Who is the Prophet of Doom?

You can make phone calls with­out a SIM card, says Doom-spray­ing preacher

CityPress - - News - POLOKO TAU poloko.tau@city­press.co.za

The Doom-spray­ing prophet, Lethebo Ra­bal­ago, may only be at the start of his so­cial-me­dia trend­ing spree, but in and around Zebe­diela, his home vil­lage in Lim­popo, the streets are awash with many more sto­ries about the 24-year-old man’s con­tro­ver­sial “heal­ing meth­ods”. From drop­ping stones the size of gem squash on his con­gre­gants to mak­ing them drink petrol, and mak­ing a woman eat pow­der soap, vil­lagers have tale upon tale to tell about Ra­bal­ago.

City Press drove around the vil­lage and ran­domly asked vil­lagers about their “prophet”. And the re­ac­tions were in­vari­ably sim­i­lar. “Oh, you mean the guy who sprayed peo­ple with Doom [in­sec­ti­cide spray]?”

“Lots of peo­ple from around here, and far, love that boy,” said one vil­lager. “Some call him the prophet, de­tec­tive, or gen­eral ... It is all con­fus­ing. He has be­come the big­gest cause célèbre [from here],” said one mid­dle-aged man, who added that some of his rel­a­tives would at­tend Ra­bal­ago’s church ser­vices.

“I don’t know what he does to these peo­ple who al­low him to hit them with stones and to sit on their body, telling them they will be healed,” the man said.

An­other vil­lager, a male youth, laughed when asked about Ra­bal­ago. “All I know is that he is def­i­nitely en­joy­ing the at­ten­tion he is get­ting in the me­dia right now. He loves it. His Face­book ac­count is full of his sto­ries, where he boasts about all his heal­ing and de­liv­er­ance meth­ods,” the man com­mented.

“I have not seen him around in a while, but peo­ple are al­ways talk­ing about him, even be­fore the Doom story. I just wish he was for real, then he could pray for all of us, the un­em­ployed youth, to get jobs – but with­out any Doom, or mak­ing us drink petrol ... I could at­tend his church. But I can’t take any chances with my life,” the young man went on say­ing.

As much as Ra­bal­ago is not ap­pre­ci­ated by some vil­lagers, there are oth­ers who seem­ingly be­lieve he is a “gifted young man”.

On over­hear­ing a group of young­sters dis­cussing Ra­bal­ago with City Press, a woman, who ap­peared to be in her early six­ties, walked up to the group and tried to change their per­cep­tions about Ra­bal­ago.

“Don’t talk about things you don’t know and only hear about in the news,” she warned. “The prophet has healed peo­ple and helped oth­ers in many ways ... Come to his church and stop gos­sip­ing on street cor­ners,” she ad­mon­ished.

Asked if Ra­bal­ago had ever helped her in any way, the woman com­mented: “Yes, I feel much health­ier since I started at­tend­ing his church ser­vices. He had once prayed for me, and told me that my right knee prob­lem will end, and that was the end of the pain that I had lived with for many years.”

The woman showed her cha­grin at some of the com­ments the young men made, which were less ap­pre­cia­tive of Ra­bal­ago.

“He is your age and mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the com­mu­nity, while you boys spend time drink­ing al­co­hol. You need prayers, you re­ally need prayers,” she warned sternly, and walked off.

This is the kind of de­fence Ra­bal­ago gets from com­mu­nity mem­bers, even on his Face­book page, where he is very ac­tive. He would ha­bit­u­ally post on his time­line but never com­ments, even when at­tacked by de­trac­tors. He seem­ingly leaves the answers to his sup­port­ers. Ra­bal­ago’s en­try sports pic­tures of his church ser­vices and de­scrip­tions by him­self of how he proph­e­sies and heals the sick. In a re­cently posted video he de­fends his un­con­ven­tional ser­vices, in a soft-spo­ken man­ner, cit­ing “un­lim­ited faith” as a main in­gre­di­ent.

“That is why one can drive a car with­out petrol; one can make a call with­out a SIM card or phone bat­tery,” he says on the Face­book en­try.

TALK TO US Do you think Ra­bal­ago is mis­un­der­stood?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the keyword DOOM and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50

CON­TRO­VER­SIAL ‘Prophet’ Lethebo Ra­bal­ago has claimed that us­ing Doom in­sec­ti­cide on peo­ple heals them of their ill­nesses

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