SHEPHERD Huxley Bushiri (born 20 February 1983), known as Major 1 or Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, is a Christian preacher, motivational speaker, Author and businessman from Malawi. He founded and leads a Christian non-denominational evangelical church known as the Enlightened Christian Gathering.The church has headquarters in Pretoria, South Africa with branches in Zambia and other African countries and around the world. Tens of thousands of people are attracted to the church every day. He describes the church as a Prophetic Ministry based on the principle that God cares and loves people and wants to speak directly to them.
Bushiri also runs a global investment company, Shepherd Bushiri Investments (Pty) Ltd, which is based in Sandton near Johannesburg, with interests in mining, real estate, an airline and other entrepreneurial pursuits. According to Bushiri, he ventured into business to support his family as he does not believe the church must support his family.
Shepherd Bushiri grew up in Mzuzu, which is in the northern part of Malawi. His mother gave him the name Shepherd due to the complexities around his birth, acknowledging the Lord as her Shepherd. At a young age, he had a spiritual encounter that led him to dedicate his life to serving God. He travels around the world holding crusades and meetings focused on teaching, prophesy and healing.
In August 2018, he was invited as a guest of honor at South Africa’s National Day of Inter-faith prayer held at the Emirates Airline Stadium in Johannesburg, during which he offered prayers of reconciliation and unity. The event was attended by South African leading clergy and South Africa’s Vice President David Mabuza.
Shepherd Bushiri started his first business at an early age after receiving a small loan from his father. The loan was used in farming with profits reinvested into larger ventures. He is now known as one of the wealthiest pastors in the world and one of the most affluent people in Africa.
Bushiri is mentored by multimillionaire businessman and leader of Good News Church in UK, Prophet Uebert Angel. Bushiri is said to be the most celebrated and popular Spiritual Son of Prophet Angel. Angel has other Spiritual sons including but not limited to Africa-based Romeo Marom, Bulgaria based miracle worker Maksim Asenov, leader of Imperial City Church, Isaiah Brian Sovi and South African based Apostle Miz Tancred.
Enlightened Christian Gathering
The Enlightened Christian Gathering is reported as one of the fastest growing churches in Africa and the world.
On the night of 28 December 2018, three people died and nine others were injured during a stampede at the ECG Church caused by people trying to avoid a thunderstorm. Bushiri’s spokesman Maynard Manyowa told media that “The ECG Church is not his [Bushiri’s] church, it belongs to South Africa and South Africans.” Manyowa also said that the deaths were “not his [Bushiri’s] problem, but a problem that the church must deal with.”
Bushiri’s services attract over 100,000 viewers via his personally owned television station, social media and in-person attendees. His largest gatherings are held on New Year’s Eve at FNB Stadium, South Africa with over 95,000 attendees both in 2016 and 2017. The FNB Stadium is the largest stadium in Africa.
Shepherd Bushiri’s company, SB Investments (Pty) Ltd, is an international investment company, based in Sandton near Johannesburg, with interests in oil, mining, real estate, transportation and the hospitality industry. On February 20, 2018, Bushiri launched one of his hotel investments, a multimillion-dollar property in South Africa. SBI has a special interest in supporting governments including economies of fragile state countries. In 2017 Bushiri was hosted by the Vice President of South Sudan – Dr James Igga, Reserve Bank Governor and Finance Minister during which a business deal was signed in the area of infrastructure and development. In 2018 Shepherd Bushiri was given the prestigious award and induction into the CEO Hall of Fame by the African Leadership Magazine.
Shepherd Bushiri has been involved in many charitable works around the world, including work in Malawi, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Botswana and South Africa. He provides charitable donations including livelihood support; educational support for orphans; humanitarian relief in the form of food subsidies. On 2017, he took maize to Lilongwe and spent K85 Million in Malawi Charity. He has invested in young people through his sports academy and through Major 1 Records which sponsors and show-cases up-and-coming music artists. In July 18, 2018, Nelson Mandela Day, Bushiri launched an Africa-wide school adoption program with donations to a local school. The event was attended by Senior Government Officials from the South Africa Ministry of Education.
In March 2019 Bushiri visited Alexandra, which had suffered a fire that burned over 100 shacks. He visited the area, spoke to the residents and said that he would donate R400,000 (equivalent to approx $29,000) to emergency services “that should be used for the children in the area.”
Bushiri has been accused of making unproven claims of “curing HIV.” He countered that he has never performed a miracle in his life because only Jesus can. Nevertheless, due to claims of unproven miracles, Botswana temporarily banned him from entering the country before courts ruled the ECG church is allowed to continue operating in the country. Initially he was free to enter the country at will but now is required to apply for a visa every time he wants to enter Botswana.
In 2017, he was involved in a bitter exchange of words with Zambian government officials after the latter deported his spiritual father Prophet Angel.
Fees for public dinners
The fees charged to attend some of Bushiri’s public dinners have been questioned. It was reported that he charged up to R25,000 for a seat at his table at a gala dinner held on 23 December 2017 at the Pretoria Showground, and N$1,000 for entry to a dinner held in Windhoek, Namibia in January 2016. Bushiri in several news interviews categorically refuted the published extreme pricing claims for “so-called gala dinners” calling them “fabricated.”
Allegedly, during a church service in March 2017, Bushiri announced that he wanted to make members of his church into millionaires. Congregants were then told via email to invest at least R100 000 in cash with him within the next two days and were promised a 50% return within 30 banking days. Those that could not bring cash with them to the church were sent banking details of a company, Rising Estates, the directors of which are Bushiri lieutenants, Willah Mudolo, Duncan Oduor Otieno and Kit Ching Catherine Kum. Almost two years later, the people who gave Bushiri money claim to have not received anything back.
It is alleged that in 2010 Bushiri impregnated a teenage Malawian woman, whom he met in 2007 in their home town, Mzimba. It is further claimed that he bribed her with a cheque for 80 000 Malawian kwacha (about R1,500) to have an abortion but that the cheque bounced. The woman subsequently gave birth in 2011 to a girl who “is the spitting image of Bushiri and it is widely known in the district that he is the biological father,” according to the father of the woman. The woman is now married and the family alleges that they “kept quiet out of fear.” The village that the woman and child live in broke the news before the family approached Bushiri. Bushiri claims that the cheque was stolen from him and that, on the day the woman claims he made her pregnant, Bushiri was at a police station dealing with an attempted hijacking. In 2018, the mother again tried to get maintenance via the courts but was unsuccessful. Family members of the girl claim that Bushiri admits to the allegations in private, despite his public denials and have demanded a paternity test. His lawyer, Terrence Baloyi, did not respond to emails, text messages and calls from City Press seeking comment.
On 1 February 2019, Bushiri was arrested together with his wife by South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Investigations (HAWKS) for fraud and money laundering. The Hawks said the case against the couple was linked to alleged offences of fraud and money laundering, as well as the contravention of South Africa’s Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA), which had been committed from 2015. The contravention of the Act was in relation to Exchange Control Regulations relating to foreign currency of $1 147 200.
Bushiri and his wife were each granted R100 000 (approx $7,500) bail after appearing in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria on 6 February 2019. Among the bail conditions were that the couple remain in Gauteng and their travel documents remain with the state. If they needed to travel, they would need to get written permission from investigating officers. Bushiri and wife were also not allowed to make contact with any of the witnesses.
Shepherd Bushiri enjoys football and chess. He is married to Mary Bushiri, an accountant who previously held a senior managerial position for an international development NGO, who now does business ventures and Christian ministry. The Bushiris have two daughters.