Yearly pilgrimage gets under way

ZCC SHEPHERD: Bishop Lekganyane. Pic. Sydney Seshibedi. 11/04/03. © Sunday Times.
ZCC SHEPHERD: Bishop Lekganyane. Pic. Sydney Seshibedi. 11/04/03. © Sunday Times.

Selby Makgotho

Selby Makgotho

Millions of members of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) will converge at the church's headquarters in Moria, east of Polokwane, this weekend for the annual Easter pilgrimage.

This will lead to traffic volumes on Limpopo's major roads increasing considerably this afternoon.

The traffic pile-up is expected to last until Monday, when the followers will be heading back home.

Rev Emmanuel Motolla, the ZCC's spokesman, said yesterday that the church would hold a special service on Sunday afternoon.

"It is this time of the year again, when thousands of the ZCC faithful from all over the country come to the Zion City to spend their Easter weekend," Motolla said.

He said the prayer services would start today and end with a service on Sunday at which Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane would speak.

In its annual Easter report, the church said that more than 5million people had attended last year's Easter celebrations.

The church yesterday said it was confident that people would again flock to Moria in large numbers.

The church also has a large following in Botswana, more than in any other African country except South Africa.

Limpopo premier Sello Moloto has given his special blessings to those who will attend the Easter services.

Moloto, who has attended every Easter mass at Moria in recent years, said it was customary for many people to travel at Easter to with their families, friends and relatives.

"Our province in particular is expected to receive millions of people from the continent who will be visiting Moria, United African Apostolic Church, in the Nzhelele Valley, and other annual-pilgrimage destinations.

"The Kruger National Park and Mapungubwe are also among the major international tourism attractions that will see many paying visits," Moloto said.

He urged people not to drink and drive, not to overload their vehicles, to fasten their seatbelts and to take periodic rests when travelling long distances.

l Sapa reports that three people were taken to hospital after a driver had a heart attack at an intersection and crashed into another vehicle in Limpopo yesterday.

ER24 spokesman Riana Beech said the accident took place at about 9am at the intersection of the Cheunespoort and Tzaneen Pass roads.

A family in a Nissan 1400 bakkie were travelling to Moria when the driver, a man, is believed to have suffered a heart attack.

His bakkie collided with a Toyota HiAce minibus.

The woman in the bakkie was treated for neck and back injuries. The couple's 11-year-old son had a broken leg.

"All three members of the family were transported by ambulance to the Polokwane provincial hospital," said Beech.

"The driver of the HiAce sustained no injuries."