Pastors of a church that beats congregants in a bid to rid them of evil spirits, have spoken out. The men and women roll around on the ground while the leaders beat them with sticks and fists. But, according to the pastors, it is not the people who are feeling the pain.
“We do not beat the flesh but the demon,” said Pastor Mlungwana Dlamini of the Holy Christ Church of Zion in Mofolo, Soweto, South Africa. This follows after two videos showing members of the Zion congregation being beaten with sticks emerged on social media.
One of the videos shows two men, wearing blue, holding big sticks and beating a man who is lying on the ground. A woman is dragged in and she too is beaten.
The other video shows church members singing in a church room. One man drags another and starts beating him up, with others joining in.
But Pastor Dlamini said this was normal in Zion churches. “This is how we cast out demons,” he said. He said the Zion church was one of the oldest churches in South Africa.
“People come to church with diseases but they leave cured. It’s because we can see the demons and beat them out. “Many of the people who beat others are prophets. They don’t decide to beat somebody because of a grudge. They beat you up to help you. That’s why no one is injured.”
Another pastor from the Holy Ethiopian Catholic Church of Zion, Pastor Shakaza Ngcobo, said: “There’s no crime in beating one another in Zion churches. “People come for that because they know once they are beaten they will feel refreshed.”
Mbalizethu Mkhize (28) from Mzimhlohe Hostel in Soweto said that she was sick and sure she was dying when a friend invited her to the church. “The prophets spoke in tongues. They dragged me into the circle and started beating me. “By the time I left the church I’d never felt better. I’m grateful for the beating.”