WATCH | 'Amstel! Hallelujah!': Inside SA's 'unconventional' churches

"Bishop" Tsietsi Makiti's Gabola Church is largely scorned but he claims it does not only focus on booze but also has social projects to uplift the community.
"Bishop" Tsietsi Makiti's Gabola Church is largely scorned but he claims it does not only focus on booze but also has social projects to uplift the community.
Image: KABELO MOKOENA

We takes a closer look at some of the country’s more unconventional churches and what attracts people to them.

“Pope” Tsietsi Makiti lifts his hands towards the tavern goers and blesses them with the words: “Amstel! Hallelujah!”

“At Gabola tavern we drink, and we don’t hide from God that we are drinking,” says Makiti, who is dressed in traditional church robes and wears a mitre embroidered with a golden cross on his head.

“After the sermon, we invite all new members to come forward and be baptised. You come with your beer, your water, your milk or tea and we baptise you with it.”

The Gabola church in Orange Farm, Johannesburg, is one of many unconventional churches that have mushroomed across South Africa in recent years, prompting the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities to launch an investigation into abuse in churches.

Read the full in-depth feature on Times Select.


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