Silinde u-Yesu (Awaiting Christ Church)

An apocalyptic cult known for rejecting medicine and the discovery of dead bodies at their site

1990s - 2003

Nokulunga Fiphaza (founder) (via Journeyman Pictures)

Silinde u-Yesu, or the Awaiting Christ Church, a cult in South Africa, stands out for its fervent belief in the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ. At the core of Silinde u-Yesu's teachings is the conviction that members must live a life of purity and devotion, preparing themselves for Christ's return. This belief has led to the adoption of specific lifestyle choices that starkly differentiate the members from the broader society. Among these are strict dietary guidelines that exclude certain foods deemed impure, communal living arrangements that aim to foster a closer spiritual community, and a cautious approach to technology, which the church argues distracts from spiritual devotion.

The church's leader, a charismatic figure who claims to have a direct line to divine insight, has been both revered by members and questioned by outsiders. This leader's teachings emphasize a departure from modern societal norms, advocating for a return to what they interpret as a more authentic, unblemished way of living. This has included, according to reports, strict dietary regulations, communal living arrangements, and a renunciation of certain technological advancements that are seen as distractions from spiritual focus.

However, it is the controversies surrounding Silinde u-Yesu that have drawn the most attention. Critics accuse the church of isolating its members from their families and the broader community, creating a closed society where questioning the leadership or doctrines is not tolerated. There have been alarming stories of families torn apart, with members ceasing all contact with those outside the church. The group's practices, especially those involving children, have raised eyebrows and prompted calls for investigation by authorities.

One of the most controversial aspects of Silinde u-Yesu is its insular nature. Reports have surfaced of members being encouraged, or even required, to cut ties with family members not affiliated with the church. Moreover, the church's practices concerning children have been a point of contention. There are claims of children being raised in a highly controlled environment, with limited exposure to the outside world, including conventional education systems, which has raised concerns about their welfare and rights.

Attempts to investigate or gain a deeper understanding of Silinde u-Yesu have often been met with resistance. The church maintains a guarded stance towards the media and researchers, leading to a scarcity of verified information about its internal workings. This lack of transparency has fueled further speculation and concern about the nature of its practices.

In 2003, twelve members were arrested for their involvement in hiding the bodies of deceased members. The cult is believed to have dissolved shortly after these arrests.

Religion: Christianity

Denomination: Evangelical

Founder: Nokulunga Fiphaza

Founded: 1990s (estimated)

Ended: 2003

Location: Umtata, South Africa

Size: over 100

Offshoot of: Apostolic Faith Church

Other info:

Investigative Documentary on the Cult