How Sekuru Banda became rich and famous
Dr Kamwelo Banda, the Malawianborn, Hararebased traditional healer, herbalist and spiritualist, is without question the man-of-themoment.
UNTIL only some few months ago, the charismatic traditional healer was virtually unknown, with a handful of people, if any, seeking his services.
In a typical rags-to-riches fashion, Sekuru Banda, as the traditional healer is now fondly known as, has risen to become an eminent member of society.
His services are being sought by people of all classes, races and religious beliefs.
A media onslaught by Dr Banda, in which he frequently features in the Press, is seemingly paying dividends.
It can be argued that Sekuru Banda’s meteoric rise was probably ignited by an article that appeared in our sister weekly vernacular publication, Kwayedza.
Titled “Gudo pfacha pasmallhouse”, the article grabbed the imagination of many and became a major talking point. What followed was a media frenzy in which the traditional healer instantly became a much sought-after radio and television programme guest.
His fame has so far spread far and wide, with clients now making the great trek from other Southern African countries.
Sekuru Banda is now clearly oversubscribed with some of the clients spending days without getting an opportunity to meet the famous healer.
Claims that he can perform seemingly impossible tasks such as bringing back lost lovers, punishing cheating partners and thieves, among others, seem to have enchanted Southern Africa.Riding on the wave of the newly found fame and fortune, Sekuru Banda appears to have immersed himself in the flamboyance that comes with fame and rich pickings.
In earlier photographs that were snapped when the traditional healer was still struggling, Dr Banda was often adorned in drab and uninspiring outfits.
Last week, The Sunday Mail Society visited one of the most sought-after religious icons.
Unlike in the past, Sekuru Banda has joined the breed of flamboyant faith and traditional healers. Dark glasses, stylish headgear and expensive leather jackets are now his trademark. Add to that, a horde of bulky bodyguards, personal assistants and hangers-on are now a permanent feature in Dr Banda’s life. One would have been forgiven for concluding that the traditional healer is either a movie actor or rhumba musician. Appearing glamourous and charming for a typical traditional healer, the herbalist is now trendy and fashion-conscious.
Sitting authoritatively on a trendy chair, the spiritualist exuded charm and confidence.
He was quick to explain the sudden change in appearance.
“The spirits that operate in me does not want me to be dirty. I have to be smart, that is part of the conditions,” Sekuru Banda said. Driving an expensive Range Rover, Sekuru Banda is set to move into a 78-roomed mansion in Borrowdale soon.
According to the traditional healer, the massive complex, which he said will serve as both his residence and as a hotel, is set to be finished anytime soon.He confided that another 31-roomed mansion is taking shape in Harare’s leafy suburb of Glen Lorne.
He revealed that together, the massive structures are expected to be worth around $2,7 million.
Simple mathematics show that as long as the clients are still visiting him in droves, completing the structures will be a very easy task.
For one to have the opportunity to consult the traditional healer, they have to fork out US$60. With Sekuru Banda attending to no less than 500 clients every day, this translates into him pocketing a cool $30 000 every day.
Those with “major problems” fork out more money.
And the number of clients that are visiting him is rising, with a large number being turned away every day.
Married with four kids, Sekuru Banda chronicled how it all began.
“Healing runs in the blood. This is a family thing. Our clan is feared in Malawi where my late father was a prominent healer. I don’t even remember when I started healing people since I was very young then,” he said.
According to Sekuru Banda, 70 percent of his clients’ problems are solved instantly, with 20 percent of the problems getting solved after a short period. He pegged his failure rate at 10 percent.
Sekuru Banda says apart from failing to rid clients of the HIV virus, the only other thing that he cannot do is to raise people from the dead.
He said on a weekly basis, he receives 20 traditional healers from Southern African and teaches them the ropes.
Local church leaders are said to Nicodemously seek the services of the traditional healer as they hope to increase the number of their congregants.
Hailing from Mangochi in Malawi, Sekuru Banda said he refined his healing skills at the Ghana Herbal Medical Students’ Association (GHEMSA) institute in Kumasi.
Although he had initially said he went to school only up to Form Three, the traditional healer later claimed that he is a qualified medical doctor.
Sekuru Banda also has an insatiable appetite for social media and features there regularly.
A practising Muslim, he claimed that he receives close to 20 000 WhatsApp messages every day.
The affable traditional healer also talked about the downstream business opportunities that have been created by his services. “If you go into town, there are commuter omnibuses that ferry people from Simon Muzenda Street right to my doorstep. I also gather that every day, more than 20 people who will be waiting for their chance to see me, stay at hotels in town.
“On the other side, we now have fewer thieves in Harare since most thieves are now afraid of my punishments,” he added.
Among some of the charitable work that he champions is a social soccer team - Dhudhudha Stars - a team he says was named after his son Nourride’s nickname.
Whilst some church leaders are struggling to attract more congregants, Sekuru Banda seem to be enjoying fun in the sun.
A pensive Dr Banda in his consulting room
Scribe meets traditional healer . . . Tendai Chara shakes hands with Dr Banda at the conclusion of the interview