KwaSizabantu people must look at the trauma they've caused - Sipho Hlongwane
News24 has released a documentary called Exodus: Uncovering a cult in Kwazulu-Natal. In the documentary, there are allegations of widespread physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, particularly committed against children in one of the biggest Christian missions in Africa “KwaSizabantu’.
The mission was formed in 1970 at Kranskop, northern KwaZulu-Natal by German preacher Erlo Stegen and has generated a multibillion business on the side owning the popular aQuellé sparkling water plant and supplying fruit and vegetables to big businesses such as Woolworths, Checkers, Shoprite and Spar to sustain its ministry, schooling and housing.
Writer, journalist, columnist Sipho Hlongwane joined The Midday Report to give us details on his experience at the mission.
The mere fact that people can see the scale on how big the place was makes the stories we tell about it more believable to our friends and family and now the public.Sipho Hlongwane, Writer, journalist & Columnist
The day before News24 was going to release the documentary that was a very difficult day, you can imagine how it was like for other people.Sipho Hlongwane, Writer, journalist & Columnist
It was very difficult. It's not just the retelling, but the reliving and I cannot even come close to people who have had worst experiences.Sipho Hlongwane, Writer, journalist & Columnist
Hlongwane says the documentary forced him to face his worst fears and experiences with the rest of the world and the worst part of this was to witness people not believing that the abuse and other statements made in the documentary were actually true.
I was not in the original documentary, I am just talking now and watching people not believe us the people telling the stories has made me angry. But hey, I am a journalist and I have written other people’s stories that were also not believed, so I know convincing the public isn’t the big thing it's part of the journey.Sipho Hlongwane, Writer, journalist & Columnist
I hope by speaking up now those who have doubts can take it from me.Sipho Hlongwane, Writer, journalist & Columnist
I want anybody who has read the story, watched the documentary or listened to the podcast to go and read the denial and compare the two. See how detailed the stories of the victims are, look at the fear people still have even after they have left the mission.Sipho Hlongwane, Writer, journalist & Columnist
The mission has denied these allegations, calling them sensational, vicious and factually inaccurate nature.
Listen below for the full interview...
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