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© 2020 Dr Margaret Sheppard

Pilgrimages to Moria

The home of the Lekgonyanes at Moria is believed to be a Holy Place and the Lekgonyanes are believed to be intermediaries with God,  rather like Badimo (Ancestors). ZCC congregations make pilgrimages congregations to Moria at Easter and the Botswana Independence Holiday (September 30th). Miracles are believed to happen there - cures, punishments etc.

Many of the articles used in the ritual at services are brought from Moria or have been specially prayed on there. For example the little pieces of green paper with purple stripes that are burnt and dropped into water as part of the ritual to render it Holy, are from Moria, as are the special little cloths (rather like yellow dusters) that are used when making Holy Water or whilst praying on people. A short pole about six inches long, that is used by Prayers (Barapedi) whilst praying, is also obtained from Moria. At one Z.C.C. branch I saw a whip, like an ox whip, that was cracked to drive away lightning during a terrible thunder storm, and later held by the Moruti in the centre during much of the service, this whip had been presented to that Moruti by the founder of the Z.C.C. church and so was obviously much revered. Uniforms, badges and dance rattles may be prayed for at Moria.

Pilgrimages to Moria

Moria is the place where the founder of ZCC finally settled following his wanderings.

Z.C.C. congregations try to go to Moria two or three times a year. The most popular times for congregations from Botswana to go are Easter and Independence (September 30th). Buses are hired for the journey, the Southern congregations starting in Lobatse. In 1979 the return fare was P10. There is often some rule given out in advance based on a prophetic warning. For example in 1979 word came from Moria that no one was to eat meat on the journey, only after they had arrived.

On arrival at Moria, all the buses bringing the pilgrims had been searched by the special Moria Z.C.C. police who guard Lekgonyane. One man from the North of Botswana had smuggled meat in the roof of his bus and apparently a gun and a knife were hidden inside it. It was not found by the police and when he entered Moria he was directed to the car park. Suddenly his brakes had failed and he had knocked down  six people, 2 of whom had been killed, before he smashed into another bus.

He was arrested and imprisoned in South Africa. Apparently the weapons he had concealed in the meat were to assassinate Lekgonyane. Lekgonyane had been warned of this by his Badimo and that is why the rule had been made.The accident was caused to the assassin because of Lekgonyane's ancestral protection.

In 1971 there had been a similar case. That year loaves of bread had been forbidden, only buns and sliced bread were allowed. Apparently the person who had disobeyed this and brought a loaf, had had a gun hidden in the loaf.

At the entrance to Moria there is a large green cord, under which everyone must pass, and anyone intending harm to Lekgonyane after passing under this rope will have the "harm" reflected back upon himself.

It is at Moria during these pilgrimages that the special uniforms, Holy papers, poles, prophesy sticks, "dusters" etc. are prayed for. From non-Z.C.C. members I was often told that there were rumours that a person is sacrificed on these occasions to make the Z.C.C. Holy protections.