HARARE - Iconic liberation struggle hero Nelson Mandela last week had a blissful meeting with Zimbabwean youthful preachers, Uebert Angel and Emmanuel Makandiwa.
Mandela, turning 94 in three week’s time, rarely entertains visitors these days because of old age and ill-health. But he invited Angel and Makandiwa for a meeting last Friday at his Qunu rural home, where he now spends most of his time.
It was not possible to get a comment from Makandiwa or his spokespersons. Spokesperson for Angel, Michael Mubatsa, confirmed the meeting.
“Yes, I confirm the two prophets met Madiba just like they have met different Heads of State and world leaders. But I do not know why they were invited in this particular case. I am sorry I also do not have details of their discussions,” he said.
“Obviously, whatever the reasons for the visit, as prophets they prayed with him for the greater good, not only for Zimbabwe but the entire world,” said Mubatsa.
Sources said the invitation could have come through Angel and Makandiwa’s wives, Beverly and Ruth. The two are close friends of the Mandela family, sources say.
Angel and Makandiwa lead a crop of young, glitzy prophets who are commanding large crowds at the expense of conventional churches, which are undergoing splits and fighting cases of child abuse.
Makandiwa, who founded United Family International Church (UFIC) in 2008 has on two occasions filled the giant National Sports Stadium which has a capacity of 60 000 and is a favourite of politicians from across the divide who are trying to eat into his popularity.
Angel, who also commands a huge following, came back to Zimbabwe from the United Kingdom in 2011 and is founder of Spirit Embassy, which has branches in several parts of the world.
His influence in countries such as South Africa is helped by his free-to-air television station called Miracle TV, which broadcasts across the continent and abroad.
Angel and Makandiwa often say in their sermons they share the same “spiritual father”, Ghanaian “miracle worker” Kusi Victor Boateng.
The close friends have performed their own “miracles” at their churches, drawing the awe of a nation desperate for answers to a decade-plus of economic and political turmoil.
But they have their own critics.
Some accuse them of being showy and stuntmen out to milk riches through their supernatural powers.
However, their followers have often reacted harshly to such criticism, accusing critics of “giving glory to the devil” by undermining “prophets of God”.