Uebert Angel: From grace to grass

Prophet Uebert Angel faces possible jail term, a life-threatening disease and a stream of accusations involving illicit relationships with various women.

Prophet Uebert Angel faces possible jail term, a life-threatening disease and a stream of accusations involving illicit relationships with various women.

Our reporter Phyllis Mbanje recounts the exploits of the youthful preacher who took Zimbabwe’s gospel scene by storm.

Flamboyant and sharp tongued, Prophet Angel made his way into the public glare in 2011, championing the gospel of prosperity.

The tall and lanky prophet, who dressed with a flourish, quickly became one of the most sought after prophets locally and regionally. Fondly referred to as “Papa” or “Major” by his congregants at Spirit Embassy, the youthful prophet — whose collection of flashy cars endeared him to the youthful group in his church — was unapologetic about his boastful tirades.

He reached an all-time high with his miracle money sermons which almost got him into trouble with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe officials, but wriggled his way out of it and became even more popular.

To add cherry on the pie, beside him was his lovely wife Beverley whose pixie haircut became the trend overnight.

Women paid a fortune (some still do) to have that cut. Brash and just as captivating as her husband, Beverly — who is the co-founder and vice-president and overseer of Spirit Embassy — soon had the masses eating right out of her dainty hands.

The powerful couple knew no boundaries and seemed set to scale even greater heights with their free-to-air station Miracle TV.

Prophet Angel’s prophecy of events, however, were met with mixed feelings, with some dismissing him as a fraudster and a cheat.

He is said to have accurately predicted the death of the first president of the autonomous region of Bougainville, off the coast of Papua New Guinea, Joseph Kabui, as well as air crashes in Sudan and Spain and other events, such as football results.

He allegedly gave dates and time to his predictions, some of which came a year earlier to the actual event. Some of his famous predictions included the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

“I was in the visions of the Lord when he started to show me visions of a lady, an old lady in a coffin, a very, very popular lady,” he said in a video clip captured that time.

“I want you to write at the end of your pages MT. This is an Anglican Church right here, it’s a white lady and it’s not in Zimbabwe or Africa,” he said.

His “critics” took him to task over the Thatcher prophecy calling his bluff.

However, before long he was at it again in December 2013.

A video statement issued by the Spirit Embassy church and read out by TV personality Tichafa Matambanadzo, claimed that Angel had predicted the death of Nelson Mandela.

“On Sunday the 1st of December 2013 during a live Sunday service Prophet Angel gave another prophetic word concerning the death of the revolutionary leader and first black President of South Africa and asked the congregants to pray over the life of the former statesman,” Matambanadzo said.

Once again he received a backlash from many quarters, with some arguing why he only predicted doom and gloom.

He defended “his gift”, saying he only spoke as guided by the spirit and not his own making. Not convinced people started digging up dirt and dragging ugly secrets from the prophet’s closet.

His “detractors” blasted him for changing his name from Mudzanire to Angel and returning to Zimbabwe after failing to attract a sizeable crowd in United Kingdom where he had relocated years earlier.

He shrugged off the allegation saying he had been called by God to come and preach, perform miracles and heal people.

“But most of his sermons were about what he had achieved materially. At first we were all impressed, but with time it began to irritate some of us,” said a former congregant.

She, however, said most of the members were cowed into submission by Angel whom she said was a control freak and wanted to dominate. “Seeking an audience with him was an impossible task. Only the big partners who brought in loads of cash were allowed to see him even without appointment,” she complained.

Socialising with the congregation after service was unheard of as the bouncers around him kept him beyond reach.

Angel received a lot of negative publicity for making people kneel before him. He was accused of drawing his powers from some priest in Nigeria who was closely linked to his spiritual father Victor Kusi Boateng.

He was also accused of using occult charms and power, to perform miracles and a team of pastors from Ghana threatened to come and seek audience with the President Robert Mugabe and expose him.

Feeling the heat Angel relocated to the United Kingdom, allegedly to spend time with his wife, but his departure did nothing to stem the controversy around him.

The media was awash with reports that the esteemed preacher/prophet was also battling a brain tumour.

In December last year he was implicated in a $300 000 fraud case in which he allegedly connived with a local car dealer and swindled a Harare businessman of a Bentley luxury vehicle.

The man claims that Angel refused to return the Bentley given to him on the promise that the “seed” would, in a matter of months, multiple three times in value.

In a typical case of how the mighty have fallen, Angel now has a warrant of arrest over his head.

Efforts to get a comment from Angel last week were unsuccessful.