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Musician Zamani Tshikalange said that he had only had the best of intentions when travelling to Masisi to attend the youth conference. Photo supplied.

Musician disappointed after being ordered to leave church

 

A very popular gospel musician from Vhembe believes he did not experience warm, godly love when he made an impromptu appearance at the youth conference of the United African Apostolic Church (UAAC) on Sunday. He reckons he was shown the door in what he describes as religious jealousy by archbishop David Mureri.

Musician Zamani Tshikalange told Limpopo Mirror this week that he had only had the best of intentions when travelling to Masisi to attend the youth conference. Tshikalange made a name for himself as gospel singer in 2005 when his first album, “Murena Ndi Nho Humbela Uvhona,” was released.

But Tshikalange is also well aware of the tension within the UAAC, a church that had had more than a million followers at one stage. This discord became more evident after the death of bishop Elias Miriri, and around 2019, the church split in two. The war between the two factions at stages became very ugly and even made its way to the courts, where it seemingly is still to be decided. One of the factions is under leadership of archbishop David Mureri.

Tshikalange said that before the split in the church, he and a couple of friends had founded a men's choir that had become a centre of attraction during the church's functions. Even after the split, these friends who were no longer attending the same church used to visit and support each other. When he was informed about the youth conference, he decided to drive from his home in Muhuyu to Masisi, a distance of more than 70 kilometres.

“I had just arrived when ecstatic friends urged me to take to the stage to perform. I performed one of my favourite songs, much to the amusement of the church congregants, who all rose up in jubilation. They asked me to do another of the church’s popular songs and that was when the church went wild. Friends hoisted me shoulder high in jubilation, but this did not seem to go down well with the church leader, Archbishop David Mureri,” he said.

Tshikalange said that the archbishop showed his displeasure about his presence in the church but proceeded to distribute pens to the youth. “I was not even interested in the pens, but my friends urged me to go and receive one. When it was my turn, the bishop told me to my face that he disliked the green robe I was wearing. He told me to take it off, but I refused and that was when he ordered me to leave his church. I was given the robe by my late father, who was also a great prophet and man of God. I saw nothing wrong with wearing it,” Tshikalange said.

A video clip of the altercation between him and the archbishop was put on social media platforms and went viral over the past few days.

In another video, a man who identified himself as Ramafhungo Nedzamba, who claims to be a Tembisa-branch-card-carrying member of the church, launched a scathing attack on Tshikalange, accusing him of being an agent provocateur sent by leaders of the other sect to destabilise David Mureri’s sect.

“I am so disappointed in the archbishop. I respect him wholeheartedly as a church leader, but what he did to me is appalling. I felt so humiliated. Just imagine me being ordered out of the church in that fashion. For the record, I am not involved in their petty leadership squabbles. I remain a full member of the UAAC and I visit friends irrespective of who the leader is,” he said.

Tshikalange reckons that for the archbishop to rebuke him had been unnecessary. “I did not have any ulterior motive but went there to support my brethren and was not sent by any person. As a leader, he should practice patience and find a way of dealing with members. All that happened will not distract me from my project of preaching the word of God and uniting the youth of the church,” he said.

Detailed questions were sent to the spokesperson for Archbishop David Mureri, Mr Naledi Tsedu. He responded on Wednesday morning, saying that while no evidence existed of any individual being asked to leave the church premises, a member had been requested to take a seat during the conference. “The UAAC Third Generation remains committed to fostering a respectful and inclusive environment for all attendees,” he said.

Tsedu said that the alleged altercation had had nothing to do with the uniform that the musician had been wearing.

 

 

Date:05 July 2024

By: Elmon Tshikhudo

Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and was a permanent part of the news team until 2019. He currently writes on a freelance basis, covering human rights issues, court news and entertainment.

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