We tend to believe anything ... and with all our hearts

ONCE, very many years ago, I asked a little boy what he wanted to be when he grew up. "Me? Err, let me see-- an archbishop," he replied.

Something went horribly awry down the line. He dropped out of school after just a few years, did petty crime (like stealing nappies off neighbours' washing lines and cutting off people's water taps to sell as scrap metal) and did numerous stints in jail.

The last time I saw him, which was a few years back, he was the epitome of the adage: crime does not pay.

We asked after each other and as we shook hands he kept nodding his head and repeating: "God is good. God is good brother. He is good."

God-speak from one who was generally regarded as the scumbag of his neighbourhood made me think he might still harbour the ambition to become a man of the cloth.

Believe it or not, ours is a country of opportunities where most things are possible.

Without casting any aspersions on the religious in our midst, anyone can start their own church, grow a beard (to look the part), don a white lab coat, canvass membership and get them to call you Baba Archbishop.

You do not have to know one line from the Bible or any religious text, nor be able to speak well (though it helps).

If it is your own church, you call yourself what you want.

To my knowledge that is breaking no law. In fact, our Constitution is quite sensitive about the religious beliefs of the people - so sensitive they are in a quandary about the Rastafarians and their use of the herb for "religious" purposes.

We have all picked up pamphlets in the streets advertising mind-blowing services offered to the public by operators who promise anything from making your employers to like you to making you "see" your enemies in a mirror.

The police will tell you that many cash-in-transit robbers undergo rituals they believe will make them invisible when they commit the crime.

They get caught but still go back to the same people to help them "confuse" the magistrates so they can get acquitted.

Damn, we are a nation of believers. We believe anything, and with all our hearts. It is sad that in spite of the over-arching "wisdom" of our know-alls, and their perceived ability to manufacture lightning, they could not even get us past the first round of the World Cup.

Many of these amazing people go by esteemed titles such as Dr and Prof. One even called himself Bishop Professor Dr Banda . just to make sure. I am sure there must be a law against it, but while the law enforcers are still snoozing, or looking the other way, the charlatans are having a ball and counting their financial blessings.

I would not be surprised if the young fellow who went off the rails ends up realising his childhood ambition.

He could die a highly respected founding father of some St Bonaparte Apostolic Faith Mission Ethiopian Church of Zion in Nazareth.

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