Over the years, members of the various Apostolic sects (Vapostori) have been looked down upon by many as uneducated and poverty-stricken.
This notion is reinforced by the fact that most madzibaba and madzimai (Apostolic sect followers) are known for being entrepreneurial as most prefer to work for themselves and run small businesses for survival.
The Vapostori are also known for their humble lifestyles and practices which see them worshipping in open spaces with no shed as well as not wearing shoes when going to church.
However, one Apostolic leader from Chitungwiza Owen Chingondi who is popularly known as Madzibaba Owen, last Sunday showed the world that the religion is not only for the poverty-stricken as perceived by many.
The 37-year-old Madzibaba, who leads the Johanne Masowe Echishanu’s Velvet branch, stunned many, when he arrived for a church service at his Chitungwiza shrine in a helicopter.
This has attracted a lot of attention and has stirred debate especially on social media, with even some high-profile naysayers rushing to research and speculate on the ownership of the helicopter.
The Saturday Herald caught up with the trending Apostolic leader at his shrine that is located near Makoni Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza.
“I was born in Highfield on 12 December 1984. I am a father of four children, including twins,” he said.
“I grew up in Highfield and went to Tsungai Primary School and then attended Mukai High for my secondary education. I am known for being prayerful since my childhood and I have never smoked or taken alcohol.”
Madzibaba Owen went on to reveal that he runs a fleet of buses and also owns several retail shops which affords him a decent lifestyle.
Questioned on the ownership of the helicopter which brought him to last Sunday’s church service, he could neither deny nor confirm if he owns the plane as he refused to dwell much on the ownership issue.
“Yes, the helicopter was here last Sunday and I am the one who came with it, but people should be content with seeing me with it as they will continue seeing me with it even in the coming years.
“People should not be surprised if they see the same helicopter with other people as it will be at work, hired by other people who are also free to have photos taken on it because that is its job,” said Madzibaba Owen.
He added that the reason for bringing the helicopter to the shrine was not for purposes of showing off.
“The reason for its coming here was that as Mapostori, we believe that our belongings need to be brought to the holy ground so that they are blessed by the Holy Spirit, that is why you find that we also bring our buses and cars to the shrine,” he said.
Madzibaba Owen’s shrine is also known for having top of the range vehicles such as Hummers, Fortuners and top of the range Mercedes Benz parked almost on a daily basis.
Those big cars are owned by our church members who have been blessed by God. Most of our church members did not come to our church already owning those cars, but acquired them after being blessed with fortunes by the Holy Spirit,” he said.
Madzibaba Owen reiterated his call that people should not look down upon Mapostori as they have equal capabilities just like any other person.
“We need to respect every religion and people from other religions should not look down on us as people who are poor and dull. Many Vapostori are very successful in life just like any other people.”
The Apostolic sect leader, who is also the Harare Province chair for Vapostori4ED said that his biggest message to the nation was that of unity.
“My message to the nation is that we should pray for our country so that we prosper in everything that we do. Even as we approach next year’s elections, we should pray and as part of the leadership for Vapostori4ED, we promise to mobilise a lot of votes for President Mnangagwa so that he romps to victory,” said Madzibaba Owen. State Media