Everson Luhanga

The congregation was ready for the Holy Communion on the night of Easter Friday.

But then armed thugs stormed their church in Braamfischerville in Soweto 30 minutes before the Lord’s Supper ceremony was to begin.

Pastor Obvious Ncube told Scrolla.Africa that the gunmen didn’t just rob the congregation of their cellphones and money. They also forced the female congregants to strip naked and “made off with the wine and the biscuits which we call the body of Jesus Christ.”

“No one was able to sing or pray,” said Pastor Obvious. He said the men “made everyone lie down and surrender their cellphones to them. Women who didn’t have cellphones were told to strip naked. It was very unpleasant,” he said.

Pastor Obvious said when he heard the thugs ordering women to strip naked, he confronted them and told them to shoot him dead rather than seeing a woman naked in his church. 

“Because of that they started beating up the women who didn’t have phones,” he said.

“I was afraid that the men will rape the women including my wife who was also in the church.”

Pastor Obvious said besides the wine and biscuits, they robbed about 20 people on the night and made off with nine cellphones and R700 in cash.

He said after the men had left, everyone was left traumatised and the church service ended. 

“Everyone had to go home,” he said.

Pastor Obvious said since the incident he and his church members have been praying that the men be caught and be punished by the law. 

“I know our God won’t fail us. Although I have not reported the case to the police. God knows where these men are and He will deal with them,” he said.

Community leader Joel Mabaso said this is not the first time such an incident has happened in this area. 

“We had such an incident before and some of these church members were robbed on a Sunday,” he said.