By Kapya Kaoma
Enoch Mwepu’s “miraculous” healing continue to attract attention on social media, yet it illustrates the often ignored link between Christianity and African traditional beliefs. To Westerners, Mwepu’s condition is purely medical and medical opinion is final–his heart condition is hereditary, it cannot be reversed. Says who? An African Christian fundamentalist asks. This is at the heart of Mwepu’s miracle—it speaks to Christian fundamentalist and African traditionalist cosmologies. Behind his actions is an attempt to resolve how such a promising and talented young player’s career could abruptly end without any warning! To an African mind, someone must be responsible. This dilemma is behind his viral video with his prophet–the puzzle must be solved.
As an African, I can’t believe Mwepu has fully accepted his plight. His pain no mortal of great talent can endure easily. So we shouldn’t over judge him–he is so broken to see his dreams shattered just like that. Thus I sympathize with his claim that the sweet given to him on the plane is responsible for his condition. We may disagree with this claim, but we must understand that he is an African looking for an African explanation to his sad plight. Nothing happens without a cause in African society–someone is always the cause of misfortune! You may find his claim purely illogical and backward, and point to medical explanation to his heart problems. I applaud you! But the young man is looking for an explanation beyond what medical doctors can provide–an African spiritual explanation; an explanation so disparaged by most of us and yet fully embraced by almost all Africans! We are all children of the very wisdom of our ancestors’ ghosts–we believe in witchcraft and curses just as our foreparents did. Who can ignore the authenticity of Nigerian movies? We love them because they speak to our worldviews.
But there is another element to it–the desire to return to his former self. I may not believe in the so-called “Papas” but Mwepu is in need of any assurance of healing from every source available. It’s therefore mockery to demean his healing miracle. Whether it worked or not is not the point–what is important is that it provided Mwepu with psychological support he needs to face tomorrow. This is critical in his life–he needs an assurance that things will be OK.
Nonetheless, we shouldn’t assume that we will see him on the pitch tomorrow! I maybe wrong, but the truth is, his condition deserves medical attention beyond that miracle. In his desperation, it is possible that the video is just one among the many places he has visited for help. In addition to traditional doctors, it is possible Mwepu has sought help from mainline pastors, priests and bishops. But these Churches privacy policies protect clients from public exposure. This is not the case with self-identified miracle working prophets who parade people for selfish gain. A desperate soul has no shame, hence in life-and-death situations, even a king can undress before a slave if promised life. So it is with Mwepu. He desperately needs answers to his condition and what caused it—the prophet finally confirmed what he always suspected, it was “human caused, and can be reversed.” Surely many traditional doctors would have told him that too, but this time, the prophet is doing it in the name of Jesus Christ! Amen. Whereas his condition is not a psychosomatic disorder, the experience is likely to provide him with the will to live.
Finally, those who feel Mwepu’s claim of being poisoned is detrimental to Zambian soccer as it presents soccer players as jealous of each other may be pushing it too far. Of course, like in any field, players will always be competitive. But the truth is, the young man needs help and will go to anyone who would promise to provide it. That video is just one of the many places he has visited in search of help—we shouldn’t think it is the last either!