Just when we thought that things were finally settled it seems that the battle for the leadership of the Shembe Church is about to begin all over again! Judgement in the case bought by Mduduzi Shembe, the son of Vimbeni Shembe, who passed away in 2011, has just been ruled on in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.
Mduduzi was contesting the leadership of the church, claiming that he was the rightful heir after the passing of his father. On the other hand, Vimbeni’s second cousin, Vela, was said to be in possession of a legally binding document naming him as Vimbeni’s successor. But when Vela passed away at the end of last year due to a stroke, it seemed that things had finally been laid to rest. Phinda, the older brother of Vela, was announced as the new leader by the Shembe Church just before Christmas.
However, it seems that the court case was ongoing, with a decision being handed down by Deputy Judge President, Isaac Madondo, this afternoon. Most news sites are reporting that the KwaZulu-Natal High Court has ruled that the Nazereth Baptist Church should vote for a new church leader, although interestingly, another news site has reported that Vela Shembe has been confirmed as the lawful successor to Vimbeni Shembe, making Phinda Shembe the new leader of the Shembes.
This battle has been going on for so long it seems that even the news stations are confused! Watch this space for further developments – hopefully we’ll have a more definite answer in the not too distant future!
Image courtesy of www.timeslive.co.za