Before You Start Reading: This
bears no reference to a church in America of the same name
South Africa is known to be a predominantly Christian country; about 70% of
the population is classified as Christian. But, as with many countries, the
term is used broadly. Today I will write about one of the largest
denominations here in South Africa; and then show you the problems with it.
What is the ZCC?
This is about the Zion Christian Church in Southern Africa (hereafter
referred to as ZCC). It was started in 1910 by Engenas Lekganyane. He was a
former member of the Free Church of Scotland, Apostolic Faith Mission and
Zion Apostolic Church. He allegedly had a vision from God in 1910 and
founded the ZCC. It was initially based in Thabakgone in the Limpopo
Province and was officially registered as a church in 1942. Today its
headquarters are at Zion City in Moria, Limpopo Province. Every Easter, ZCC
members flock in their thousands to Moria on a pilgrimage. Its current
leaders are Barnabas
Lekganyane and Saint Engenas Lekganyane, the grandsons of its founder.
The ZCC has flourished on the idea of celebrating traditional African
culture and was affected by the exclusion of Black people from the main
churches during Apartheid. You see, back in those days there was a lot of
racial segregation and some mainstream churches would actually have churches
for White people and churches for Black people (one notable rebel was Beyers
Naudé, a Dutch Reformed minister who left the Broederbond and ministered in
Soweto). Although its members do not express any hatred towards White
people, its breakaway from the mainstream was mainly because they wanted to
escape colonialism, slavery and the idea of “White Christianity”. But also,
Engenas Lekganyane clashed with “White” Christian church leaders over his
actions. He practiced and welcomed polygamy, which means that a man can have
many wives. The ZCC also uses external symbols, especially staffs in worship
and wearing robes.
But the core foundations come from a Pentecostal church in America; the Christian
Catholic Church (now called Christ
Community Church) founded by John Alexander Dowie, which is based in
Zion, Illinois. Not a very “kosher” church! Also it was influenced by the
Pentecostal missionary John G Lake, who started working in Johannesburg in
1908. Worth noting is that many Western Pentecostal branches do not include
the ZCC as being Pentecostal.
John Alexander Dowie.
Who is in the ZCC?
In Southern Africa, it’s not hard to identify a ZCC member Followers proudly
wear a broche on their chests; a green ribbon with a metal star, with ZCC
inscribed on it. Male members will also wear a “captain” style hat with the
ZCC star on it. I don’t think it is compulsory – I know ZCC members who
don’t wear them – but it is very common to
do so. And virtually always, the followers are Black Africans (it has
nothing to do with race, but that's just what one observes. I have been told
of members from other groups, though I've never observed one).
A ZCC star. Either on a "captain's hat" or on a broche (seen her).
So what’s wrong with a star?
Now, personally I don’t see the need for symbols – even the crucifix. No
Christian should engage in using images. But the use of the star is a
concern. You see, the five-pointed star has almost always been associated
with evil. Today, the star is used in the flag of every Communist
country’s flag as a symbol
for Communism. In case you didn’t know, Communism was founded by a
Satanist, Karl Marx, and was devised by him to deliberately be
anti-Christian. Separately, the star is also used as a symbol in
Freemasonry, Satanism, Paganism and Witchcraft.
My Christian brother at Christ
Movement has done a video to show you that the ZCC star comes from
Satanism; as the Pentagram of Baphomet is an upside-down star. But you
should also know that the “not upside-down” star is also a
holy symbol in Paganism and witchcraft! See the similarities.
ZCC star - Pagan Pentagram - Satanic Pentagram. See the similarities?
Why do people join the ZCC?
The main reason for the ZCC having many followers is that it combines
Christianity with traditional beliefs. This is clearly a bad thing! One of
the core traditional practices is the prayer to and worship of ancestors.
Luke 16:27-31 - Then
he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my
father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them,
lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They
have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father
Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he
said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be
persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
Hebrews 9:27 - And
as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment
In other words, when you die, you will either be in Heaven or Hell; so then
how can there be a spirit floating around on earth?
I have heard it said by someone who combines Christianity with ancestral
beliefs; that to pray to God, they must go through Jesus – and to pray to
Jesus, they must go through the ancestors. Besides the painfully obvious:
John 14:6-7 - Jesus
saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father
also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Throughout the Old Testament, sorcerers often claimed to make contact with
the dead and this is sorcery! Sorcery is another factor in
traditional beliefs; they believe in witchcraft and the ZCC offers them
protection from evil, sorcery, superstitions and sickness.
What does the Bible say about sorcery, or about people trying to communicate
with dead people?
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 - There
shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to
pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or
an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar
spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an
abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy
God doth drive them out from before thee.
Leviticus 19:31 - Regard
not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be
defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.
I have often had ZCC members write to me, angry for writing this article.
Most will simply say I’m bad, but some will seek to defend the ZCC. The one
thing that they always fail to do is read the above Scriptures. One member
even told me that they are proud to engage in witchcraft as it makes them
feel proudly African! I don’t care at all about national pride, tribal
pride, or indeed any pride. One can debate from now till the end of time.
But there is witchcraft in the ZCC and the Word of God calls that an
Baptism is very important in the ZCC; but members may only be
baptised in a river; not just any water. Baptisms are also conducted in the
name of Lekganyane! (this was part of an ex-ZCC testimony, but I have heard
it said that baptisms are done in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost
- well I sure hope so!).
Matthew 28:19 - Go
ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
(In other words, do not baptise in the name of Lekganyane! Can it be any
ZCC Calls Their Bishop Christ!
As is always the case, if you run a website about religion, I have been
attacked over this. The ZCC believes their leader is Jesus Christ! I’m not
referring to Jesus Christ from the Bible, but their own church leader,
Lekganyane! I have had a couple of people write in to tell me that I’m lying
about this. Well…
Matthew 24:24 - For
there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great
signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive
the very elect.
If you watch this video,
you will see a ZCC congregation sing in mantra that “Jealous Down Ramarumo”
(that is, Bishop Ramarumo Lekganyane) is Christ.
Also interesting is something I found online. This is an excerpt from the
website of the South African Tourism board, writing to promote the ZCC. (click
here) Remember, this is a government organisation writing this! (their
words are in red)
The belief that the religious and administrative leader of the church (or
bishop) is a mediator between the congregation and God; that, like
Christ, he can perform supernatural acts. The use of different
mechanisms for faith-healing.
These include the laying-on of hands; the use of holy water; drinking of
blessed tea and coffee; bloodletting with needles (now obsolete); the
wearing of blessed cords or cloth and the burning of blessed papers called
I can only answer this claim with Scripture:
1 Timothy 2:5 - For
there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ
John 14:6 - Jesus
saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me.
And if this is not clear enough, it is believed that Lekganyane sees every
believer – only God has that power! A former member of the ZCC said that
Lekganyane would show him people whom he should go and interact with by
means of dreams and visions; he would get confirmation from him that he was
sent by other prophets of Lekganyane. Members are also told that Lekganyane
can control their minds! There are even sacrifices offered to him! I have
been advised by former members that the element of mind control is rife in
Lekganyane. NOT CHRIST. Pictured left of Jewish Rabbi Moshe.
Followers of Pentecostal churches are big into faith healing. The Pastor
will put his hand over you and either pray for healing, or try to cast out a
demon. The ZCC has taken this and turned it into a seriously Pagan practice;
“healing” by means of intercession with ancestral spirits (sorcery!) and
“sacred tools” such as “holy sticks” (now they are heading for idolatry!).
They also believe that they can heal both humans and the environment, even
What are their “sacred tools”?
ZCC Bishops and “Prophets” each have a staff. They are used to provide
protection from evil, because they have been prayed over. They use them with
faith healing. They also use flags which have been prayed over, again for
protection against evil spirits; but also as a symbol of the Holy Spirit
(symbol? Idolatry!) and to be placed at the houses of new members as
Just in case you need reminding that idolatry is seriously anti-Christian –
just a few of the many Bible verses condemning it:
Deuteronomy 29:17 - And
ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and
gold, which were among them:
2 Kings 17:12 - For
they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this
Exodus 20:4 - Thou
shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that
is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water
under the earth:
Yes, they have so-called Holy Water. They call it “Blessed Water”. This is
just plain sick - literally. As a part of faith healing, members are asked
to drink this water. And then they must force themselves to vomit it out!
They consider this to be a way of expelling their sickness from their
bodies, be it physical or spiritual sickness. The water is seen to be
purification from evil, sin, sickness and ritual pollution; this stems from
Holy Tea? Holy Products?
As an Englishman, we love our tea; but apparently the ZCC even has holy tea.
The name varies by language; in seSotho it is “Tea ya bophelo” (tea
of life). In Zulu it is “Ndhayela”. It is known as “tea without sugar”.
Again, it gets drunk and, by some, vomited out. Actually, the ZCC has an
entire range of products; labelled with a picture of Lekganyane. Tea,
coffee, body lotion, perfume, and nobody know where or how they are made.
Nor are ZCC members allowed to ask. Just shut up and buy them! I have
received two sources of information, from clergy that was formerly in the
ZCC, that they are made from - among other things - flesh from dead bodies!
(note: this is a claim)
The ZCC considers ash to be clean and pure, and after it is prayed over,
becomes an agent for healing and protecting against evil spirits. Ash is
mixed with water, then it will be drunk, used in a bath or put on door posts
and window frames. It is also put in the “Holy Tea”. Other substances used
for healing are lime, blue stone, Epsom salts, milk and blue soap.
There are many symbols that are important within the ZCC. They have a Holy
Mountain, where one feels closer to heaven. Another symbol is water, a
symbol of cleansing and purification. They also have trees, stones, and
candles. They also have a ‘Holy City’ (an earthly Zion) which would be Moria.
ZCC clergy often wear robes that are white (purity), blue (water), or green
(vegetation); all of these symbolise group identity and the wilderness of
human life. Other robe colours are khaki (dust) and red (blood of the Lamb).
Star and moon-shaped ribbons or patches can sometimes be found on the back
of the robes. Crosses are often worn or carried by members. ZCC members
sometimes carry a bunch of sticks tied together by wool. Many
men (but not all) do not shave their facial hair, so that they look more
like Biblical prophets.
Gospel of What?
There are mixed ideas about what the Bible is in the ZCC. They do hold it in
very high regard. But a ZCC member, for example, said that the Bible was
God’s message and a map of our lives. Everything about us was revealed in
the Bible. The purpose of the Bible was to teach about God and what God was
saying today. Another ZCC member said that the Bible was a book that gave us
‘God’s words’. Yet another commented that the Bible was a guide of how to
live. One member stated that the Bible strengthened and helped a person
encountering problems. Another Zionist said that the purpose of the Bible
was to teach people the word of God, and to reveal the good and the bad
things in life so that people could choose for themselves how to live – boy
does this sound familiar:
Genesis 3:5 - For
God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be
opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
ZCC members are taught how to give to the church. This comes down to forced
tithing. The golden rule of thumb is: if a church pressurises or forces you
to give them money, run away!
Ruled By Fear
ZCC members are bound by fear. They are led to believe that if they leave
the ZCC, they will become mentally disturbed. They are told that Lekganyane
has the power to control their minds because they are baptised in his name.
Or, if they do something, they are told that if they tell other people,
their legs will be cut off. So when a ZCC member claims to know nothing, oh
they do; but they are bound by fear to keep quiet!
Since writing this article, I received some stunning testimonies. I also
received messages from other followers and ex-followers alike. The pattern
is the same - fear of physical intimidation or curses if and when they leave
the church. To those I say:
Proverbs 26:2 - As
the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless
shall not come.
Secrets and Ranks
Almost like the Freemasons, there are different levels within the ZCC. One
new member was murdered because he got exposed to the secrets of the ZCC by
(note: this next paragraph is alleged)
The “captain” rank is the one where you get exposed to human flesh
sacrifices to Lekganyane, which are given in his sanctuary at Mount Moria.
It is claimed that those who are in the know will use secret codes. When
referring to “seeds” they are referring to human body part sacrifices. This
new ZCC member, who was accidentally in the presence of captains, didn’t
know this, so collected real seeds as “crops”. He entered the private room
with a group of captains and they opened their bags of “seeds” to offer
sacrifices to Lekganyane. The new member’s bag had normal seeds in it. When
they made him open his bag, they immediately knew he wasn’t a captain, and
could possibly expose their secrets because he didn’t follow the procedure
to reach their level; so they killed him!
The sacrifice of human flesh may seem like hogwash. But it does happen in
Africa. It is referred to as “muti”. Obviously it is illegal, and people of
traditional beliefs are supposed to use herbs instead; at worst animal body
parts. But those who truly believe in it want “the real thing” which is human body
parts. For example, for someone to have a high-powered job and lots of
money, they will bury a hand under their house’s entrance “for good luck”.
They would say in their defense that the bodies were already dead; but often
people have been murdered for their body parts. It is a real problem in
Here we have yet another example of why you cannot just assume that an
organisation which claims Christianity is automatically Christian. While the
ZCC claims Christianity, it is anything but! Its founder and leader is
worshipped as a god and mediator, sometimes with dire consequences. Its
members are subjected to sick rituals and “medicines” in a bid to “heal”
them. It has levels of knowledge within the ZCC which are similar to the
Freemasons. It is rife with idolatry, sorcery and witchcraft. It claims to
worship God and His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and to use the Bible –
yet its level of paganism, in the form of “traditional beliefs” would even
make regular pagans look decent.
Friends, we have another false church in our midst! Beware! And if you know
anybody in this Satanic organisation, GET THEM OUT!
case anyone gets funny about the information, which is freely available
elsewhere via other sources):
Information of foundation
Information regarding setup, beliefs, practices
Extra Source (I didn't use this; what has happened, the source page
regarding extra information, as well as regarding incidents, has been
removed. I cannot possibly have a broken link in this case; I am honest, I
take 1 Thessalonians 5:21 extremely seriously, and would even have removed
certain info if there were no longer a source available. But I see that on
this particular link - which as of 3 January 2013 definitely works - has
extra information, plus the said testimony of ex-ZCC Pastor NJ Sithole.
Satan almost got me there, but the information lives on via Yahoo!)
Also read: Who
Was Engenas Lekganyane? by Barry Morton, UNISA - who kindly asked me to
publish his very detailed article about the life, and conflicting accounts,
of Engenas Lekganyane's life.
EXTERNAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION
There is not much information available on the ZCC. When I first wrote the
article in 2011, there was only one other I could find, as well as the NJ
Sithole testimony. There are more resources available now, which I list
below for you to get further information. Don’t just read what I wrote and
believe it – see for yourself the information and testimonies of other
Finally: Dear reader, I get so many e-mails from people who have
read this article and hate it, and in their view my skin colour is actually
a hindrance for them to get what I'm writing (because South Africans are
obsessed with skin colour!); but sadly, they will even deny Jesus Christ
because they have this idea that He was a white man, and that Christianity
is a "white man's religion". So I've also written "Was
Jesus White?" to
address this. (and the answer is no, probably not!)