MASOWE JUKSKEI RIVER BAPTISM TRAGEDY: Zimbabwean prophet vanishes as search for bodies continues
The prophet who led a group of people to the Jukskei River for a ritual on Saturday has been described as a powerful man who provided spiritual healing to his followers.
Kind Kupe, a Zimbabwean national popularly known as “Mvundla,” his clan name, in Alexandra, was last seen on Saturday after the tragic accident that saw 14 of his followers drowning after being swept away by a heavy current during a baptism ritual in Bramley Park, Johannesburg.
It is believed 33 people were at the river and three are still missing.
The search and rescue team are still searching for them.
Kupe’s wife, who only identified herself as Violette, said she last saw her husband on Saturday when he left with his clients.
“I pray that he is fine wherever he is. I have been trying to find him,” she said.
“I went to the Sandton Fire Station where people were identifying their loved ones, hoping to find him and others that I know, he is not there. I couldn’t tell who the others were because they were badly injured.”
When Sowetan visited his rented home in Alexandra, the landlord’s daughter, who asked not to be named, said she and her family had not seen Kupe since the day of the incident
“The police were also here looking for him just before you arrived,” she said.
“He left here with a group of about 17 people at around 11.30am to 12pm, after he prayed for them.”
“This was his usual practice, every Saturday he goes out with his clients either to the mountain or to the river where he prays for them. I have been to some of his sessions, he has helped a lot of people and many have found healing.”
The woman said Kupe’s rituals at the river involved him smearing a concoction of milk and white eggs on his followers and then washing it off with river water.
And while she could not explain the symbolism of the ritual, she said many people believed in Kupe’s services and always came back.
According to some of his clients who visited the home yesterday hoping to consult, Kupe provides spiritual services through prayer and does not have a church.
Ntombizodwa Mtye, an elderly woman who learnt through Sowetan that her prophet had been the priest making headlines, said she and her family had been consulting with Kupe, adding that she has used his services for 10 years, and describing him as a powerful man of prayer.
“He helps my family and I was hoping to make an appointment for my granddaughter who has been having sleepless nights. Oh, but why Lord? With Kupe we found healing,” she said.
“We would sometimes go to the mountain for prayer where he lit candles and wore his blue and white robes, sometimes green and white. This is shocking, I hope he is fine.”
Two other people who came for consultations at the house were also shocked to learn of the ordeal.
“I came a few days ago and I found his wife who said he was not here. That man’s prophecies are so powerful, I am shocked he did not see this coming,” the man said.
Police spokesperson Mavela Masondo, said an inquest docket had been opened.