Zuma appeals for the ancestors’ help in Mangaung

‘Church needs fixing, Zuma needs prayer’

They say that when a person is desperate he will resort to anything to extricate himself from a tight spot. It is clear that our president is desperate to win the race for the presidency of the ANC in Mangaung. So desperate in fact that he has had to resort to appealing for the assistance of his ancestors for victory. This is what our president and the rest of the Zuma clan did a few days ago in their homestead in KwaZulu Natal.

They had a ceremony where they slaughtered a cow and petitioned their ancestors to help Zuma win and also protect him from his detractors. Timeslive reports that an elder of the Nxamalala clan, Zuma’s clan, made an impassionate plea to the deceased great grandfathers and grandmothers of Zuma to protect him on his way to Mangaung. It is also reported that Inkosi Bhekumuzi Zuma said to the ancestors, “You are the ones who chose him among us to lead the country and you cannot forsake him in Mangaung,”

I always wonder how the president manages this balance of running a developing country like ours and also staying faithful to the requirements of his culture. Our president is someone who is not ashamed to celebrate his Zulu culture and sometimes flaunts some aspects of it to the chagrin of other South Africans. I mean he has just advised traditional leaders to administer an African form of justice and not allow themselves to be dictated to by white man’s justice. This “white-man’s” justice is actually the constitution he has sworn to uphold.

This is just one of the many contradictions our president is known for. On this issue of ancestral veneration our president has not been contradictory. If anything he has been consistent in espousing the virtues of his culture. We may disagree with some aspects of his culture but we cannot deny him the right to observe them. We may even ridicule his culture but we cannot deny the fact that he and many others are convinced of the efficacy of this culture.

For instance a report appeared on the Herald dated the 09th of November and it stated that the Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini summoned his subjects to a ceremony in one of his palaces to cleanse men of evil spirits that breed violence. The ceremony will be conducted by traditional leaders and healers and will also include something he refers to as “Western prayers.” I assume by western prayers he is referring to prayers to be offered by Christian ministers, a religion that is considered by some to be a white man’s religion.

Can African traditional religious practices be mixed with Christianity? Some people believe it can be. In fact there are many ministers who believe that there is no contradiction in worshipping God and consulting the dead at the same time. If ministers who are supposed to the prophetic voice of God believe in religious pluralism then what can we expect of kings and political leaders? Political leaders are only taking their cue from ministers who encourage their congregants to practice necromancy.

Some of these ministers even claim that God endorses and promotes necromancy. They say that it is His will for people to flirt with familiar spirits. So you see Zuma is not the problem but the problem is a Church that is steeped in idolatry and mixture. Whether or not Zuma wins this Manguang contest remains to be seen but what is clear is that he is prepared to solicit every help he can get. If he has been brought up to believe that ancestors can offer people some help then how can we blame him?

If he is being advised by ministers from reputable denominations that God is in favour of mixing Christianity and African traditional beliefs how can we blame him? It is the Church that needs fixing but the president needs prayer and proper Christian witness.


  1. Well written and balanced.

  2. I am ot convinced that we should end this article implying that it is the church’s fault Zuma may be ‘ill-advised’. He makes his own choices and should be responsible for those. If there are then others who advise him accordingly, then they too will have to take responsibility. Alas, the president of a country is expected to be a person who can make decision for and on his own!

  3. Well Theo I am not just implying that the church is at fault but I am saying that it is indeed. The Church we have today is faulty one and it is also spreading a faulty message to God’s people. Yes the Church may not have invented the idolatrous practice of necromancy but some sections of the Church have strongly affirmed and endorsed it. A president of the country like a king in a Israel of old is surrounded by a counsel of advisers. This counsel includes a prophet and priests 2 Kings 22:4-9). There are a few occasions in the Bible where wicked priests led the nation to false worship and idolatry. It is not the role of the king to lead in worship but priests (1 Samuel 13). Yes President will answer to God for his actions but that does not exonerate the Church that speak lies in the name of God. The prophet Isaiah speaks about “…the prophet who teaches lies…” (9:15)

    • Yes, Afrika, your points are biblical, balanced and to the point – and everyoe will be held responsibile, even the believers who don’t pray but just criticize – God have mercy on us all. He gives us the leader/s we deserve… selah
      How wonderful it would be if we would move God’s heart and hand to intervene like He has in Uganda where President Musoveni was led by God (via the ministry of John Mulinde) to become born again, dedicated the whole nation to God publically a few years ago – and now recently called a national assembly in the stadium in Kampala for national repentance ! Wow !! If Uganda can be led into obedience, so can RSA. Let’s pray without ceasing esp now in the run up to Mangaung !!
      God BLESS !!

      • You are absolutely correct Barbara. Our role is to pray for those who are in authority rather than be critical of them (1 Tim 2:1-3). Political leaders are people and they represent humanity which has forsaken the Lord. Although what they do becomes public but they are really part of the corrosion that is in our world today. Indeed we get the leaders we deserve and we even vote for them too. The leaders we have are the mirror of the society we have. We can’t just call for change if we ourselves won’t change.

  4. A good point! i also agree how can the big God who created heaven and earth be compared to a smaller god with a small g. Does he know that we serve a jealous God who can cause calamities because of disobedience?