(Last Updated on September 9, 2012 by TAPIWA MAGUJI)
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s celebrity preachers Prophets Emmanuel Makandiwa and Uebert Angel have cashed in over $200 000 after staging a men-only convention in Harare.
Tickets to the four-day convention held at the City Sports Centre from August 29 to September 1 were selling for $10 per head.
With over 20 000 men attending the event graced by Makandiwa and Angel’s spiritual father Victor Kusi Boateng, a Ghanaian preacher, the bumper crowd at the “ManWorld” convention reaffirmed the youthful preachers’ enormous popularity.
Pastor Mubatsa, spokesman for the convention declined to say how much the prophets had raked in.
“We have no comment on that,” he said.
But a cursory look at the attendance figures and the cover charge confirms the two youthful preachers raked in no less that $200 000 given that attendance was upwards of 20 000 every day.
The unique convention hall stage was creatively decorated, with a Massey Ferguson tractor on one side and a black Range Rover and sport car on the other side.
Daily, men trooped to the City Sports Centre in droves to listen to the prophets. Others travelled from neighbouring countries.
Makandiwa and Angel spoke about what it means to be a man and the responsibilities of a man.
Pentecostalism has swept through Zimbabwe in recent years, offering the promise not just of entry into heaven in the afterlife but of prosperity and healing in this life.
Churches and prayer are morphing into big business, and it is common for church members to fork out 10percent of their salary in tithes to the church every month.
Makandiwa and Angel’s mega-churches have become like corporations and have their own broadcasting facilities, TV stations and PR machines.
Critics say it is odd that Christian preachers are rich in a religion started by a poor carpenter’s son born in a manger.
The skyrocketing rise of prosperity gospel comes against the background of Zimbabwe’s society where spectacular wealth disparities exist and people seeking to get rich quick at every opportunity. In seeking wealth – the churches and congregation have the same goal, critics say.