Immaculately dressed, bible in hand, Memory Dube (not her real name) heads for lunch hour prayers daily at a nearby church. But her real mission is to attract men from the church because she is a prostitute. At night she is seen patronising nightclubs peddling her flesh for survival.
This is a new wave of “Christianity” that has hit Zimbabwean’s major cities as new churches continue to spring up. At sunset, women who attend lunchtime prayers with Memory hang out at the city’s major night clubs.They greet every male who passes by passionately and sometimes this result in a conversation that may lead to paid sex.
Shylet, another bogus lunchtime “prayer warrior”, is seen every evening roaming in the area in a tight bikini that reveals her thighs and a tight see through top that lets out her naval. Half a dozen other “Born Again Christians” also mingle outside the night clubs.
“I am a loyal Christian, I know there is God and I pray to him daily. I know that there should be time for me to spare a moment to the Almighty. But I am desperate. I need to survive,” said Memory.
“The situation in Zimbabwe is making everything worse. I am looking for decent clients here. I am between the rock and a hard place,” said Memory.
Holding her Bible and smartly dressed and without heavy make- up, she could be mistaken for an office worker.
“I am chasing everything. I would like to be married and at the same time I am looking for decent clients who can take care of me.” She told The Zimbabwean. “I don’t mind to be a small house (second wife). I know that I can have the guys from the church who can marry me if I pretend to be a Christian. I have got my friends who were prostitutes and they have tried this trick, now they are married.”
“The brothers from the church do not go to night clubs and this is the time we will be meeting our other clients. Then in the afternoon we will be chasing the church guys who may end up marrying women like us,” said Memory without showing any remorse.
She said church elders were among her clients.
“These are the decent clients…They buy me groceries and pay my rent thinking that I am a genuine Christian.”
“The elders and priests in these churches are committing adultery. Some of them are having sex with married women,” she said giving examples of the churches (names withheld).
A Pastor confirmed that most of the new churches were having a lot of “born again” Christians.
“We have a lot of confessions from prostitutes who are saying they are born again,” said a Pastor from a popular new church in the city that has taken Zimbabwe by storm.
He said their understanding was that these women had fully repented but only to discover they were coming to church to trap married men who end up leaving their wives.
“Most of my guys have fallen prey to these prostitutes and they have ended up marrying them. I am having stories of these girls from my church going to the bars and night clubs during the night where they sell sex. It has become complicated,” said the Pastor.
Asked on how the church elders are having extra marital affairs with these prostitutes the Pastor said: “I cannot deny or agree to that because I do not have evidence in what is happening. I have had some stories of this but I am yet to find out myself. I only know of few cases in our church in Harare where the elders are having sex with these women. We have however, dismissed two junior Pastors who confessed of having sex with female church members.”
The “Born Again Christians” interviewed said they engaged in unprotected sex with the brothers from the church and insisted on condoms with the clients from the bars.
“The difference is that the church brothers do not use condoms. They are ignorant on the importance of using condoms,” said Shylet. “They say we are their permanent women and they would want to marry us, so they do not see the purpose of using protection. Since we are hunting for marriage we do not have any options but to give in. We fear that if we insist on condom use the church brothers will doubt us. I have experienced that and it is happening.”
“I know there is HIV and AIDS but I need the money for survival. I admit that it is quite tempting but I have to survive and get married,” added Shylet.
Shylet said she was ready to settle down if any man from the church was willing to marry her. So far she had not yet secured a boyfriend from the church who is prepared to marry her.
She said they were targeting church guys because they did not frequent night clubs and therefore they were not aware of what women like her did at night.
Some Church brothers interviewed admitted they were falling prey to the bogus born again Christian women.
Simon Gandi from The Life Ministries said: “I do not know whether we have that in our church. It is difficult to figure out who is a prostitute and who is not. Some of them are doing it secretly. But, I know that some of our guys are planning to marry our female church members who have just joined us. One cannot be able to see or say that for certain they are prostitutes.”
David Kamunda of Christ Embassy a popular new church in Zimbabwe said: “As a church we do not prevent people from coming to our church. We call upon all sinners to come and receive salvation. I know people are saying a lot of bad things about our Pastors and female members, but God has got a calling for us as a church. We cannot close doors on sinners they should come and receive God and have their sins forgiven.”
“I understand that the unmarried women in Zimbabwe have become very desperate and they can do anything. We have experienced that in our church. We have cases were our male church members have married these prostitutes who come into our church masquerading as born again Christians. However, it would be unholy to chase them away from the church as this is against the God’s command,” said Moses Danha from The Evalengical Fellowship of Zimbabwe.
(What do you think can be done to end this ? would like to here your suggestions)