All aboard for your morning sermon

19 November 2017 - 13:56 By Bafana Nzimande
File photo.
File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

Church leaders have grabbed headlines with their controversial rituals‚ from feeding worshippers grass to administering prayers to cure erectile dysfunction in their followers' bedrooms.

But there are some preachers who offer their services in a less glamorous setting.

Among the hundreds of train commuters who board the 6am train from Naledi to Johannesburg is Fisani Moabelo‚ one of many individuals who preaches in the train.

The mother of two from Protea‚ Soweto‚ conducts her session every weekday as she heads to work.

"This is a calling. I know some people are against having a female preacher the same way others say women are not supposed to be in leadership positions. But we are all created the same. My responsibility is to share the knowledge and motivate others through prayer‚" said Moabelo.

The packed train Moabelo is traveling in is alive with soul soothing African hymns.

"Ukholo lami ngizonyuka nalo‚" commuters cheerfully sing as the train approaches Kwezi Train Station‚ collecting more passengers heading to Johannesburg.

Moved by the melody‚ some commuters clap hands and nod their heads in rhythm with the songs.

With the Bible in her hand‚ Moabelo paces around the coach as she reads a few scriptures during song breaks. Hawkers selling a variety of items walk pass the coach‚ causing no major distraction as she continues to deliver the word.

"Toilet paper‚ R4 one‚" shouts a man carrying a big plastic bag with several toilets paper rolls. The seller slowly walks through the coach and nobody buys his product. Moabelo takes no notice of passing hawkers‚ continuing to raise her voice as she reads from the Bible.

A few commuters‚ mostly school children‚ are not bothered by her. Their focus is firmly on their cellphones.

But the majority of passengers are listening and engaging with Moabelo as shouts of "amen" can be heard whenever she seems to hit the right notes.

"The people preaching in the trains are doing a great job. We live in a fast-paced environment and some of us don't have time to go to church on Sundays. The singing puts me in a good mood in the morning‚" said train commuter Thulani Mabaso.

But not every commuter likes to be part of the morning church‚ others want to peacefully mind their own business.

"We have a lot of fake preachers out there. People are using religion to make an income that is why I don't trust most of these people‚" said Pamela Moloi who said she always avoids coaches with preachers.

Moabelo offers a closing prayer as the train reaches Johannesburg station around 6.50am. Passengers walk out the coach and no one was asked to make any financial contribution.

ANC Conference 2017
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