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South Africa’s Church of Drinking, Where God Worship and Alcohol Go Hand in Hand

“Praise the Lord and pass the libation” is the motto of an unorthodox church located near Johannesburg, South Africa. Gabola Church of International Ministries takes its name from the Tswana word for “drinking”, and it both allows and encourages members of the congregation to drink during service.

The African continent is home to lots of unconventional churches and colorful preachers who employ all kinds of outlandish rituals to attract parishioners. In the past we’ve written about ministers spraying congregates with “holy” bug spray, making them drink motor oil or talking to God on the phone. However, Johannesburg’s Gabola Church is apparently the first to choose alcohol as its main theme.

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South-African Teacher Uses Hip-Hop to Make Math Fun for Students

Kurt Minnaar, a 33-year-old math teacher at Cape Town’s Eben Dönges High School uses hip hop beats and rhymes to make math lessons more enjoyable for his students.

Singing or listening to music during math class is usually frowned upon, but in Kurt Minnaar’s classroom, it’s actually a pre-requisite. The former choreographer and hip-hop artist is using his musical background to make the process of learning math a lot easier and less boring for his students. Minaar says that most kids today are into music and beats, and he’s basically taking the traditional math curriculum and fusing it with what they love to make it easier to learn and remember.

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South African Prophet Makes Congregates Drink Motor Oil to Cure Them

Prophet Bongani Maseko of the Breath of Christ Ministries, in Daveyton, South Africa, has come under fire recently for asking congregates to drink motor oil if they want to be “saved, healed and delivered.” Many of them actually took him up on the bizarre offer.

Photos posted on the Facebook page of the Breath of Christ Ministries show Maseko serving mouthfuls of Havoline motor oil to parishioners who seem more than happy to drink the toxic concoction. People were obviously outraged by the bizarre practice, but some argued that it was probably a poorly chosen container for anointed water or wine. After all, who in their right mind would ask people to drink engine oil to be cured? Well, apparently Prophet Maseko would, and actually did. Contacted by various news outlets, he confirmed that the bottle in the photos did actually contain motor oil, but said that it was perfectly safe for consumption because he had prayed over it…

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South African Herbalist Walks Around Literally Dressed in Money

Michael Andile Dlamini, a successful herbalist from Nongoma, South Africa, has become known as Mzimb’okhalimali (a body dripping with money) after he started wearing a suit made of real banknotes, to show off his wealth.

Dlamini started working as a healer three years ago, after finally listening to the voices of his ancestors. The 33-year-old claims that when he was 12, his ancestors spoke to him in his dreams, telling him which trees and plants to mix remedies out of, but he chose to ignore them. Then, in 2011, he started having these weird dreams again, where his ancestors would tell him to go into the forest to gather plants and roots for herbal remedies. He started filling ill, and had his house broken into, and after seeing a ‘sangoma’ (healer) who scolded him for not listening to his visions, Dlamini finally decided to become a herbalist.

It turned out to be the best thing he ever did, as his potions and creams became insanely popular from the very beginning. Dlamini claims he makes between R15,000 ($1,000) and R20,000 ($1,500) a day by selling herbal products, which include Pincode, a herbal concoction to boost sex drive, a “lucky soap” that removes pimples and stretchmarks, and “blessed water”.

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South-African Pastor Claims to Heal Congregates by Spraying Their Faces with Insect Repellent

Pastor Lethebo Rabalago of Mount Zion General Assembly, in Limpopo, South Africa, has recently been accused of endangering his congregates’ lives by spraying them with insect repellent, as a healing method.

This bizarre practice first made news headlines in South Africa after photos showing Pastor Lethebo Rabalago spraying what looked like Doom bug spray in the faces of various congregates, were posted on the Facebook account of the Mount Zion General Assembly. One photo of a woman was captioned: “Mrs Mitala. The Prophet called sick people to come forward. She went to the forth and told the Prophet that she suffers from ulcer. The Prophet sprayed doom on her and she received her healing and deliverance. We give God the glory!”

Doom is a popular brand of insect repellent with serious adverse effects if inhaled (vomiting, seizures, or the loss of consciousness) or if it comes in contact withe the eyes, but Pastor Rabalago doesn’t seem too concerned about it. In a telephone interview with enca, the controversial “holy man” admitted to spraying his sick congregates with Doom bug spray as a way to heal them, adding that so far none of them have reported any side-effects following the ritual.

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South African Restaurant Has Nunchuck-Wielding Karate Master Guarding Patrons’ Cars

Patrons dining at Lefty’s Restaurant, in Cape Town, South Africa, can relax and enjoy their meal knowing that their car is protected by a nunchuck-wielding karate master known only as Master Lolo.

Car guards are quite popular in many South-African cities, charging drivers a fee to look over their vehicles and keep them safe from thieves while they are dining or shopping. But no car guard is more famous than Master Lolo, a Congolese balaclava-wearing, nunchuck-wielding karate master hanging out in front of Lefty’s Restaurant, on Harrington Street, in cape Town. The 36-year-old has become a local celebrity, with people showing their gratitude for his services by posting videos of him in action on sites like YouTube.

“People need their cars protected and I have the ability to make the area safe. I am very good at it and will do it for as long as I am needed,” he told the Daily Voice. He admits that the area is very quiet and that so far he has only had to move people along instead of fighting them, but claims that’s probably because of his reputation. “People know not to make trouble here,” he said.

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South African Artist Paints with Plastic Waste

Mbongeni Buthelezi, an artist from South Africa, has shunned paint in favor of plastic. He melts discarded plastic bags and uses the molten material to produce stunning works of art. The 49-year-old has been working with the unique medium for the past 23 years, ever since he graduated from art school.

Buthelezi said he decided to work with plastic because he wanted to stand out, and this was an innovative, original idea to do that. “With watercolor and other mediums that I have experimented with in the past, I felt that I’m hitting the ceiling,” he told Euronews. “I’m not growing anymore. I wanted to be noticed and I wanted to catch attention, because I knew also that I’m moving into a career where you have to be really special to be able to even make a living out of it.”

According to Buthelezi, his chosen medium also serves as a metaphor for life. “I collect rubbish and create something beautiful from it,” he wrote on his website. “That’s what we can do with ourselves and our lives.”

mbongeni-buthelezi

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African Pastor Turns Woman’s Hair into Delicious Food for His Congregation

A pastor from South Africa, who previously made headlines for praying for his congregation until they stripped, is now in the news again for turning a young woman’s hair into food and having his followers eat it straight from her head.

Pictures posted on The End Times Disciples Ministries’ Facebook page show the pastor, Prophet Penuel Mnguni, placing his hands on the woman. Other members of the congregation are seen holding her hair in their hands and actually attempting to eat it. The pictures are captioned: “Man of God held the head of a woman of God Thapelo from Mabopane and her hair turned into food for the sons and daughters of God to eat. Everything depends on what we say because we carry life in our tongue.”

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9-Year-Old Boy Marries Woman 53 Years His Senior, for the Second Time

Nine-year-old Saneie Masilela has managed to accomplish something that probably no other kid his age has ever done – he’s been married twice! And as if that wasn’t shocking enough, his bride is old enough to be his grandmother.

Saneie has married 62-year-old Helen Shabangu twice in the span of one year. The second wedding ceremony was recently held at the bride’s home in Ximhungwe, in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. As the highly unusual couple exchanged vows for the second time, 100 wide-eyed guests watched on in utter bewilderment.

Saneie, the youngest of four children, belongs to the nearby town of Tshwane. His first wedding to Helen took place last year at his parents’ home, after he claimed that his dead ancestors had ordered him to marry her. While most parents would brush away such claims from a little boy, Saneie’s parents actually took him seriously. They hurriedly contacted the bride, paid her $800 as dowry and spent over $1,500 on the arrangements.

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South African Homeless Man Refuses to Beg, Makes a Living by Selling Books on the Pavement

Philani Dladla, a homeless man living on the streets of Johannesburg, is probably the last person you’d expect to be a bookworm. Yet, the 24-year-old is quite a voracious reader. And instead of begging like other homeless people, he has chosen to make a living by reviewing and selling books.

South African director and cinematographer Tebogo Malope played a tremendous part in bringing Philani’s unique and inspiring story to the world. Malope, 29, recorded an interview with Philani called the ‘Pavement Bookworm’; the videos have gone viral since he put them up online last year.

The two-part interview features Philani speaking about the books he has read and why he likes them – the man is so full of infectious joy as he discusses his love of reading. His sense of passion and appreciation of books is extremely rare, especially for someone who leads a difficult life. Philani seems unfazed by his own living conditions, he only wants to tell the world how great it is to read.

pavement-bookworm

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Izhikhothane – South Africa’s Bizarre Money-Burning Sub-Culture

Izikhothane, which loosely translates to ‘brag it’, is a South African subculture of youths who dress themselves in designer clothes they can barely afford. They arrive in minivans at public spots and participate in elaborate dance-offs against rival gangs. During these performances, they indulge in burning wads of cash, destroying their clothes and spilling expensive food and alcohol on the streets. Why, you ask? To show off, obviously.

“To be Izikhothane, you have to be like us. Buy expensive clothes, booze, fame, girls, driving, spending. And when you are dressed in Italian clothing it shows that you’re smart,” said one gang member. In a nation where almost 50 percent of youths are unemployed, this sort of blatantly extravagant act is rather surprising. Most of the Izikhothane are funded by their working class parents with modest incomes.

There’s also a huge generation gap between these youths and their parents. Most of the Izikhothane belong to a generation that grew up after the end of white minority rule, unlike their parents. According to one kid, “Being born free means we can shop where we want and the country is no longer under oppression. We can express our views without being imprisoned.” Some use the extravagance as a means to escape their poverty, and for others it is just a culture of bling.

Izikhothani

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You Can Win $1 Million Playing on the World’s Most Extreme Golf Course, But You’ll Need a Helicopter

The Legend Golf and Safari Resort is truly, well, legendary. The one-of-a-kind golf course is located in South Africa’s north-eastern Limpopo Province, nestled within the 22,000 hectare Entabeni Game Reserve. It is the longest par 72 golf course in the world, and of course safe from all the wildlife. It is also the only one with all 19 holes individually designed by golf legends like Trevor Immelman, Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia, among others. There’s a tribute course too, made up of perfect replicas of nine of the best par 3’s in the world.

But the thing that makes Legend Golf and Safari Resort really special is the hole that everyone comes to play – the Xtreme 19th. It is believed to be the longest, highest and most dramatic par 3 in the world. The hole itself is 587 meters away from the tee-off box and if you manage to hit a hole-in-one, you are guaranteed a special price of US $1 million. But, truth be told, you’d probably have a better chance of winning the lottery.

To get a shot at the prize money, you first need to take a helicopter ride to the tee box, which is high up a cliff on Hanlip Mountain. Standing up there could make you feel like you really are at the edge of South Africa. The tee box is 430 meters above the green (shaped like the African continent), providing a breathtaking panoramic background and plenty of leverage as well. As soon as you reach the high ground, you are handed six balls equipped with tracking devices and then you are welcome to try your luck.

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South African Pastor Tells Congregation to Eat Grass to Be Closer to God

Pastor Lesego Daniel, of Rabboni Centre Ministries, is a highly unusual person. In order to be closer to God, the South African preacher is encouraging his congregation to eat grass. He also tramples on them for added effect.

The pastor is said to have claimed that humans can eat anything they choose to sustain themselves. When he put up pictures of the grass-eating event on Facebook, he faced severe criticism from thousands of people across the world. Rabboni Centre Ministries is now a trending topic on social media. But none of that has bothered Mr. Daniel’s followers; they defend their pastor and swear by his methods.

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Dancing with Death – The Train Surfers of Soweto

There’s no sea in Johannesburg so the poor young men from the inner city of Soweto get their kicks by surfing high-speed commuter trains. This dangerous pastime has claimed many lives throughout the years, but despite several initiatives to put a stop to it, train surfing remains pretty popular.

South Africa is considered the birth place of train surfing, with reports of people performing stunts on top of moving train cars dating back to the early 1980s. From here, the extreme hobby spread all around the world, from Brazil, to Germany and Russia, but Johannesburg remains unique through its variety of styles. The most common and least dangerous form of train surfing involves climbing on top of a car, jumping off as it starts moving and climbing back on again while it’s in motion. Then there is side surfing, with the wannabe stuntmen running alongside the train on the passenger platform as his friends keep the door open, or swinging out the door when the train passes through a tunnel and running on the walls. Another one has daredevils get under the train while it’s moving and kicking the gravel with their legs. But the most lethal of all is surfing on top of the train while trying to dodge power cables and bridges. All the different moves have names like Matrix, 2020, Gravul or Svandals.

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A Gap in Style – Front Teeth Removal Is Trendy among South African Youth

It’s rare for fashion trends to last as long as 60 years. But this one tradition has never gone out of style among generations of youth in Cape Town and other regions of South Africa – dental modification. It sounds odd, but the South African youngsters actually like to sport toothless smiles, after getting their front teeth removed. Dressed mostly in baggy sweaters and caps drawn low over shiny sunglasses, the gummy smile is unique to these young South Africans who like to strike gangster poses. According to 21-year-old Yazeed Adams, “It is fashion, everyone has it.” The trend is often referred to as the ‘Cape Flats Smile’. The name comes from a populous neighborhood where this bizarre body modification is done by a large number of teens. But Jacqui Friedling of the University of Cape Town’s human biology department, who studied the phenomenon in 2003, says that she found fashion and peer pressure to be the main reasons for removing teeth, followed closely by medical reasons and gangsterisms. “It is the ‘in’ thing to do,” she says. “It went through a wave, it was fashionable in my parents’ time.” True enough, the practice has been around for at least 60 years now. Traditionally, dental modification such as filling of teeth and ornamentation was found only in tribal people. In modern Cape Town, it is seen as a rite of passage for teenagers, most often from the poorer families. Some stories say that the tradition started from the fisherman, who couldn’t communicate with each other on boats. So they created the ‘gap whistle’ as an effective means of communication. The men today feel their ‘gaps’ attract women, and vice versa.

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