Iconic musician ‘Soldier’ Lucius Banda says it is time Malawians started appreciating local initiatives instead of fighting them.
Lucius, who is currently on a private visit to South Africa, said he stopped by to fellowship with Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) in Pretoria, South Africa on Monday night and was impressed with the respect accorded to the Malawian prophet.
He says attending the ECG service taught him valuable lessons about Malawians.
“We live in our world as Malawians and that has not helped us. After fellowship, I realised we have been somehow unfair to Bushiri by viewing him with a negative eye instead of being rational. It is worth noting that thousands of people are converging at one place because of a son Malawi. I admire him for that.
“Just like the Bible says that ‘out of the eater comes something sweet’ I was touched by the gesture of giving out food to the poor during that hunger in January and February. Through the criticism he has been going through, I took interest in seeing his side of the story,” he affirmed.
Asked to expound Bushiri’s side of story, Lucius said: “He is successful, in terms of congregation and as a businessman. But success brings about haters. As someone who has been criticised, at times unfairly, and faced the wrath of people over rumours, I tend to be sympathetic towards people who are treated harshly, especially when it’s based on unfounded rumours.”
Yet, despite attending the ECG church on two occasions, Lucius denied reports that he has joined the congregation.
Weeks after he started attending services at ECG headquarters, rumours have been rife that the award-winning musician has joined the church, one of the fastest rising in Southern Africa.
But Lucius explained: “I have not joined the ECG. I like the Monday fellowship; they call it a diplomatic service. I like the teachings and the ideas shared to the gathering.The beauty about it is that it happens on a day that I, as a Catholic normally don’t go to church. Otherwise I can’t say more than that. Issues of faith are supposed to be private.
“Actually, I came here for personal reasons. And I just thought of going there to fellowship. I have attended two Monday services where about 10 000 people gather for prayers. It was during that first time that I took a picture with BJ [veteran politician Brown Mpinganjira] and Ralph Kasambara. But I must say that when I went to ECG, I felt proud as a Malawian to note that it was a son of our soil who makes thousands of people around the world come together and pray,” he said.
According to the artist, during Sunday services, people line up just to enter the church.
“The queues are long, with 45 000 plus people attending services, according to the information I have gathered. How I wish it was happening in my country,” he explained.