More harrowing stories of women congregants being given to men for sex have emerged among allegations of brutal abuse from former members of the Endumisweni Church Mission in Mdantsane.
The church has come under fire after a video went viral at the weekend of girl being beaten, allegedly by gospel singer Tsidi Spampool, the founder and leader of Endumisweni Gospel Group.
On Monday an emotional Noluthando Mondile, 48, recalled how she lost her virginity to a man allegedly given to her as a potential future husband in the early 90s.
“I joined when I was a teenager in 1987 and I left in 1995. We lived there, and I was given a man to have sex with. I was just a teenager and confused, and that is how I was robbed off my virginity.”
Mondile, now a nurse at a local clinic, said: “I had my own goals on what I wanted to be in life but after joining that church my dreams were shattered. We were made to talk about the sexual encounters with those men in front of everyone. I am a reserved person and I could not talk, and because of that I was severely beaten.”
As a result she contemplated suicide. “When they found out I wanted to kill myself I was told to kneel in front of the congregation and everyone was told to sing so that I could not be heard when crying.”
Siki Magugu, 72, said that in 2017 her epileptic granddaughter, then 16, was severely beaten in front of congregants for “faking her fits”.
“Tsidi said she could lay her hands on her for a healing.
“When we took her there she just beat up the child, saying that she was taking the demon out of her,” she said.
In 2009, Thandokazi Ntinga, 31, fled the church for Johannesburg in 2009. On Monday she accused Spampool of defrauding her niece of R30,000. “My mom died in 2010 and my brothers left the church. The only person who remained was my niece. She had R30,000 that her mother left her in her will. When she turned 18 she took her card and gave it to Tsidi because she was promised she would be sent to school.
“Instead Tsidi used that money to gamble,” she said.
She said her niece, who now lives in Cape Town, had lost faith in religion.
“Ever since she left, she wants nothing to do with church and never wants to come back to East London. Now that she saw that the church might be closed she might come visit again.”
As a public outcry to have the church closed mounted, social development MEC Pumza Dyantyi dispatched a team to investigate the claims.
They would formulate a report and recommend what actions to take, she added.
“Churches, just like any other social structure, are supposed to be sanctuaries for vulnerable members of society. These vulnerable groups include children, women and the elderly.
“It is unthinkable that the very church can be responsible for such acts of barbarism.
“My department will ensure that someone is held accountable for such acts of abuse,” she said.
● On Sunday, the Dispatch approached the church for Spampool’s comment and was told by an unidentified elder that she was not at the church.
“Leave your details. We will call you when we are ready,” the elder said.
No call was received.
– Daily Dispatch