Revelation Church of God: A church or a shrine?

A woman in an African Attire, testifying during a church service


By Reinhard Ncube

REVALATION Church of God (RCG) is a controversial church that has attracted multitudes especial from the Ndebele traditionalist sect. The church which has two main branches in  Bulawayo, has not only seen a rampant numerical growth on daily basis but the introduction new controversial practices which leaves many wondering if it is a church or a shrine?

RCG was founded by a South African self-claimed prophet Samuel Radebe , and it commands a huge following in Johannesburg and has grown to Bulawayo with multitudes flocking in, in search of healing and cleansing of every spirits purporting to be the cause of their misfortunes in life.

The church is known for its ritualistic practices that has received condemnation particularly from the Pentecostal sect; some saying that the church is a cult disguised in the name of a church. The church owning a free to air television station,RCG TV, believes in African traditional ways normally practiced by Nangas (Inyanga). Members in RCG believes in the spirits of the deceased (amadlozi) and incantations all in the name of localized gospel. One of the congregants Ntando Sibanda, said the church visits the ocean in Durban, South Africa, to perform rituals and gain power from the sea spirits, in these rituals church member also known as “Amasotsha” they write their names on paper and those papers are burnt to ashes and put into a clay pot which will be thrown into the sea. Bulisile Zikhali, a former congregant said ‘ I stopped attending that church when I saw something like a snake appearing and swallowing the clay pot containing our names during my first visit to the sea’

The church congregants dress in light blue regalia and they carry African traditional spears and knobkerries and holy water or ‘amanzi olwandle’ in blue containers instead of bibles. One of the congregants, a local vendor, from emakhandeni said they use holy water to cook their daily meals and they are given horns and beads “impondo lo buhlalo” to protect their homes and families.