By Spooky | 26 March 2018
Africa is full of so-called prophets who have found fame and fortune by performing miracles in the name of God, but few are as popular and as wealthy as Shepherd Bushiri, a 30-something superstar from Malawi. But then again, few pastors can pull off the kinds of miracles that Bushiri is famous for – walking on air, curing virtually any disease or disability and even communicating with angels.
Known as “Major One”, Shepherd Bushiri has come a long way since his humble beginnings, growing up in Mzuzu, a city in northern Malawi. He is now regarded as one of the hottest Christian evangelical preachers in the world, sells out entire stadiums wherever he goes and isn’t ashamed to capitalize on his fame. In fact, he claims that being successful and rich is actually an inspiration to his followers, a sign that if God can make it happen for him, He can definitely do it for them as well.
“My prosperity is an inspiration for my followers – they think if God can do it for me, He can do it for them. If they believed there is anything wrong, they wouldn’t be following me,” Bushiri recently told the BBC. “How is selling merchandise in my church different to the Catholic church selling a rosary and the UK churches selling the bible? It’s not fair.”
But while some of his hundreds of thousands of followers may feel inspired by the preacher’s business acumen, most of them are simply mesmerised by his ability to channel God’s power to perform “miracles”. In recent years, Shepherd Bushiri has become increasingly famous, and at the same time controversial, for putting on some pretty wild performances.
In 2015, he put out a video that he claims shows him walking on air. In it, he can be seen coming down a flight of stair, and just as he prepares to descend the last step, the camera focuses in on his feet, which are shown dangling in the air for a couple of seconds. Are some cables holding his body up? Well, there’s no way to tell, but he says it’s all God’s power, and a lot of people are buying it.
A while back, he cured some people of HIV just by praying for them at his headquarters, in Pretoria, South Africa. He claims they were tested after the ceremony and the results came back negative.
“One time I got doctors here in Pretoria to bring patients with HIV – they tested them before to show they are HIV, I prayed for them and again afterwards and now they were HIV-negative,” Bushiri told the BBC.
But that’s just one of the many diseases the preacher has miraculously healed over the years. He is also known to have cured people of cancer, made blind men see, and even cured various disabilities.
Another video of the Major One summoning angels during one of his sermons and causing his congregation to go into a frenzy went viral three years ago, enhancing his reputation as a miracle-man.
But the miracle that always gets people excited is Bushiri’s signature “miracle money”. After all, who doesn’t like finding cash in their pocket or purse that wasn’t there before. The young preacher will select followers from the audience during sermons, ask them how much money they have on them and then asks them to believe in the power of God. He prays for miracle money, and when the lucky person checks their pocket, he finds hundreds of dollars that allegedly weren’t there before.
Unfortunately, miracle money has gotten Shepherd Bushiri’s church, Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG), in trouble with authorities. In Botswana, his churches were all shut down because they wouldn’t stop performing miracle money miracles, despite repeated warnings.
You’re probably thinking that Shepherd Bushiri is no different that the dozens of so-called miracle-men Africa has become famous for. It’s true that his exploits are similar to some of those we’ve feature on Oddity Central in the past, like that pastor who sprayed followers’ faces with insect repellent to heal them, or the one who had his congregation drink motor oil for the same purpose. Oh, and let’s not forget the Zimbabwean pastor who claimed to have God’s direct phone number.
But Bushiri is different. While the vast majority of these miracle-performing pastors are virtually unknown outside of the African continent, Shepherd Bushiri is an international superstar. In fact, if you want to witness his God-given powers first-hand, you can attend next month’s ‘Enlightened Christian Gathering’ in Inglewood, California, but it’ll cost you. Apparently, entrance fees go up all the way to $505 per person. You may say that’s too much, but where else are you going to see angels summoned from heaven, or money materializing in your pocket?
High entrance fees are nowadays characteristic of events featuring Shepherd Bushiri. In December, he came under fire for charging 25,000 South African rands ($2,150) for a seat at his table, at a gala dinner.
Although his fortune has not been made public, The Sun reports Bushiri is worth around $150 million. That may be an exaggeration, but he definitely had enough money to buy his six-year-old daughter a Maserati Levante for her birthday. Typical man of God behaviour, am I right?
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