When I got arrested at my baby shower and lost my mother, my friend from church spoke to our pastor about her concerns. She convinced the pastor that Satan had taken over my life and that I needed God’s intervention. She told me that she would never forgive Ice and Beans for forcing me to see a witch-doctor. She also directed some of her frustrations towards me, for not seeking her opinion and assistance when I was being led astray. I told her that in my situation of trying to please everybody and save everything, time to pose and reflect was a luxury. The more I realised that I was no longer in a position to please everybody or save anything, the more I tried. The result was that I failed in everything and everyone, including myself, and the results were there for everyone to see.
The pastor arranged a special prayer service for me one Sunday. Our congregation rented a space in another church. Their service was in the morning and ours was in the afternoon. The church’s bishop was a Zimbabwean, which made it easy for my pastor to negotiate a deal. The morning service was always more than half-empty, as it was mainly attended by the indigenous. Great Britain had lost God and she had even stopped seeking after Him.
When the immigrants came in, in the afternoon, the house of God was packed, welcoming everyone legal or illegal. There were no illegal immigrants in the house of God. There was singing, dancing, preaching and fun, some mistook our fun for noise.
What is happening in the United Kingdom is that they are importing priests from Africa and all over the world, enticing them with work visas, as if they needed enticing at al , to come and preach in the land that has lost faith in everything.
The United Kingdom has lost God, lost Jesus and if it’s not careful, very soon it
will be persecuting Christians. This is a country whose constitution is based on Christian values. Basic human survival, conscience, hope, empathy, fairness and forgiveness are the cornerstones of the Christian faith. Without these, humans are as good as other animals. Greed takes over and Satan triumphs. Those who live their lives by the word of Faith are in a win-win situation.
My mother used to say to me, “Dolly, let’s say that I discovered that there is no Heaven when I die, what would I lose if I had lived my life by the Christian values? Nothing. But if there were Heaven what would I lose? Everything.”
She would ask and answer her own questions. She used to tell me that a faithless society was a dangerous one, because it had no moral boundaries. Faith provided those unmistakable boundaries. A faithless society expects to solve all its social, spiritual, mental and physical health ills through the over-reliance on pharmaceutical companies and a bit of psychology, because it does not realise the power of prayer. Yet what psychology or other layman therapies offer is exactly what the prayer offers in the exploration and addressing of human ills through their belief systems.
It was for that reason that I decided against spending my money on psychology or therapies, which do not come cheap by the way, and sought free healing from the church. NHS psychology waiting list was as long as my arm, taking months, sometimes years to get therapy. Yet prayers were free every Sunday, sometimes during the week too. I did not think that the United Kingdom government would dish out its sort-after visas to priests, for a laugh.
On my Big Sunday, the pastor announced that the songs that would be sung, the dance that would be danced, the prayers that would be prayed and the preaching that would be preached, would all be mine. I really felt special that day. All eyes were on me. I was the centre of attraction, for good reasons for a change.
The church went wild as they sang: Ndamhanyamhanya, kwese kwese I ran around, everywhere Ndatswagatswaga, kwese kwese, I looked around, everywhere Ndatenderera, kwese kwese, I circled, everywhere Hakuna hakuna wo, there’s no one.
The song just nailed my encounters with the short woman with puppy eyes. I ran, looked and circled to no avail. As we sang the song we ran, looked and circled around. It felt unbelievable. Yes, I did enjoy myself at the baby shower, but in the church, ngadakwa yibunandi, I got drunk with sweetness. I left behind my earthly body, riddled with visual hal ucinations and nightmares and soared like an eagle in a body that had never sinned. I felt free from police arrests and detentions. I was in God’s tender hands. God was there with me, with us.
The pastor then asked me to come forward, so that he could lay his holly hands over my head and bless me. Set me free from the devil that was playing games with my mind and cast the demons away, as my church friend would say.
She was present too, but I did not know how much she told the pastor. Did she tell him that I was barking mad for him to arrange a Big Sunday? Did she tell him that I needed help with prayers and quick? But what I knew was that after the service my life would go back to normal. Whether that included Ice coming back I did not know and I did not care anymore.
I majestically walked to the front of the church and stood in front of the pastor. I opened up my arms like Jesus on the cross as the pastor put his holly hands over my head. Two of his male deacons came forward and they too placed their hands over my head. I felt very safe, honoured, protected and assured to be among God’s faithful disciples. They prayed for me, beginning in low voices and increasing the volume as each demon was cast out. The pastor also prayed in tongues and I felt saved. I was praying too.
In our church one chose whether to close or open their eyes during prayer. That made me feel safe because I remember very well when I was growing up what my cousins used to do during the ‘food prayer.’ Once food was placed in front of us and my mother made us close our eyes while she prayed; they would take that opportunity to pick the big pieces of meat and eat them during prayer. That taught me to pray with one eye open. So when the pastor said that there was no fast rule on shut or open eyes during prayer, I felt assured. Experience had taught me that many unthinkable things happened when eyes were closed.
Out of the blue, in the middle of my special prayer, the short woman with
puppy eyes walked past the church window. She approached the window, paused looked in before she calmly strode away. She goaded me in front of God. She prodded me in the presence of my pastor and fellow worshippers. She was brave bordering on stupidity. She wanted a response and she got it immediately. I did what I always did when I saw her. I immediately went after her.
I shouted at the top of my voice, trying to drown the pastor and his two deacons’ voices, “The short woman with puppy eyes is here! She’s outside! The Limpopo woman has just gone past the window!” I screamed before I took off, catching the pastor and his deacons by surprise, but at an arm’s length, one of the deacons got hold of my maternity top, the force caused the dress to tear under the armpit right down the side of my body, leaving part of my body partially exposed as I went to the ground. The ever-alert pastor’s wife served the impact on the ground; she held my hand as I went down, reducing the impact on the floor.
“Please let me go! Please let me catch the short woman with puppy eyes. Let me free! She is here!” I shouted, screamed, yelled, shrilled, and howled to no avail.
The three priests with the help of pastor’s wife, held me down, praying and shouting even louder. Drowning my voice out. I was no match to three bellowing men. I struggled, kicked and fought to get out of their grip, but they held me down like metal vices.
As I struggled for freedom, screaming and kicking I accidentally caught the pastor’s wife on her eye with my fist and she screamed as she fell backwards. Hell broke loose. It was dog eat dog. My friend from church, joined in, she was big, elamandla endlovu, with elephant strength. She held both of my hands down with one hand and used the other to cover me up. Job done. Her bedroom name was not Sodom and Gomorra for nothing.
She then said to the pastor, “The short woman with puppy eyes is the devil.” I struggled and shouted that I had actually seen the real short woman with puppy eyes. The prayers got louder, as I tried to tell them that I saw the real Limpopo River woman passing by the church window. I tried to bite my church friend, who shouted, “This is your end Satan! Phuma Sathani, get out Satan! You have come to your end today. Leave my friend alone, devil. You hear me? Leave her. Leave her now!” She shouted at the top of her voice too. It sounded like a shouting competition between the pastor, his deacons, my church friend and I.
When I realised that by then the short woman with puppy eyes had escaped, ironically with the full blessings of the church; I stopped struggling. The grips on my body loosened and I was allowed to sit on the floor without anyone holding me down. It was at this point that I realised that the male church guitarist and drummer had joined the struggle to hold me down and they had stopped me from catching the short woman with puppy eyes. It took five men and two women to hold me down. That was the power that came with the appearance and disappearance of the Limpopo River woman.
Eventually, the volume of the prayers came down; and sounded like whispers, before the pastor pronounced, “Amen.” His tie was on the floor.
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