Nazareth Baptist Church

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Nazareth Baptist Church (Alternatively called "The Nazarite Church" "iBandla lamaNazaretha") is an African Initiated Church founded by Isaiah Shembe 1910.[1]

It has approximately 4 million members.[2] The religion bans smoking, drinking, adultery and fornicating.[3] It reveres Shembe as a Prophet sent by God to restore the teachings of Moses, the Prophets and those of Jesus. The Nazareth Baptist church also places great significance in abiding by the laws that God Jehovah brought down on the earth, through Moses his Prophet.

It was divided into two groups after the 1976 death of his holiness, Johannes Galilee Shembe. The larger group was led by Bishop Amos Shembe until his death in 1995, while the Rt. Rev. Londa Shembe led the smaller more progressive group..[4]

As of 2009 it was divided into four factions – three in KwaZulu-Natal and one in Gauteng.[5]

The religion uses endangered leopard skins as part of their ceremonies, which some activists are trying to stop or replace with synthetic leopard skin.[6]


The Shembe begin each year with a Holy pilgrimage to iNhlangakazi or Khenana Mountain, on the first Sunday of the New Year. It is said that Isaiah Shembe was drawn to the area where the Holy Spirit told him to start the Church.[7]

They also hold a month-long celebration in Judea near Eshowe every year in October, where members gather to receive the blessings of Shembe.[7]

World Cup legal challenge[edit]

In early 2010 the Nazareth Baptist Church claimed that the vuvuzela horn, used by fans attending football matches in South Africa, actually belongs to their church. They threatened to pursue legal action to stop supporters from playing the vuvuzela at the South African World Cup.[8] However, no legal proceedings were initiated.


  1. ^ Fisher, Jonah (16 January 2010). "Unholy row over World Cup trumpet". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  2. ^ "In pictures: South African pilgrims". BBC. 21 January 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  3. ^ McGregor, Sarah (October 31, 2006). "Charismatic Shembe thriving". Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  4. ^ "Isaiah Shembe and the amaNazarites". University of Calgary. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  5. ^ Memela, Mhlaba (30 June 2009). "Shembe house torched - Nazareth faction leader fears for his life after attack". Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  6. ^ Shembe snarl at mock leopard skin
  7. ^ a b "On a Shembe Pilgrimage". South African Tourism. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  8. ^ Fisher, Jonah (16 January 2010). "Unholy row over World Cup trumpet". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 

External links[edit]