The Sunday News
Sunday Life Reporter
THABISO Ngwenya remembers the first time that he ever prayed for anyone.
It was all the way back in 1985, when he was just another schoolboy on a daily errand.
Back then, his concerns were not spiritual, as he was mostly bothered, as a herdboy, by the fate and the behaviour of the cattle under his stewardship.
It was a time before he was a “Man of God”, a time before many looked up to him as their source of deliverance, as the vessel through which God would deliver healing and good news to them.
On that fateful afternoon, dreams of “bombing”, of helping celebrities in need of husbands, of helping sports personalities in need of game time were still far away for the mind of a young Thabiso. On that day, he just saw a woman, her heart wounded and her spirit crushed, and he decided to help.
“At one time back in 1985 when I was herding cattle, I saw a crying woman who had just been chased away by her husband,” Prophet Ngwenya told Sunday Life.
“I was young but I could already tell that this was a heartbreaking scene. The woman was just sitting there, crying as she was breastfeeding a child. In their company were to two other children that also belonged to her. Right at that moment, I just heard a voice that told me to pray for this sad woman.”
On that day, Prophet Ngwenya discovered that, by uttering a few words in prayer, he could heal and his touch could be felt in the hearts and lives of people who were down and out.
“I prayed for her and after about an hour or so, the husband that had sent her away came cycling looking for her. He had had a change of heart. So, he cycled all the way there to stop her from boarding a bus which arrived almost at the same time as he did on his bicycle. On that day passengers watched a movie as the man tried to stop his wife from leaving. She had already signaled that she wanted to board the bus and so it had stopped for her. I’m happy to say that the couple is still together to this day,” he said.
On that bright sunny afternoon, Ngwenya had just delivered his first act of public healing, and he had done so in secret.
“I hid in a nearby bush and I think this was mostly because I did not have the courage to speak or take ownership of what I had just done, I did not dare tell people what had transpired earlier. That was my first breakthrough in prayer,” he said.
While for Ngwenya, that was the first time he came to terms with the gift that he had, for those that had seen him in his earlier days, it was evident that prophecy was his calling. The famed prophet spoke about how, when his time to give testimony in church came, people would stop and only give thanks as acknowledgement.
“I found that I had the gift of healing and prophesy all the way back in 1985 when I was still a pupil at Mbuma Primary School in Nkayi.
That was when I began to understand the gift that had been given to me by the lord. My journey began there.
“This is something that I always had as a child in this is specifically true in terms of dreams that actually came true. At my former church, people who saw visions came first before prophets. So, whenever I was in church, and I would rise up to tell the congregants my visions, people would just start chanting “Amen” from the blue,” he said.
These days people from far and wide flock to Ngwenya. He is the shepherd that is known to deliver miracles, the prayer warrior that gives fertility to the wombs of long suffering childless women, the healer known to bring brisk business to business owners that have seen their fortunes plummet and their tills dry up.
But this was not always the case. Like most seers, he only started with a few believers when he embarked on a journey to attain higher levels of spirituality.
“When I started out, I did not have a lot of congregants. All the people that follow me, they came later when my name had spread and I had established a reputation as a prophet. But before all that, I had only six congregants in comparison to all the hundreds that you might see now,” he said.
Many modern-day prophets speak of their spiritual fathers with pride, wearing the names of their mentors like a badge of honour and name dropping it wherever they can. Ngwenya goes against this tradition, however, and he has never spoken of anyone that had a hand in mentoring him or gave him a push in his spiritual journey.
“Other prophets always speak of spiritual fathers but I have no such figure in my life in ministry. If you were to ask me, I would tell you that Jesus Christ is the only person I call my spiritual father,” he said.
While he might not have a spiritual father, Ngwenya has never been given young prophets seeking his guidance the cold shoulder.
“Many young prophets do come to me for guidance and mentorship. It’s always good to pass on knowledge to those that are coming up. Some of them have gone on to establish their own churches,” he said.
Having made his name as the prophet who can make dreams and wishes come true at the splash of a bottle, Ngwenya’s methods have very often come under the microscope from more conventional Christians who do not believe that he follows the bible in its truest sense. Despite this, he still argues that he is faithful to the father, the son and the Holy Spirit.
“I’m aware that some people have questioned my methods. Some have said it’s not Christian or whatever. To those people that have made attacking me their favourite sport, I say I love you and I’m waiting to help you. Jesus says prays for your enemies and that’s what I will always do,” he said.
Despite his own declaration of confidence, Ngwenya acknowledges that he has at times been affected by the comments made about him by leaders of other congregations.
“I guess for me the toughest challenge or I should the toughest periods of my life as a prophet is when I have faced criticism from other sects or churches. In most cases they would be accusing me of stealing their church members and therefore downsizing their churches. In most instances, this won’t be the case.
“Word spreads and people just want to join. Despite all the criticism and whatever people might say about me, I have never doubted myself. I have always believed in the gift that I possess,” he said.
After over two decades as one of the city’s most respected and followed prophets, Ngwenya says his journey as a healer and preacher is still ongoing. The bombing prophet still has a lot of explosive tricks in his bag.
“I haven’t done anything for me to last so long in this field while others fall by the wayside. Perhaps, if I were to say there is a secret to my longevity, I would say the ingredient that I have that others lack is patience. I have a lot of patience. I also believe in the principle that one should “never look back”. Those are the two things that have kept me ahead,” he said.