Prophet Walter Magaya who embraced seven dancers in the glare of publicity has quietly dumped them.
His Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries (PHD) has withdrawn the dancers allowances after Bev Sibanda quit the church and returned to the dance floor. The dancers, who were not part of Bev’s Sexy Angels, were receiving about US$100 for rentals and about US$50 for food each since they had confessed in church that they had resorted to dancing in nightclubs to earn a living. Bev’s move back to the dirty dancing floor is said to have angered Prophet Walter Magaya of PHD and his advisors to the extent that they are said to have abandoned the project of rehabilitating female dancers and commercial sex workers.
However, what has stung the seven dancers the most is that one of Bev’s former sidekicks, identified only as Elena, who refused to return to nightclubs with her former employer to remain in the church, is still enjoying her benefits.
“I do not know whether to be angry at the prophet for grouping us with Beverly’s dancers that left the church or to be upset with Bev herself for leaving the church in the first place. We were adjusting to better, cleaner lives while we received those monies, but now we are forced to find ways of earning a living,” said one of the dancers who refused to be named as she is still part of the church.
The dancer, who hopes that the prophet will have a change of heart and resume giving them allowances, says she feels there is favouritism at play.
“It does not make sense that now we have to pay for Beverly’s sins. To make matters worse we are the only group that has been affected by this, because Elena is still being looked after while three self-confessed commercial sex workers that were also benefitting got US$500 each to start small businesses,” she complained.
At the beginning of this year, Prophet Magaya’s ratings shot through the roof after he claimed that he had converted top strip tease dancer-cum-singer Beverly to Christianity. Magaya told his followers and the world that he had been instructed by God to take Beverly out of her dirty dancing.
The PHD founder immediately announced that he would ensure that Beverly was well taken care of by helping her start and run a business.
Magaya made the same offer to other dancers and commercial sex workers in his church who felt that they needed a “fresh start”. But Bev, the face of Zimbabwe’s dirty dancing scene, did not even wait for the dust to settle before causing a stir in the church. Having been used to getting money every day through her many shows, Bev’s trips to Magaya’s Marlborough residence for cash top-ups became frequent. Troubles mounted as she got into an altercation with Magaya’s bodyguard and was thoroughly beaten, fought with other girls and started making unannounced visits at Magaya’s residence, much to the chagrin of the church founder himself and other congregates.
Her clothing shop, which she says was “very slow”, failed to give her the lifestyle she desired and inevitably, in April, Beverly quit the church saying a lot of unprintable words concerning the church and its founder.
The botched conversion of Beverly remains one of Magaya’s biggest failures since he became a household name. Efforts to get a comment from PHD Ministries were fruitless as the spokesperson, Oscar Pambuka, who earlier on in a telephone interview had agreed to get a response to our questions from Magaya, became evasive.