I wonder about the inside. People lets stop criticing one another. If millions of people can go to this churches. It means this people have seen something. I listen to Barnabas on Thobela Fm what i here from him is peace peace peace and i think even ST.Engenas is preaching the same peace peace peace. What are you fighting about people. Please stop. Neal Collins continue with the good work.

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  61. Beautiful story about our Beautiful St.Engenas Zion Christian Church.......ba ba sa kgotsofaleng ka dis piece they wil ba ka se tsoge ba kgotsofetsi......ka gore ba paletswe ke go kgotsofala kgale ge mokgalabe Engenas a tlogelela Morwa gagwe kereke elego Joseph Lekganyane......n next time pls o ska hlakahlakanya two difrnt things Mr Neal....

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  62. Niel, I follow you on Twitter/eNews/Sky sports you're more than a jornalist !I can't wait for your feedback of TP Mazembe games!I can't wait for another book from you as well espcially about what uou exprienced in this country.

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  63. ST Engenas ke morena wa ba rena.di kgoshi di ile tsa busha, bjale go busha kgoshi Engenas Lekganyane ka sebele. Psalm 2 vrs 5-9

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  64. Bathong hle tlogelang go bolela ka kereke. Please.

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  65. my name is vusi chabalala'rasvusi' I'm a member of ST Engenas Zion Christian Church. I don't know what was necessary or unnecessary about this article. I am glad that some little space to talk about this great christian church of ST Engenas exist. I have heard people and seen those who claim to be public relations officers of this church. Seeing how they contradict themselves I thought maybe there is no need for us to try or claim to play such a role for this kind of the church. The Public Relations matters of this church of ST Engenas can't be handled like matters of an earthly corporate structure. Currently our world educational system is inferior and incompetent to produce people who are fit to clarify what this church is all about. The only wise move we can make as earthly people is to open our ears and listen to the Bishop, open our eyes and see Him. Finish Amen

    ReplyDelete
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  67. Mahlane Mapule Pertunia4 June 2013 at 12:15

    It really amaizes me to see hw u ppl fight each other and Neal just to prove a point! 1st of all we busy sayn ths abt ST Engenas nd tht abt ZCC as if this church belongz to your forefathers. Where do you gt the guts to give opinions over something you know nothing but wht uve bin told? The Lekganyane Brothers never comment or talk sick or claim positions but they stay united. But lena as nothing but church members go out of your ways to entertain badichaba as this is exactly what drowns our Pride as a church. If your satisfied with what you know then u dnt nid 2 prove anything to any1, tyk wht you have and live with it. Beng ba kereke never hired lawyers of thr Net to fight any battles for them. You people need deliverance am telling you. Humble yourselves under the name, laws, rules and prophecies of the church and the God of mount Zion will lift u up. If you wanna b a journalist I suggest you go nd get the qualifications nd seek jobs in the newspapers instead. Ur playing With firea, nonmembers only read what they see and give their clear nd clean comments but YOU the ppl who call themselves "church members" fight each other nd for what apparent reason? Let love, peace nd harmony rein over u and you shall prospera. A Modimo wa thaba sione a le bonele mosa masione! Lea swabisa jerrrrrr #disappointed#

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  68. peace to the wold.I am very happy read good thise of my church nd I belive the nation will alwys be hilled.thise is the only church that 's gonna take the world back jesus christ.

    god of st engenas be with u.
    Amen

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  69. Neal*one step at time please don't mix the information we are not 1 thing (star or Dove)just learn to be specific next time,you are confusing those tht don't knw the truth, you are tlkn abt zcc star but you put dove's pictures,use clear camera!Improve ur work and thnks for ur time

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  70. its good to hear that when you neil write about St Engenas people get hurt. IT is true when thy say Tjhaba di hloile sione. ST ENGENAS KE MORENA .DOVE.

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  71. KA KGOPELO MASIONE ARE TLOGELENG GO NGWALA KA KEREKE .KA KGOPELO .ARE I KOKOBE TSENG. GANE EKAE HLOMPHO BA KGAESHU. KGOTSONG KGOTSONG ARE EMISENG GO NGWALA MOO KA KGOPELO

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  72. Bathong hle tlogelang go bolela ka kereke. Ka kgopelo hle!!!

    ReplyDelete
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  74. Masione,are tlogeleng go bolela ka kereke ...Sione is not fake,is the only church that can restore African huminity,as many of us are still fooled by those guys who came to our continet carried a book and a gun,so be careful...this is Africa and you won't change it and we must thank God for bringing ZCC on this earth otherwise the whole world should have filled with crazy people...don't forget to pray for peace on earth of which the so called believers forget to do when they pray.Don't worry much about Neil he is gonna be a MuSione soon

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  75. Niel, may God bless you million times for telling the truth about ZCC. I wasnt there when you experience these but 'm touched and deeply moved! God bless you man!

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  76. Neal keep up the good work, I'm disapointed by people who claim to know and fight over what u have written

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  77. Kgotso a be le lona ka moka and neil god bless you abundantly we hope to see you again in our september pilgrimage

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  78. Thanx Neil for visiting the church of Hisholliness St Engenas. What you saw there is the result of the works and vision of our founding fathers Saint Engenas Lekganyane and his son the anointed and apointed heir The Late Supperintendant Joseph Engenas Mathlakanye Lekganyane. Hence our current leader HisLordship Dr Engenas Joseph Lekganyane is still in line and preserving that vision in the Saint Engenas Zion Christian Church. Let Peace reign in the name of the loving God of Saint Engenas.

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  80. Feel welcomed Neal everytime you visit the Saint Engenas Zion Christian Church. Our founding father Saint Engenas Lekganyane was commisioned by the Heavens to come down on earth to unite and create peace among all mankind. In this church there are no races or tribes, we are one thing Zionist. Saint Engenas Lekganyane reigned as Bishop from 1924 when he founded the church- 31 May 1948. He was succeeded by his son the Late Right Reverend Joseph Engenas Lekganyane who he had appointed himself before his death. Bishop Joseph reigned during the most difficult times of the church from 15 September 1949- 11 November 1972. He main effort was to preserve and safe guid his father's mission in which he had succeeded hence the church of Saint Engenas stands firm till today. Today we have our most loving and humbled Leader HisLordship Dr Engenas Joseph Lekganyane a third generation in the line of our founder. We thank Lord Jesus, the Heavens and God for giving us these three figures. Today the light of Lord Jesus shines in our hearts even when darkness sets in. Let peace reign.

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  81. Nice Article on your this blog is help full information Thanks for post

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    Replies
    1. @Neal thanks you visted the right church St.engenas Zion Christian church it's we're you will get the right history of the church the founder of the church engenas lekganyane he told the elders of the church together With his young brother Paul lekganyane that Joseph must succeed him is the Bishop of the church all the church property has been given to Joseph as the Willy of Engenas Lekganyane says according to his legally representative advocate Roose so we are not going to believe people who are doing business in the name of church no let's pray God if you want to do business do it in the name of business insurance is business

      In my conclusion Engenas lead his grandfather church en the church is also named after the founder the leader is Engenas the church is St.engenas

      Revalation 14v1-5

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  91. go utlwisa botlhoko jang go bona bana ba motho ba lwa. ke a ipotsisa gore a na ke se ba se rutwnang metlha e ge ba ya kerekeng. I dropped tears as a result of all this, le ge re nyaka go ya Sione re ipusetsa morago ka lebaka la matlhapa le dintwa mola kereke ya Sione ele kereke ya KGOTSO. ke utlwa ke swabile. as for dichila gona le bo "rural nd urban". bathong le tswa kae kante pele ga tlhabologo e le e fumaneng gompieno?

    ReplyDelete
  92. فناة mbc2 http://alossra.blogspot.com/2013/01/2-mbc.html
    قناة mbc1 http://alossra.blogspot.com/2013/06/1-mbc1-live.html
    قناة السعودية الرياضية http://alossra.blogspot.com/2013/03/1.html
    قناة الجزيرة +4 http://alossra.blogspot.com/2013/04/4.html

    ReplyDelete
  93. I wish to remain anonymous by virtue of my nature. I came across this article by chance. A friend had asked me to help him with photos of His Grace, Bishop St Engenas and the history of the church. It pained me to read some of the comments posted here. One of the readers kindly asked Neil to return to Moria in September. Well, I dont know if you pitched up Neil but His Grace, Bishop, St Engenas started the Sunday sermon by mentioning that technology should be controlled by people and not the other way round. He mentioned that God has given us the intelligence to make and use such things as technology yet we are abusing them. He did not say it in so many words but clearly the sermon revolved around the pictures that you took and published on this website. He might have agreed to take a picture with you, (you are probably one of the few, if not the only one and maybe the first journalist to be allowed to do so) but I dont think that he gave you his permission to use the photos in any publication. He did mention in his sermon that people use technology and take pictures that they publish without the permission of the people captured. As much as he did not mention your name, it is quite clear that this website and some of the contents have not been well received. If it is the case that yo did not ask for his permission, I hope that you make some time to make your way to Moria and sincerely apologise. (Its the least that you can do). In his own words, the Bishop said, "I DO NOT HATE TECHNOLOGY, I THEREFORE URGE YOU MA SIONE TO USE TECHNOLOGY BUT DO SO KNOWING THAT GOD COMES BEFORE TECHNOLOGY AND NEVER EVER PUT TECHNOLOGY BEFORE HIM" That settles it!

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  94. Halleluya...Thank you anonymous for the information.

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  95. proudSt.Engenas Z.C.C30 September 2013 at 12:39

    thanx Neal for wonderful piece bt like every1 said just focus on 1 church or make different article ka both churches,i dont get y ada ppl are readi to kill each other while calling themselves christians...@anonymous above here great piece

    ReplyDelete
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  98. I have read the article and i must say it's a nice one. it doesn't ridicule anyone but just giving as much as you can regarding what you saw and unlike other journalists, you did not write out of hate or jealousy.

    ReplyDelete
  99. قناة السعودية الرياضية الأولى
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    ReplyDelete
  100. Fellow Christians lets not make a political platform about the two churches what we are supposed to do is to pray there and receive whatever is given to us but in peace and other issues u leave them to your church and Lekganyane families send kgotso masion.

    ReplyDelete
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  104. St Engenas doesnt have a maroon uniform and blue and white uniform it is for the young gals "virgins" there is no mkhukhu meaning the men wear black shoes with their khakhi not white shoes "manyanyatha". This story is mixed matched with ZCC thts y the story is so messed up. facts to be confirmed before published to avoid lies inbetween n confusion abt these churches.

    ReplyDelete
  105. St Engenas doesnt have a maroon uniform and blue and white uniform it is for the young gals "virgins" there is no mkhukhu meaning the men wear black shoes with their khakhi not white shoes "manyanyatha". This story is mixed matched with ZCC thts y the story is so messed up. facts to be confirmed before published to avoid lies inbetween n confusion abt these churches.

    ReplyDelete
  106. St Engenas doesnt have a maroon uniform and blue and white uniform it is for the young gals "virgins" there is no mkhukhu meaning the men wear black shoes with their khakhi not white shoes "manyanyatha". This story is mixed matched with ZCC thts y the story is so messed up. facts to be confirmed before published to avoid lies inbetween n confusion abt these churches.

    ReplyDelete
  107. St Engenas doesnt have a maroon uniform and blue and white uniform it is for the young gals "virgins" there is no mkhukhu meaning the men wear black shoes with their khakhi not white shoes "manyanyatha". This story is mixed matched with ZCC thts y the story is so messed up. facts to be confirmed before published to avoid lies inbetween n confusion abt these churches.

    ReplyDelete
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  109. khari thonifhe kereke ya vhorine ,for us is to pray ,and dnt call our bishop as late bishop ,dats an insult

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