This section reflects something of the work of three Prophets who were living in Soweto in 1969: Mrs S Mkhize, Lady Bishop of the Bethesaid Healing Faith Mission, (see all images tagged with "Mkhize") Mrs A. Nakeli, Lady Bishop of St Francis Church (see all images tagged with "Nakeli") and Mrs L Radebe the Lady Archbishop of the Bantu Bethlehem Christian Apostolic Church (see all images tagged with "Radebe"). All three were married to the leader of their church, and all three were impressive personalities. Indeed Mrs Mkhize was the dominant figure in her church, completely overshadowing her husband in church services and the running of the church (see 271).
The life histories of these three were very similar, and typical of most prophets. The individual becomes sick and this is not resolved until another prophet reveals that sufferer is being called to become a prophet, which she does after a period of training. This is almost identical to the trajectory of a diviner, an isangoma, the traditional healer. (187, 188) The differences are that the power of the diviner comes from the ancestors, whereas that of the prophet comes from the holy spirit. At the time of ny study, both treated the same sort of problems but differed in method. Diviners used a variety of divination techniques, herbs, bones, snuff, animal parts, etc. Prophets predominantly used prayer and holy water. Most prophets distanced themselves from diviners, ostensibly eschewing anything traditional and emphasising their Christianity. An exception to this was Mrs Nakeli, who was friendly with a local diviner. She readily agreed to be photographed with her friend in their respective regalia. (289-292, 179-180)
The three Prophets also agreed to keep diaries of their consultations over over a five-month period January and May 1971, of the names of patients, their complaints, and how they were cured. During the five-monthrs period, Mrs Radebe had 361 consultations with 162 different patients, Mrs Nakeli saw 56 people, and Mrs Mkhize 19. None of the three charged for their services, and two had to work: Mrs Nakeli was a domestic servant, and Mrs Mkhize sold fruit and vegetables. Mrs Radebe did not have outside employment and was able to devote herself full-time to church and healing work. Patients brought the woes of the world to these prophets, both physical and psychological, spiritual and social. For a full account and analysis, see Martin West: Bishops and Prophets in a Black City, chapter 6.