The Church of Moria

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A sea of Blue, Khaki and Orange is what you notice as you drive past The Church of Moria.  Women in smart blue uniforms, men in freshly pressed khaki suits, and hundreds of orange busses bellowing smoke, carrying them all to the Zion Christian Church in Limpopo.

I expected chaos, as I’d read that over four million people were expected at Moria last Easter Weekend.  It was indeed chaotic, but well organized, peaceful chaos.

Millions of people, with one purpose in mind.  To gather together and to pray.

The land, usually dusty and barren, is transformed.   Colourful marquees are set up, there are ten kilometers of food stalls and latrines, and everywhere you go, even just driving past, you can hear the magnificent singing of the women as they set up camp.

Groups of men dancing.  Groups of women cooking. Everyone chanting.

Kgotsong a e be le lena.    It means PEACE BE WITH YOU.

Nobody at this gathering drinks alcohol, and nobody eats meat.  Most people sleep in the open air, everyone has a thick blanket, babies sleep on their mama’s backs and children run around in the dust.

The ZCC was founded in the early 1900s, and was a breakaway from the Scottish Free Church, by one Engenas Lekganyane.  His grandsons are the new leaders, and there are two sects, depending on which grandson you follow.

The Star and The Dove.

Both sects have their respective camps.  When joining the ZCC, or after attending this massive three day service, members have to choose which sect to follow, and are then presented with their Star or Dove emblem.

Various speakers, bishops or saints, arrive to pray and give sermons.  The crowds go wild.  This is an annual event that people have waited all year for.  Some are lucky to be close to the ‘stage’.  Others watch on giant video screens.

I only spent a few hours there. It is an extraordinary sight to see, and I know that next year, I don’t just want to drive past.  I actually want to go inside and take part.

Kgotsong a e be le lena.