Former Idols SA contestants Anele and Neliswa Mxakaza, who won the hearts of South Africans during the 2013 season of the competition, have been receiving death threats after publicly supporting the women who accuse Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso of rape and human trafficking.
This week, Cheryl Zondi gave graphic testimony about her rape ordeal, allegedly at the hands of Omotoso. When they severed ties with Omotoso, the twins said that they were aware of instances where women had been sexually abused at the uMhlanga house.
“The rape allegations were not new to us. The girls would talk immediately after it happened in the house. When one was called to the upper room we knew what was going to happen to them. We were made to keep quiet and never say anything. We ran away because we knew what was happening. Even when we had left the church we were still not free to talk. We were afraid that something bad will happen to us or our families”.
Over the past few days, Anele has posted messages of support for Omotoso’s victims that have apparently angered the very people she once worshipped with at the Jesus Dominion International Church. She also interacted with posts from other survivors which detail the way in which they were manipulated by church members.
On Friday, she shared a screengrab of one of the threats she had received. The trial appears to be taking its toll on a number of young women who were once affiliated with Omotoso’s church and Anele shared her heartbreak at revisiting the memories of their ordeal.
The Mxakazas previously described the months they spent living at Omotoso’s rented Umhlanga home as “the worst experience ever”.
They said the women who accused Omotoso of raping them are their “blood sisters” and they were made to turn their back on them and support the televangelist when the allegations against him first came to light.
“We have been in this Ministry for four years and we have lived in his house in Umhlanga for about a year, it was the worst experience ever… we were actually pushed to please the man, we were told that God will punish us if we ever say anything against Omotoso. We lived a life full of threats and fear,” the talented pair said in 2016.
According to the Mxakaza twins, elders from Omotoso’s Jesus Dominion International church “played a part in making us run away from our homes to stay in Omotoso’s house”. They said that they “were made to believe that Omotoso is the closest person to God and we can never have a relationship with God except through Omotoso.”
They went on to say that they were “blinded and our spirits were controlled or locked up somewhere by this man … we could see all the wrongs but were never bold enough to speak out. Omotoso caused divisions in many families and ruined many people’s lives.” – IOL