ESCAPED: Kind Kupe Mvundla, the prophet who led a group of people to the deadly Jukskei River in December for a ritual has left South Africa for Zimbabwe KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Tuesday, January 10, 2023

ESCAPED: Kind Kupe Mvundla, the prophet who led a group of people to the deadly Jukskei River in December for a ritual has left South Africa for Zimbabwe

Kind Kupe, the prophet who led a group of people to the deadly Jukskei River in December for a ritual has left for Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwean prophet who brought a group of people to the dangerous Jukskei River for a rituals in December has gone to Zimbabwe.

 14 of his followers drowned after being swept away by a heavy current during a baptism ritual in Bramley Park, Johannesburg.

The storms that lambast the Gauteng Highveld at this time of the year swell rivers and drainage pipes and catch us by surprise. The roar of water sounds its alarm on our doorsteps. Roofs groan under the weight of angry water. Those who live downstream and are often ignored by municipal services are swept away in the angry waters. 

In one of the world’s most unequal cities, the Jukskei tells an interesting tale. The river has an unlikely source in Bertrams, in central Johannesburg, and feeds into the Crocodile River mouth. Its path through Sandton and its suburbs is simultaneously beautiful and ugly. The litter of the Jukskei is a shape-shifting phenomenon. There are dark ominous patches of water and then the sun shines and the water gleams. There are many false alarms. Perhaps a body but also a tyre, a washbasin or a garbage bag. Yellow for Shoprite. A dog’s carcass on a deathly voyage through Johannesburg. Slowly, rescue services pick out the bodies. Tranquil in Sandton and Midrand, and filthy and ominously dangerous through Alexandra township, Sandton’s backside. It is here that it created another round of havoc on an early December Sunday, while a pastor put his congregants through their final test. Rebirth through death. 

But if we look past the pollution and danger, the Jukskei serves an important function for the city’s spiritual communities that worship by open waters. Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, African spiritualists worship next to rivers, streams and oceans. But because Johannesburg has very few rivers and water masses, we gather at the Jukskei. We are baptised and reborn in the waters of the Jukskei. When we wade through the water, we reconnect with water spirits and for a moment we may be transported to Lake Malawi, the Mzimvubu River, the healing waters of Cancele near Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape, and the ancestral oceans of Mozambique. 

For a moment, we may be in communion with the Nyami Nyami, the Zambezi River God. Here on the Highveld, the Jukskei has become our holy river. We live out our rhythms and rituals in its dark waters that stand in for our ancestral lakes, oceans and rivers.  

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