A jet-setting preacher who boasts he can walk on air, summon angels and cure cancer calls his incredible £100m fortune ‘miracle money.’
Malawi-born Shepherd Bushiri packs out massive venues across the world thanks to his hundreds of thousands of devoted followers.
Entrance to next month’s ‘Enlightened Christian Gathering’ in Inglewood, California costs up to $505 a time.
It’s not surprising the controversial holy man has an estimated net worth of $150m (£105m). And despite claims he is a fraud, Bushiri is still one of the “hottest tickets” on the preacher circuit.
Those that can’t make his live shows have to make do with his hugely-popular YouTube site Prophetic Channel TV.
It is home to bizarre clips claiming to show him helping the crippled walk, the blind see and the healing of those with HIV.
One video which shows worshippers ‘collapse in ecstasy as angels appear’ alongside Bushiri has been watched by millions.
Particularly popular clips tell Bushiri’s legions of followers how to fight demons, find love, and, of course, get rich.
However, it was a clip of the South Africa-based prophet ‘walking on air’ in 2015 which has become infamous. Although, many saw it as a sign that he is truly the ‘chosen one’ others say it just proves he’s bogus.
His reputation was also rocked in 2016 when a woman came forward to say she had been paid to lie about miracles.
She said Bushiri paid a string of actors to stage being healed during his sermons. Allegations denied by the pastor. Botswana even shut down one of his churches reportedly due to claims his “miracle money” appears by magic.
They are allegations the 30-something Bentley-driving preacher – known as the Major One- is aware of and casually shrugs off.
“My ministry is not for everyone, it is for those who have faith,” he told the BBC earlier this month.
Bushiri bizarrely claims:
– He can cure cancer
– He can make the blind see
– He can summon angels
– He can heal HIV with prayer
– He can magic up money
– He can ‘cure’ the disabled
“I’m just a messenger of God’s work. God heals people in our meetings. “One time I got doctors here to bring patients with HIV – they tested them before to show they are HIV.
“I prayed for them and again afterwards and now they were HIV-negative.” After being labelled a fake, over his stage levitating he invited cameras into his home to prove he’s for real.
However, the resulting video did little to improve his credibility among his doubters. The footage starts with Bushiri – his arms held aloft – walking down a wooden staircase.
At one stage his feet are clearly seen dangling mid-air, but so are the shadows of those holding him aloft! The video has been viewed nearly 500,000 times after it was uploaded to YouTube by his followers.
They said the “hair-raising” performance had left the “Christian world thunder-struck.” It added to the legend of a man who claims he was visited by a messenger of God when he was 10.
One things that is sure about the father-of-two is just how far he has from his poor upbringing in Mzuzu, in northern Malawi.
Over the years he has amassed vast wealth and now owns several mines, four private planes and a number of hotels.
When he bought his latest £25m Gulf Stream jet, he was informed he was the youngest person to buy he model. His growing portfolio of possessions, including mansions across Africa, is managed by his businesswoman wife Mary.
However, he is far from ashamed about his fortune and accuses those who say he is profiteering of being racist.
“My success should inspire people to be entrepreneurs,” he says. “I am a businessman and that is separate from being a prophet. My prosperity is from private businesses.
“Such questions are not asked from leaders of white churches but when an African man prospers, then it’s a problem.”
Although ticket sales make up a large chunk of Bushiri’s income, like all good brands he also has his merchandise.