BOOK REVIEW: The story of the enigmatic man who founded southern Africa’s largest church
More than 70 years after he died, very little is still known about Engenas Lekganyane while the ZCC remains so secretive about his life
Every Easter weekend, millions of Zion Christian Church (ZCC) faithful from across southern Africa descend on “Moria city”, the church’s capital in the north of the country, for their annual pilgrimage. The church, founded by Engenas Lekganyane in 1925, is “the largest indigenous religious movement in Southern Africa”. An estimated one in ten South Africans is a member, according to Allan Anderson, professor of theology at the University of Birmingham.
There are two branches of the church. The main one is led by the founder’s grandson, Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane (born in 1955). The breakaway St Engenas ZCC is headed by his namesake and great-grandson. Both branches are headquartered at Moria, 2km apart on the same farm on which Engenas Lekganyane died and was buried. Their pilgrimages and other events are held separately. The regular members of the main branch are expected to wear Star badges at all times. The St Engenas members sport Dove badges. Both organisations are simila...