Return to NURELWEB or ACADEMIC ARTICLES or AFRICA PAPERS or SHEMBE

STUDIES OF THE NAZARETH BAPTIST CHURCH IBANDLA LAMANAZARETH
THE STORY OF ISAIAH SHEMBE

TRANSLATED BY HANS-JÜRGEN BECKEN
EDITED BY IRVING HEXHAM AND G.C. OOSTHUIZEN

Copyright Hexham, Oosthuizen, Becken 1995

Published by the Edwin Mellen Press, Box 450, Lewiston, New York, USA, 14092-0450; Tel. 716-754-2266; Fax. 716-754-4056.
You can find the Press' Home Page at: EMP HOME PAGE

SHEMBE'S POWER TO HEAL

81 The healing of a crippled old woman

1.1 When I was still a member of the Roman Catholic Church, we used to look at the dances of the amaNazaretha nearby, and there I also saw the great Shembe. He used to dance with the group of young men and he danced vigorously. He hit the ground with his feet in rhythmic movements. It was so beautiful when he shouted: "Ha, ha, ha!"

1.2 Then I went to work at the Marine Hotel in Durban, but I did not yet join the amaNazaretha. There I worked together with a young man by the name of Enos Mchunu. I was in very good terms with this fellow. He had at home in MaChunuland an old mother, who was a cripple. She was unable to walk, and her feet were stiff.

1.3 On another day, this boy said to me: "Mthembu, would you mind to go with me to the railway station to meet my mother?" I thought: "Hau, does this mean, that this fellow wants his mother to beg for pennies at the streets, like other cripples do? Or perhaps he wants to apply for pension for her." And I criticized him in my heart. Nevertheless, I got ready, and we went to the station. When we came there, I did not see his mother, when the people alighted from the train. There was only a little girl who carried her luggage, pots and a bucket to draw water. His mother was still in the coach. We went there, lifted her up and carried her out. Mchunu did not tell me, where he wanted to go. He went to another platform to the Verulam train.

1.4 Then I asked him: "Shall we go back to work, when we will have put her into the train?" He said: "No, we shall go to Ekuphakameni." Then I remembered, that I had been at Ekuphakameni, when we went there as boys to see Shembe dancing. But, I did not know that people were healed there. The train arrived, we got in, and we alighted at Duffs Road Station. Then we went by taxi to Ekuphakameni.

1.5 We took her out of the car and waited. Then my friend disappeared for some time. He had gone to the watchmen of the village, and he returned together with the headman Mngomezulu and a wheelbarrow. Mngomezulu told us to bring her to the women's quarters at Jamengweni. We lifted her up, placed her on the wheelbarrow, and I transported her on the wheelbarrow along the road down to Jamengweni. This house was still very small, and also the house KwaFotini was still small, and the lord was living in a reed hut. When we had put her there, I said in my spirit: "If this woman will be healed here, then I shall join this church."

1.6 Then we left and returned to our work in Durban. This boy used to visit his mother often. On another day, when he returned from Ekuphakameni, he told me that his mother was already walking. I said: "Hau, Mchunu, can that be true?" He said: "Yes, indeed." In the following week, I accompanied my friend to Ekuphakameni. When we came there, I saw a woman at the door of Jamengweni who had covered her feet with a shawl, and two sticks stood at her side. When we had exchanged our greetings, Mchunu said: "Mother, do you recognize this man, who has come with me?" She said: "Is he not my motor car who carried me here?" We laughed and talked.

1.7 I asked her: "What did they do with you here?" She said: "They did not treat me at all. The women came to wash me, and then they anointed me with oil. Then the preachers came, prayed for me, and washed me with warm water." I asked: "Did you already see Shembe?" She said: "No! I did not yet see him. I only heard the people cheering, when he came. I also wished to go there but how could I walk?" When the time came for us to leave, Mchunu's mother said: "My children, let me see you off." She threw her shawl aside, took her sticks and rose, and then she walked. I remained behind and wanted to see, whether she was walking on her deformed feet; when I looked carefully, I saw, that these were the same feet, which had been deformed. This mother was healed, and they returned together with her to MaChunuland.

1.8 I had made a vow in my heart: If this woman will be healed here, then I shall join this church. My conscience asked me: "This mother has been healed; what do you say now?" This troubled me in my spirit. But, I did not yet join the church by that time. When the great Shembe had left this earth and the second Shembe was in charge, I was still working in the Marine Hotel. Then I dreamed repeatedly of people in white gowns, who reminded me to my vow. Then I chose the lord of Ekuphakameni.

(Josiah Mthembu)