If a Tavern can have an ATM, why can't the church have one too? – Bishop Makamu

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He’s been on TV so often, his voice is quite familiar on one of South Africa's most followed shows,
however, fans of Moja Love reality talk show Rea Tsotella are now getting the unusual element of
Bishop Israel Makamu on TV.
The viewers are given a glance into the pastor’s own life and the entrepreneurial side of the gospel.
July the 2 nd 2019, saw the debut flight on Moja Love of the 13-episode reality show, I Am Bishop I
Mokamu. In the show, Makamu (41) takes viewers for a joy ride, through his life as a family man,
and as at the politics of the church, among other things.
Israel lives in flamboyant suburb in Johannesburg, with his wife, Hloniphile Makamu (34), and children, Ntwanano (12), Ntokozo (10) and Ntsumi (1).
When DRUM visited his place, his older children were one their way back from school and theyoungest was with the nanny in the playroom upstairs of the double-storey mansion.
The bishop told the magazine that he was not comfortable with having pictures of his home taken. “Idon’t like showing off my house because I’m not a flashy guy. I’m just a regular guy from ekasi,” hesaid and added; “I avoid bragging about the things God’s blessed me with.”
At the same time, Hloniphile was busy shooting diary scenes for the reality show. “Moja Love approached me to do the show because they wanted someone who was a prominent speaker andthey chose me and I obliged,” Israel said.
The reality show looks into his day-to-day activities, which also features some of his popular friends.
“I feature Sipho Makhabane, Tinah Zungu, Keke Phoofolo and many other gospel greats who areclose to me.
“I want viewers to see that even men and women of God are normal people who deal with everyday
issues. And we talk about everything because they’re like my brothers,” he said.
The debut episode shows a young couples in a counselling session, as they discuss challenges in
their marriages.
“Every episode needs to teach people something. It’s a positive projection of the church.

“But it won’t be boring, I can tell you that. Expect a lot of drama and issues that a lot of pastors don’taddress. Like the issue of money and church,” the bishop said.
Israel added that he won’t be cherry-picking thus selecting what to and not to show viewers; “I won’t show myself as a perfect bishop. I want people to see conflicts with my wife at home and how we handle them.
“I talk about money and why I have a speed point (swipe machine) at my church.
“I mean, if a nightclub or a tavern can have a speed point, why can’t the church have one?”
He added that a church is not so different from entrepreneurship: “As much as the church is a place of healing and worship, it’s also a business.
“I get a salary from my church like a doctor does at his practice.
“I’m a businessman and people will see I’m not here to play games,” said Israel who has 14 churches across the country and 84 employees in total.


The man of the cloth is known for his non-conventional style of preaching and speaking in Tsotsitaal, but admitted that he should change his way of thinking.
“Who says I can’t speak the way I do? People think they’re mini Jesus’ on Earth and that they can judge people’s ways of speaking or dressing,” he said.
Israel believes preaching graduated was his divine given gift, despite him being a theology diploma holder {from the Christian Family Church International (CFCI) Bible College}. “My gift comes naturally and Bible school was just a bonus,” he said.
He and his wife Hloniphile met in Katlehong in 2003 and married in 2005.
“I remember that day very well. I’d just dropped off a friend and I saw her standing by the traffic lights.
“I stopped the car and got out to speak to her. I’d never approached a woman before. It took me
almost a week to get her attention.
“I had to follow her around and wait for her at the taxi stop before I could speak to her properly. I was
so nervous because I hadn’t asked a woman out before. But I persevered because in Hloniphile I
had seen a wife,” he added.
At that time, she was 19 and studying nursing at Ann Latsky Nursing College in Johannesburg.

 “I was the first person to be a born-again Christian in my family and when I met my husband, he
was also a person of the church. So he and I spoke the same language,” she told the magazine.
The two prayed and attended church together, Hloniphile little did she thought she would be married
to a pastor.
“I wanted the usual things – a job, a house, a husband, family and children. I was nervous when he asked me to marry him and told me he was preparing to be a pastor.
“I was nervous about being Mam’fundisi [a bishop’s wife]. But I accepted it because it was my calling from God.
“It’s a lot of work but it was all God’s plan for my journey,” she said.
Hloniphile also tried theology alongside her nursing studies, but it didn’t work out. “It was too much
pressure for me to be doing two courses and I wanted to complete nursing, so I put theology on hold
in the second year,” she added.
Israel had this to say about her; “Every calling is a gift from God. Even in nursing, my wife is helping
others.”
He strongly believes in helping the less privileged and added that being a TV presenter is one thing.
“You speak to people to make a positive change in their lives. One is just on a Sunday on the pulpit
while the other’s on TV,” he said.
For him preaching runs in the family, his father, Titus Makamu, who died in 2017, was a pastor and
so is his mom, Rophinia, who’s still active in the church.
“I started preaching in secondary school and my peers started calling me Bishop in high school.
Whenever there was a prayer that needed to be said, they relied on me,” he said.
Growing up as a pastor’s child was a tough balancing act with a lot of expectations from the community.
“When you’re a pastor’s child you’re expected to be perfect. I was far from perfect. I didn’t drink or smoke and I was family oriented but there were times when I didn’t feel like going to church or being
involved in church activities.
“And that was considered to be rebellious. Maybe that’s what helped me to understand people’s
differences. “Thank goodness I turned out okay,” he said.


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