A breakaway faction led by the regent Amos K Shembe broke away from Ekuphakameni in 1977 and now has the dominant membership. Their site settled as recently as 1980 is on the striking plateaux of Mtabutule with spectacular views all around providing it with the apt name ‘Ebuhleni’ (the beautiful place).
Densities are exceptionally high, aided by religious tolerance, especially during the January and July festivals when followers crowd into makeshift shelters of isintingu (lathes) bound by nylon rope and draped with the over runs of beverage cartons. Transitional architecture at its best!
In contrast the central prayer space is sublime under a canopy of trees with white stones defining the edges and separate entrances defined for the Bishop, men, women and maidens.
The Prophet was perceptive to recognise dance as a primary form of worship resulting in world class spectacles of thousands of dancers separated into gender and age groups.
To share the experience of a very dense informal settlement with a large central open air prayer space.
To preserve traditional values.
Offering an experience of an African eclectic religion and its mass rituals.
Creating employment by producing their unique memorabilia for sale e.g. ‘vuvuzelas’
Visitor behaviour in regard to access to the site, dress codes and separation of genders is important.
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