BUSY PLACE: The grounds of the St Engenas Zion Christian Church show how busy and congested the proceedings were at Moria City. INSET: Gospel singer and ZCC follower Marie Fox performs for free at a nearby mall. PICTURE: ELVIS NTOMBELA (FOX PICTURE)
Moria was abuzz with pilgrims who went up and down the mountain overlooking the Zionist Christian Church (ZCC) headquarters at Moria City yesterday, saying prayers.
It was the last day of the Easter conference and the faithful were either deeply emotional or just plain happy.
The prayers on the mountain were symbolic of Christ’s impassioned prayer on the mountain minutes before he was betrayed into the hands of the Pharisees.
The three-day conference and celebration was attended by African leaders – from heads of state, including President Jacob Zuma, to cabinet ministers and business leaders.
Minister of International Affairs Maite Nkwane-Mashabane and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane were among the prominent political leaders in attendance.
Crowds were enthralled by the presence of Julius Malema at the Easter Sunday conference. It was the first time that Malema was seen together with Zuma since his suspension from the ANC Youth League.
Bishop Lekganyane closed the three-day conference by encouraging members of the church to stay strong in their faith. He thanked God for the miraculous signs that the pilgrims witnessed over the three days.
“We should always be faithful to God in good times and in bad times. We thank God for preserving us over this long weekend and we ask him to go home with us,” he said.
Lekganyane encouraged unity in the church and asked worshippers to pray for its leaders.
Despite the strong spiritual factor running throughout, colour added some splendour to the gathering; the blue of young women, the yellow of older women, the military green of high-ranking men and simple khaki of the rank and file, all combined to create a spectacle from out of this world during the main sermon on Sunday.
The sound of a united church choir could be heard for miles around as the sweet melodies in praise of Christ’s resurrection bounced off the mountainsides.
Pilgrims greeted each other with the word “Kgotsong”, which means “peace be upon you”. It has been estimated that more than 2 million pilgrims took part in this year’s Easter pilgrimage.
Some came from other African countries like Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho. Dozens of new adherents were confirmed through pool baptisms.
Click here to see the journey through a photographer's lens