New Leader of Nazareth Baptist Church: Phinda Shembe

A guard of honour consisting of church officials and the family of Vela Shembe pray during the church leader's send off

A guard of honour consisting of church officials and the family of Vela Shembe pray during the church leader’s send off

It seems that after six grueling years the Shembe Church finally has an accepted leader in the form of newly appointed Inkosi Phinda Shembe. The leader of the church has been the subject of great controversy following the death of Vimbeni Shembe in 2011. According to tradition, Vimbeni’s son, Mduduzi, was the rightful heir, but Mduduzi’s second cousin, Vela Shembe, claimed to be in possession of a document naming him as Vimbeni’s successor.

The matter went to court and after five years the High Court named Vele as the rightful heir to the Nazareth Baptist Church. However the matter didn’t end there as Mduduzi was granted leave to appeal, and in October this year judgement was reserved.

But with the passing of Vele at the end of November, it seems that the matter has finally come to rest. Phinda, the older brother of Vele, was announced as the new church leader just before Christmas, and it seems that the congregants have welcomed the outcome.

Image courtesy of mg.co.za

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