By Ryan Velez
The Old Black Church reports that Pastor Mboro of South Africa claimed that he has a selfie he snapped in Heaven—but is unable to produce the goods after losing his cellphone.
According to the televangelist and self-proclaimed prophet(real name Paseka Motsoeneng), he got the pictures after being lifted to Heaven by a beam of light from above during an Easter Sunday service in Johannesburg. On a Facebook page belonging to Mboro, he shared some of the details of this trip, including meeting Jesus’s wife, a member of the African Xhosa people, and taking pictures of Heaven on his Samsung smartphone.
What may sound like a bizarre, yet harmless, story took a more sinister turn when it was revealed by a spokesperson for the pastor that not only did the pictures exist, but people could see them by wiring 5,000 grand to Mboro’s Incredible Happenings church. After being called out by social media users, he agreed to post the pictures, but before this took place, the phone went missing.
One of Mboro’s bodyguards claimed that the phone was stolen. Speaking to South African news website ENCA, he said, “The pictures were really there, I saw them. We suspect one of the boys washing the Prophet’s car took the phone. But they all denied taking it, even after we threatened them.” It was added that all those who had deposited money would be refunded.
South Africa’s Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission) is taking the matter seriously, planning to file charges against Mboro for fraud. He has already had issues with CRL in the past for not providing audited financial statements, and the Commission has now requested to see the selfies.
In an interview with ENCA, CRL chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva described the events as “another fundraising gimmick as far as we are concerned,” and “extortion and commercialization of religion.” Following the threats, Mboro has now said that this trip to Heaven never took place and that the Facebook page promising the selfies was fake.
This is not Mboro’s first brush with controversy. In 2011, he was accused of sexually assaulting women during ‘miracle healing’ sessions for infertility and illness. This earned him the nickname of ‘Biscuit Pastor’ after a term used for female genitalia. An incident on his television show where he caused a person in a wheelchair to stand and walk was also deemed as fake.