Founder and leader of the Christian non-denominational evangelical church the Enlightened Christian Gathering, Bushiri was recently arrested along with his wife for charges of fraud and money laundering.
The couple appeared in court on Monday and host Eusebius McKaiser says he is flabbergasted by some of the placards and posters that the supporters of the man dubbed a prophet and 'Major 1' were waving outside court, as well as their 'wailing'.
I am a little bit conflicted, there is a part of me that wants to laugh at the supporters, and then there is a part of me that says don't laugh Eusebius it is very serious and why don't you write a think piece about how poverty is responsible for people being susceptible to prosperity gospel.— Eusebius McKaiser, presenter
Is it true that it is only working class or poor people that go to these churches? Might it also not be true that you find degreed professionals and wealthy guys that go there?— Eusebius McKaiser, presenter
So for those who are trying to be bleeding hard liberals, be careful of being condescending to the supporters. The idea that every single supporter must be a dumb shmuck and a vulnerable poor person, you, in fact, might be the one anthropologising way too quickly. You might actually find that the followers are far more diverse than you recognise.— Eusebius McKaiser, presenter
And the explanation for the madness has nothing to do with poverty, it might lie elsewhere.— Eusebius McKaiser, presenter
But then, Eusebius questions whether it is ok to call people out when they are being stupid and imprudent?
Are we going to be politically correct about every issue in the world that you are not allowed to say come on, this is just absolutely embarrassing when a whole adult older than the man (Bushiri) saying please let my father go?— Eusebius McKaiser, presenter
How important is it not to treat people with kid gloves just because they have been seduced by 'a prophet'. And yet there is a part of me that thinks maybe I need to walk a mile in these people shoes to understand why it is that they find themselves doing things that are embarrassing in public against their better judgement.— Eusebius McKaiser, presenter
Jarrod a caller, says people like Paul and Silas were arrested for preaching and Bushiri was arrested for fraud.
I feel sorry for his followers more than anything, maybe they find peace but I don't buy it, I don't believe that is what Christianity is about.— Jarrod, caller
Simphiwe, another caller says the people that were screaming for Bushiri outside court are not South African.
They don't look South African and I am willing to debate that. The reality is that those id's we gave away in 1994, will come back to haunt us one day.— Simphiwe, caller
Eusebius questioned how he could know whether someone was South African or not...
Sareshni also called in and says these prosperity churches are cults rather than just normal churches.
I don't think it is a race thing because even in America there was Wacko Texas. I know someone who joined the Bushiri cult, I saw changes in this person from joining this cult. People are looking for meaning and belonging and cults give them that.— Sarashni, caller
Tshepiso also joined the conversation and says he has a twin who attends the church.
From what I see, there is a certain profile of people who attend the church.He always goes for people who are desperate, they go to the church and are promised all these things by this very charismatic character. They go through a process of indoctrination that I have seen.— Tshepiso, caller
With my twin is very critical but once she joined the church, she has resorted to calling the gentleman papa. She believes so much on this person that even if I post something negative, she will call me crying and ask me how could I.— Tshepiso, caller
Lebo also called in and says when her father died, her mother took all the money to the church.
When my mother joined the church, all the money went to the church, we had two properties, all the money went there. She took early retirement and took all the money to the Bushiri church. I can't remember the last shared a festive season together as a family because New Year's Eve, she must be at the church.— Lebo, caller
While the conversation was happening on air, people were also sharing their thoughts on Twitter.
Hearing the story that Lebo is sharing with @Eusebius is heartbreaking. I just wonder how people take their livelihood and donate it to a church. How do they then live? Do they get all that back again in blessings on some sorts? Akunzima!— Nkosi (@nkosi___) February 5, 2019
@Eusebius I agree with the lady. These are cults for people who are emotionally weak looking for hope and sense of belonging. Attracts rich, poor, educated, uneducated, locals, foreigners. Guy who said Bushiri followers are mostly foreigners is smoking his socks— Nhlinhlo (@MNhlanhla55) February 5, 2019
Guy is confused. says Bushiri followers don't look South African then says these South Africans have a problem with the way they consume religion— emmanuel nyati (@nyatiemmanuel) February 5, 2019
Watch below to hear what Eusebius had to say about Bushiri:
Listen below to the full open line:
This article first appeared on 702 : Callers tell of 'cult-like brainwashing' of family by Bushiri's church