FNB stadium, a squat just outside the sprawling and populous Soweto Township in Johannesburg, South Africa, is Africa’s largest sports Cathedral.
It takes up to about over 100 000 people, its managers say.
However, since its planting, there has been a struggle—ranging from pop stars to sports festivals—of who, or what event, would make history of filling the Cathedral to the brim.
Only two people, both leading ministries of God, can claim such a historical medal.
Nigerian preacher Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s, during the Higher Life Conference held over three days, pulled 138565 attendants, The Sowetan reports.
As somebody who has been in the ministry for over 30 years, you would understand Pastor Chris’ power of appeal.
But what about a Malawian born, but South Africa-based Prophet Shepherd Bushiri who, during the Night of Honey Crossover from December 31 last year to January 1st this year, pulled over 100000 people at FNB Stadium?
Young and charismatic, Prophet Bushiri—mostly known as Major 1—is not even a decade old with his Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) ministries. The ministry spans just about five years—three years in Malawi and two in South Africa.
What, one would ask, is in his ministry that, just in two years in South Africa, it has charm to fill up FNB, in the process, dwarfing the history ofU2’s 360 Tour which pulled 98000, 2015 Carling Black Label soccer event which pulled 94 807 and, oh yes, even the World Cup Final?
There, indeed, must be something in the Prophet Bushiri brand that is not just pulling thousands to fill up vast stadiums.
At ECG headquarters in Pretoria, South Africa, tens of thousands, everySunday, fill up five halls and, thousands others, overflows in an open ground—just to catch a message of prophecy and blessing, while some stays the course just to catch his charming glimpse on larger screens.
This is not to leave out thousands more that fly from outside South Africa to be part of the Prophetic Night every Friday and the Diplomatic Service every Monday.
Everywhere he goes, there are tens of thousands impatiently waiting to catch his glimpse.
Early February, he returned to India—[he has about 1 455 615 following there]—with another rapturous crowd just as last year.
In New York, US, recently, the New York Police Department (NYPD) had to deploy officers to contain thousands that bayed to catch a blessing and a message from Major 1.
The frenzy is not even different when he visits Botswana, Tanzania, South Sudan, Ghana and, most importantly, Malawi, his home country. His recent visit to Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial city, to speak at a youth business symposium was phenomenon.
The 1 500 seater hall was full by 9:30am; the two 700 seater tents erected outside could not even help. Against raging rains, thousands braved the pour—just like it was in US, to hear his voice, see his face and catch a blessing.
I met lady, in her late 30s, carrying a five-year-old child. She told me the child had been sick for years. When I told her Prophet Bushiri came for entrepreneurship talk, not prayers, she didn’t flinch. Rather, she told me she had come just to touch the vehicle the prophet was being driven in and that, she challenged, could be her child’s healing.
Admittedly, the name Prophet Bushiri has steadily turned into a global spiritual brand symbolising the source of human hope and answers to millions in a world torn by wars, poverty, infidelity and immorality.
He has become the father figure with a strong voice that fills the void of human emptiness with enriching messages that strengthens the weak, cheers up the sick and lifts up those falling.
In fact, even his success beyond the pulpit—symbolised in his entrepreneurial genius of, in few years, developing, growing and sustaining the conglomerate that is Shepherd Bushiri Investments (SBI) conglomerate—is just an addition to his story of greatness.
With three private jets to his credit, a swarm of stately Bentleys and a bevy of latest German sedans spread all over, the visible financial success of Prophet Bushiri has not just been confined to himself.
He continue, as philanthropist, been unwavering in giving so much to millions in need. Not only that. The Prophet is hardly mean in sharing secrets of unlocking wealth. He teaches on the subject every Monday night and he also supports many with start offs. He is not afraid to share himself with his admirers.
However, despite his unprecedented spiritual and business glory, the mention of his name anywhere often renders public opinion right in the middle. Despite being a unifying figure among his followers, in the general public, Prophet Bushiri is a figure who divides opinion and, often, stirs strong feelings.
There are some who believe he cannot be trusted. These have connived day in and day, using legal and illegal means, justified and unjustified anger just to spew their venom on him.
In his home country, the government in power has been steadfast in setting the wrong agenda of potraying Prophet Bushiri as a showy young man with burning ambition to launch a political party and dislodge them from office. Driven by that fear, government has used every piece of State machinery to create a devil out of him, frustrate his association with Malawians and, strangely, block his every influence to help resuscitate falling State companies.
What has been interesting, too, has been how Prophet Bushiri’s slew on social media attracts traffic to digital platforms. I would not be surprised if some, in search for traffic to their digital platforms, deliberately attracts Major for he is an online flame that attracts moths.
I know websites in Malawi, mostly State-sponsored—whose traffic is only evident when they have a Prophet Shepherd Bushiri in it.
Perhaps that explains why Major 1, amidst waves of spews and attacks, has always maintained his composure. He is calm and collected under pressure, smiles often and he believes in fighting forces of wrong by firing bullets of good.
Even those that saw him in primary and secondary school days attest to his enormous levels of calmness—a human being so rare to anger for he has the golden smile that appears to steal a heart thousand kilometres away.
That is Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, the Major 1, a man of God who has become a global answer to so many questions at the heart of humans.
Even to the doubters, for they will always be there fighting what they cannot conquer, Prophet Bushiri is a figure too enigmatic to them. The fight they wage on him is their burden to understand him.
Do you want to understand Major 1? Here is the clue: From the times of Biblical Moses, God used to choose some people among many. That God is not dead. He is still alive and he is still choosing some among us—the living. Prophet Bushiri is a chosen Man of God. When you fight him, you fight God.
That is why his ministry, ordained by God who does not fail, continues to grow—and that is why, in two years, he has already made history at FNB Stadium.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :