The jury is still out on enfant terrible preacher, the controversial prophet Shepherd Bushiri.
Mention his name anywhere and you are likely to rend public opinion right in the middle. While some believe he cannot be trusted, the millions who follow him believe he’s as impressive as the second coming.
We set off for Waterfall estate in Midrand, north of Jo’burg to meet prophet Bushiri alias “Major 1” who is arguably the most-talked-about man of the cloth at the moment.
He pulls up in a stately Bentley, with a pair of high-end German sedans tagging alongside.
“There’s always a motorcade,” someone from his team had told us. “Prophet never travels alone.”
Making his way to the terrace, Shepherd Bushiri of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri Ministries looks a tad emaciated than the man we are used to seeing on television. He greets us like one of those corporate types who believe that a moderately firm handshake is inviolable.
We meet at his house in an estate off the R55 in Midrand, Johannesburg. It’s very large and grand with trappings of state-of-the-art design and d├ęcor.
A press search reveals that he has a fleet of luxury cars and private jets, in addition to his mansion. What’s more, he’s a billionaire and basically a man who’s made good in life. We go for the kill and ask him how he made his money.
“I’m not just a prophet,” he begins. “I’m also a human being who is a responsible person, married with kids. I am very business-minded.
“For example, the Bentley you saw earlier – I managed to buy it before I came to stay in South Africa. I bought houses in South Africa way before I opened the church less than two years ago in Pretoria.
“In short, I am a businessman. My wife, Mary, is a chartered accountant. She used to work for a big institution as a director of finance. I made her resign because of the business we do.
“I started out in business doing farming on a small scale,” he says. “It grew into a big scale operation, and from the profits we bought a small piece of land that had minerals. As it panned out, we sold that piece of land, but before we sold it, we did evaluation on the deposits there and they were worth quite a lot of money. We sold that land and, from the money we got, we’ve been investing in mining.”
Read the rest of the interview in the 13 October issue of DRUM.