His Majesty has directed that we make this important announcement on behalf of the Royal Household and the people of KwaZulu-Natal.

On the 18th and 19th November 2017, thousands of worshippers from eBuhleni Nazareth Babtist Church will attend the 5th Sabbath and Umgidi Royal Ceremony. The two events will take place at eNyokeni Royal Palace starting at 10h00 on both days. This is a build-up prayer to the well-known First Fruit (Umkhosi Woselwa) which commences on the 29th November 2017 at eNyokeni.

The Nazareth Baptist Church is the oldest African Church which was founded by Prophet Isaiah Shembe in 1910. History tells us that the Prophet was sent one day to the Zulu Royal Family to give prayer and holy guidance to King Dinuzulu and the Zulu Nation. It is unfortunate that the Prophet did not find the King at the Royal Palace in Nongoma – as he was already banned and exiled by the British.

After some years, the Prophet again paid a visit to the Royal Family, and he found King Solomon with whom he developed a very good relationship. The Prophet was then joined by many followers – from Nongoma and the surroundings. King Solomon did not only give the prophet a site to build a church, but he also married the prophet’s daughter, Zondi who became one of oNdlunkulu. Critically, a strong relationship developed between the Royalty and the Nazareth Baptist Church even with other Zulu kings who came after King Solomon.

It was in 2010 when the then late leader Prophet Vimbeni Shembe, famously known as “uThingolwenkosazana” got gravely ill and His Majesty, King Goodwill ka Bhekuzulu went to see him at his home.

It is unfortunate that His Majesty could not see “uThingolwenkosazana” as he was prevented by church leaders. The ailing leader died afterwards. The good fellowship developed by the founder of the church, Prophet Isaiah and King Solomon was ruined completely by that incident. Consequently, the Royal Household received messages of concerns and regrets from thousands of Prophet Shembe followers from across the country and in the SADC region. The majority of them pointed out that they were hurt by what certain church leaders had done to His Majesty – who is the Father of the Nation.   

Three years later, in 2013, the new and current leader of the church, Prophet Mduduzi Shembe – known as “uNyazilwezulu”, and his congregation initiated a reconciliation process involving the Royal Family and the Nazareth Baptist church. The process entailed open and frank discussions with church leaders giving a full account on what had led to internal differences. 

The Royal Household appreciated the courageous leadership displayed by church leaders towards peace and reconciliation. A strong bond between the church and the Royal Household was eventually restored during the custom known as Ukuthelelana Amanzi (Forgiveness) held on the 4th of August 2013 at KwaKhangela Palace. The ceremony saw Prophet Mduduzi Shembe and His Majesty reconciling and in the process marking the beginning of a new era. 

This was also followed by Umgidi Ceremony held in November 2013 which was attended by the entire congregation led by Prophet Mduduzi Shembe. The ceremony took place at Enyokeni Traditional Palace shortly before the commencement of uMkhosi woSelwa. Indeed, this was a defining moment for the congregation, the King and the entire Royal Family.

It was then agreed that from that year forth – the Nazareth Baptist Church, the eBuhleni section, would have an Annual Sabbath and uMgidi Royal Ceremony at Enyokeni Palace, and it would forerun the national uMkhosi woSelwa (First-Fruit Ceremony) which is conducted in December every year at eNyokeni.

Umgidi Royal Ceremony will involve deep reflections on Prophet Isaiah Shembe whopreached and did good things. It is hoped that the ceremony will also help ensure that the message of peace and tolerance upon which this church was established more than 100 years ago is spread throughout this province and the country.

As we approach these important events, we pray to God that he grants His Majesty more strength so that he will continue to be the champion of peace, reconciliation and unity of all our people.