THE number of men claiming to be Jesus in central and southern
parts of Africa has increased in recent months, Anglican News
reported last week. At least four men have claimed to be the Son of
God in the past month alone.
Mupeta Chishimba, of Kitwe, Zambia, was attacked by an angry mob
when he claimed to be Christ, and said that all Jesus's power had
been reincarnated in him. Mr Chisimba said that his mission as
Jesus was to put an end to all political governments. "I am Jesus
Christ from the heavens, who has come to save you from this world,"
he said. "No one can stop me, because I possess the divine
A Zimbabwean man, Abdullah Ncube, was saved by riot police on 12
January, when he was tied down by a mob at a shopping centre in his
home city of Bulawayo, after claiming that he could perform
miracles. After the story was reported in a local newspaper,
The Chronicle, Mr Ncube entered their offices and
threatened to "kill all journalists".
A South African man, Moses Hlongwane, has attracted followers in
his home province of KwaZulu-Natal, in eastern South Africa, who
regularly give him gifts of money. He claims that he spent time in
the wilderness, after which he was reincarnated as Jesus Christ,
and that he is now immortal.
A clinical psychologist at the University of East London, Dr
David Harper, believes that the most common reason for people
claiming to be Jesus is grandiose delusions, a form of delusional
disorder often called the Messiah complex. He noted that the claims
of the four most recent Jesuses to bring an end to poverty or
political turmoil were common themes to those suffering from
grandiose delusions. "They're common among people who feel quite
devalued and powerless in society," he said.
Mr Chishimba and Mr Ncube have been attacked by angry mobs for
their claims, which Dr Harper believes may fuel their beliefs. "In
a bizarre way, being beaten up, if you genuinely believe you are
Jesus, might make that belief stronger. 'Here I am, being
persecuted,' in the way scripture says."