Prophesying, giving sermon and blessing – the divine trade. Ministry is commonly accepted as the highest calling among the faithful, and has proved to be very lucrative for the practitioners – examples abound: the likes of Kenneth Copeland; Creflo Dollar; Joyce Meyer; T. B Joshua; Chris Oyakhilome; Eubert Angel; and our very own Prophet Shepherd Bushiri (PSB) aka Major 1 – the Papa.
These men and women of God inspire millions – and resultantly make millions of dollars (US$). Few people can deny that PSB is man of the hour, making headlines both locally and on the international scene. Not a day goes by without seeing his name in the dailies, on social media, on television or hearing someone mentioning his name in a minibus or a pub.
His name is literally anywhere and everywhere.
From the outset, it should be made clear that the gravamen of this piece is not whether PSB has a direct line to the Almighty; or his prowess in healing those with various ailments of the body, mind and soul; or his powers of exorcising demons; his type of preaching; or indeed the miracles – so please put away your pitchforks. The central focus here is PSB’s business sense and entrepreneurship skills.
No one can convincingly argue to me that PSB (and the other men and women of God) got filthy (jaw-droppingly) rich by accident or simply because the Almighty blessed them in some special way. Nope. Nada. The real world does not work that way – it is a dog eat dog world – survival of the fittest. It takes more than fasting, malilime and kukwera phiri for things to go one’s way.
PSB came from very humble beginnings. Born and rasied in Malawi, he founded his ministry, The Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG), and eventually Shepherd Bushiri Investments (SBI) which recently unveiled a group of great 12 (G12) experts to manage the business.
Three of the G12 are Malawians – Ben Wandawanda, Mike Chilewe Junior and Leonard Munthali. Wandawanda is a successful banker working as an expatriate for Standard Bank in Kenya, Chilewe Jr. is an entrepreneur who recently got featured on the Forbes list of top 30 African entrepreneurs under the age of 30 (2017) and Munthali is a successful consultant who has held senior positions in MTN, IBM and Airtel.
All above is but alone very quite telling of the direction SBI is headed – greatness.
So why exactly do I (read: Malawians) hate PSB? It is simple – human nature. From a very young age humans want what others have – kids will throw away their toys and cry for what another kid has – especially where the other kid has a better toy.
The difference with adult life is that there is no umpire or mediator to intervene to ‘make things fair’ or force those that have others to share with others.
Inevitably, it becomes very frustrating when one is scraping by just to make ends meet and the PSBs of this world keep flashing and flaunting wealth.
This happens even where the means how such wealthy persons became rich are not common knowledge – whether through inheritance, or good old hustle, but the tendency is to begin ascribing negative and derogatory attributes (nanji nanji ife a Malawi): Satanism, cashgate, illuminati (lol), theft, etc.
People idolize the rich and want their lifestyle (as portrayed in the media), BUT they just do not want it to be anyone they know. That makes it too real – too close for comfort.
They are happy to gawk at celebrity homes, big yachts, private jets and designer clothes. Rich and famous is quite okay; but rich, famous and living a few miles away, in the same city?
The idea that they may have grown up in the same neighborhood, attended the same school and they built their wealth “brick by brick” (no matter how) like PSB did is just too much to bear. They must have gotten lucky, or stole it. “All business operators exploit other people”.
The idea that others with the same opportunities worked hard and were more successful highlights their own failures. This is precisely why PSB is welcomed and respected in South Africa (and the rest of the world) as opposed to the sentiments in his home country.
People constantly compare their life to their peers. Everyone thinks they are above average and wants to be to the right of the curve. When they discover that they are not, the blame game begins.
People dissect all sorts of ‘advantages’ they had, and rationalize that they would have been successful with the same circumstances. “Bushiri amabera nkhosa zake” Oh please, let us see you start a ministry and become a billionaire.
This is what Robert Kiyosaki calls the ‘Chicken Littles’ of life, in his book Rich Dad Poor Dad. Essentially, we have people that educate themselves, go out and find awesome deals, and we have the ‘Chicken Littles’, who say the sky is falling. They criticize, doubt and ultimately envy those who get good deals and prosper in life.
Instead of encouraging PSB to invest in Malawi we are busy castigating him and throwing stones at him. Apparently even some top government officials hate this young man to the core that they shoot down any proposal that has a connection to him. But it is not him that is losing, it is Malawi.
The rich and successful do not only enjoy the fruits of their success themselves, but more often than not, their successes are handed down to the masses. Companies and jobs are created and the government collects tax and the citizenry finds employment.
They also can fund many innovations and projects that can benefit a lot of people. They are amazing entrepreneurs and philanthropists that give so much back to society, by way of charity and other endeavors.
We cannot even begin to talk about how much PSB has given to Malawians. No reason to hate PSB and if you do, I believe it comes down to nothing but one little word, pure and simple: Nsanje!