‘Praise the Lord, I’m a real fat cat’


Alph Lukau, the prophet or pastor of Alleluia Ministries International, is in trouble for more than raising a non-dead (it turned out) man from the dead.

He’s also in trouble, it was reported this past week, for extensive illegal building renovations to a Sandton mansion he apparently wants to turn into a guesthouse and possibly a centre for religious or social gatherings. Neighbours have complained about the building works, which have allegedly continued into the night and on weekends, and because he had no planning permission for some of the renovations, which include two imposing guard houses.

Why would a pastor who was not only made rich by God but is also presumably protected by God need guard houses? You can see why he needs a guesthouse, because his ministry is “international”, and you can see why he needs a mini-amphitheatre — he needs, no doubt, to be able to preach to the tenants of his guesthouse.

Or perhaps it’s that former president Jacob Zuma had a mini-amphitheatre built in the grounds of his Nkandla complex, and Prophet Lukau refuses to be outdone by a mere civil servant. (We should check the pool, though: it is surely not also in the shape favoured by Zuma, which is that of an Umkhonto we-Sizwe spear. Lukau is definitely a man of peace.)

A spokesperson for the Johannesburg Metro, as quoted on TimesLive, said Lukau had already been told to demolish bits of the renovation that had not received approval.

At any rate, the Allelulia man of God doesn’t live at this particular residence in Huntingdon Road, Morningside, any longer, so it must be okay by him if the building goes on all day and all night.

He lives somewhere else, which is probably where he keeps all his expensive cars and the other paraphernalia of an obscenely rich man — sorry, the material blessings were showered on him by God. These are, of course, also good advertising for his ministry, which, apart from curing people of fatal ailments, involves the accumulation of great riches in the name of God.

One can’t see any evidence of Lukau’s congregants getting very wealthy, but Lukau himself certainly is. He’s worth R1-billion, say breathless reports from late last year.

He arrives at his church building like royalty, in a white Rolls-Royce with motorbike outriders (what, no cherubim with swords?). He also has a Range Rover, as well as a private jet. These accoutrements are regularly advertised by the prophet himself on social media.

Weirdly, Lukau’s Instagram picture of him descending from his jet is captioned thus: “What did not kill you last year will not get you this year in Jesus name.”

Ignore the comma and apostrophe dysfunction. What we want to know is whether his jet tried to kill him. Perhaps his jet converted temporarily to the worship of Satan before, naturally, being reconverted by Lukau. That must be it.

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Author Shaun de Waal
Shaun De Waal

Shaun de Waal has worked at the Mail & Guardian since 1989. He was literary editor from 1991 to 2006 and chief film critic for 15 years. He is now editor-at-large. Recent publications include Exposure: Queer Fiction, 25 Years of the Mail & Guardian and Not the Movie of the Week.


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