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Journey to Nairobi:
five days with Mary Akatsa

by Memo Neupert

An interview with Mary Akatsa about the appearance of Maitreya, the World Teacher, at one of her prayer meetings in Nairobi, Kenya in June, 1988. 

In the years since Maitreya's appearance in Nairobi, Kenya – on 11 June 1988 – at one of Mary Akatsa's healing meetings, I had been keen to visit the place where Maitreya appeared, and to meet the healer, Mary Akatsa, herself. Mary is the woman dressed in blue who stands next to Maitreya in the famous photograph, first published in the Kenya Times on 22 June that year.

In January 1994 I flew to Nairobi with photographer Uwe Piotrowski, a member of the Hamburg Transmission Meditation Group, on the last leg of a round-trip taking in Tlacote, Mexico, in November, and Nadana, India, in December, 1993, where we visited the well-known healing springs.

In Nairobi everyone knew Mami (Mother Mary) and referred us to the "Jerusalem Church of Christ" in Kawangware. Once there, we had the privilege of attending one of Mary's regular healing sessions. There was much drum-beating and dancing, and during the four-hour ceremony Mary came to greet us. We witnessed the healing of a woman who was very ill with a cancerous tumour clearly visible on the bare upper part of her body. She had to walk through the church area, then Mary placed her right hand on her head, spat on the diseased part and the woman was healed. Later a man was brought in who had been mentally deranged for 16 years; Mary healed him and he was able to walk away after 15 minutes.

We had hoped to arrange an interview, but unfortunately there was no time because Mary had to go up-country to the funeral of a church member in another location, but when she discovered that she would not be back in Nairobi before the time of our return flight, she invited us to accompany her: "Would you like to travel with Mami?" she asked, and we immediately accepted. Thereupon she placed an interpreter/guide at our disposal and moved us out of our hotel to her own modest house, situated in a remote area outside the town. There Mary lives simply – the congregation brings water, and the generator is switched on only at night – and looks after some 20 sick or homeless people, providing them with food and clothing and supporting them financially.

Mary Sinaida Akatsa is a simple, uncomplicated and spontaneous woman. She is delicately built, some 4 ft 6 inches tall, with beautiful shining eyes and a childlike, open smile, which is full of love. Charming and cheerful, she is always anxious that people should enjoy being with her. She says that Christ has sent her, because she is the best channel for Him to use.

Mary had hired two buses to take the 160 church members and the surviving family to the funeral in Kwiselo. Apart from financing the funeral she will pay board and lodging and school fees for the dependants of the deceased. While we waited with Mary for the owner of the buses to arrive, a drunken man came to the car and asked Mary to pray with him. She lovingly declined, saying that because he was drunk the prayer would not reach God. The request was repeated and again Mary declined. Suddenly, the man fell to his knees. Mary placed her right hand on his head and prayed with him; he became sober and went away relieved.

The journey proceeded to Kwiselo with two full buses and the coffin on one of the roof-racks. Throughout the journey, Mary was protected by four bodyguards, because as soon as people recognize her they rush towards her. On the way there was powerful singing, and during a stop at a petrol station everyone danced – even I, the stiff Westerner. The songs were rhythmic and melodious, the rhythm entered my limbs, so that I just had to sing, clap and dance – to Mary's great joy. I learned how important it is to experience the joy of spirituality in the body itself. Mary showed me physical movements and steps which at first seemed easy, but feet and hands are difficult to co-ordinate and eventually move out of rhythm.

Mary looked after us lovingly during the trip, distributing food and drink as needed. We drove through the most beautiful parts of Kenya – tea plantations, orchards and forests; there were many zebra on the plains and pink clouds of flamingo by Lake Victoria – until, by evening, we arrived at the house of one of Mary's sisters where we were to spend the night. Mary told us that she had been able to cure her sister's husband who had been all but killed by the ministrations of a voodoo sorcerer.

On the Sunday, all church members were dressed in white with blue stripes on collar and belt and on the men's caps. These are the colours of Mary's church, and whenever she sees a man in Nairobi so dressed she approaches him and greets him warmly.

We reached Kwiselo to find the funeral already in full swing. Suddenly I noticed that Mary had become very withdrawn. When this happens, something special takes place. All at once, the sky clouded over, and the congregation was thus protected from the parching sun. The clouds remained until the celebration was at an end and the temperature more bearable.

Again there was singing and dancing, and Mary gave a sermon. Afterwards she fetched several men and women out of the audience to give them messages. She told a good-looking African woman to stop being a prostitute, since she could contract AIDS. "I know you like being a prostitute," Mary said, "but take my words seriously." The woman, however, appeared unmoved.

After the messages, church members formed a double row headed by a woman with the church banner and men carrying the coffin. Then came the dependants. The coffin was swung, people sang, danced and clapped on the way to the grave, into which the coffin was lowered without the use of ropes, and covered with brushwood. The congregation sang while the grave was filled in with earth. Mary presented the relatives with a bag of corn, flour and other provisions which they would need to keep the wake going for the customary four weeks. We drove back to our overnight quarters quite exhausted, and the next morning started out for Mary's birthplace and other places where some of the incidents in her extraordinary life had occurred.

Mary calls herself a priestess of Jesus right from birth, but has never had any ecclesiastical training. People come to her because they have heard about her great healing powers. In 1983 she established the Jerusalem Church of Christ, and says that Jesus is the founder.

When her mother was seven months pregnant with Mary she was poisoned by the father's second wife, and given up for dead. She had been lying on the bier for several hours when someone noticed movement in her abdomen, cut it open and took out the premature baby. Although the baby, in spite of the poison, was healthy, the father threw it away into a thicket. There she was found four days later by her grandmother, who had had a vision in which she saw the child lying in the bushes and came to look for it. The baby was found still alive but bitten by ants and other insects: even to this day Mary has no sense of taste as a result of insect damage to her tongue.

The grandmother nursed Mary gradually back to health in the face of great poverty and the death of her 18 other children. She would go without the oatmeal soup which was almost all they had to eat, if there was not enough for both of them. She often went to bed hungry in order to feed the child.

Mary's healing and clairvoyant powers developed between the ages of five and eight. By eight years old she was fully able to heal. She could read people's minds, which was a mixed blessing as she could spot dishonesty; and could tell if a woman was pregnant, and the sex of the unborn child. She married at 13 and still lives with her husband. At the time of her marriage her parents-in-law did not want a woman with supernatural powers in their family, so they chained and beat her – she still bears the scars, which she showed us – and drove her away with blows some 15 kilometres from their village, hoping she would never return. When they learned that she had returned to fetch her husband, they destroyed the couple's house.

For some time Mary and her husband worked for farmers, their sole payment oatmeal soup, and slept in front of the barn. Later, Mary was employed as a housemaid, earning 400 Kenyan shillings a month. "I saved and bought land little by little," she told us. "We cultivated the land, sold the harvest and bought more land." Now she owns 200 acres, cultivated with corn, beans, vegetables, oranges, bananas and lemons. She pays her farmhands well because they are good workers. Harvests are increasing year by year, and she uses the proceeds for the poor, because "Kenya is poor and many need my help."

For some years Mary Akatsa worked as a priestess in different churches, but being clairvoyant she could recognize the dishonesty of the bishops, and told them so. Thus, she was dismissed, and even today the churches choose not to work with her; so she has formed her own church.

As we neared the end of our guided tour of Mary's life, it was already dark, and she pointed to a star which had constantly accompanied us, a star which then stood over her house. I could feel the strong love energy radiated by the star, and asked to know its name. Mary smiled, and said nothing.

Next morning, our last day, Mary was ready for the interview, which she asked us to keep as short as possible. The interview which follows took place on 31 January 1994.

Memo Neupert: What happened on 11 June 1988?

Mary Akatsa: We were continuing with our healing session when suddenly there was a strong wind. We did not know what had happened. And then, out of the blue, someone stood beside me who touched my heart and spoke to me.

MN. What did he say to you?

M. "You are an important messenger of God. I bring you this message: Keep on preaching, never retreat."

MN. How did the people react as they saw the Christ standing in front of you?

M. Well, when He appeared people had no idea what had happened. Many of them fell down. After He had appeared, people started crying and repenting of their sins. Since that day, people have come to Kawangware in big numbers, repenting their sins, getting healed and being saved. So it continues until now. But it is not me who heals, it is the power of God that heals through me.

MN. During the session we saw people running up and down along a certain pathway. We have heard that the Christ impresses people to do this.

M. Jesus said: "I have put My cloth here at the end of this path, and whoever comes to this place – perhaps with sickness or demons or other problems – should run along that path. Then, when he comes back and looks at you, Mami, all his problems, all sins, all the difficulties which worried him, will go and he will be healed and will be fit henceforth."

MN. How did He disappear?

M. We actually did not know exactly what happened. After holding my hand for a while He just disappeared, within a minute.

MN. Has He appeared to you again in physical form, since that day?

M. Since that day God speaks to me through my ears just in the same way as you can hear somebody speaking to you. It is very loud. On my eyes appears a sort of screen, and I am told: Look at a certain side (in a certain direction) – there is someone, maybe, in the congregation – look at him. The message is written on his chest. Then I can read all the problems he might have, where the problems come from, and I ask for him to get saved and he gets healed. I get the message directly from God.

MN. Does the Christ give you teachings as well as healing through you?

M. Yes.

MN. What did He mean about the future when He said: "the world would be no more" (as mentioned in the Kenya Times article)?

M. He never said that.

MN. Did He say when He would return again with the bucket of blessings?

M. No.

MN. What were the Hebrew words the Christ uttered as a blessing to the crowds (in Job Mutungi's article wrongly described as a curse)?

M. It was not a curse but a message only meant for Mami.

MN. Is the cloth the Christ left on the path still in existence?

M. It is still there.

MN. Is the star over Mami's place the one that appeared before the Christ's coming and has it been there ever since?

M. Yes.

MN. Do you go into trance when you are healing? Do you feel the Christ's energies flowing through you? Are you aware of what is going on when you are healing or does the Christ take over your body?

M. Mami changes when the power goes through. She's absolutely in trance. She doesn't recognize individuals. A screen covers her eyes and messages appear on people's chests.

MN. Are there people you cannot heal, and if so what do you do for them?

M. Yes. I leave it to God to do what He wishes.

MN. Is there a significance in the blue colour of the garment you wear?

M. Jesus gave me the colour blue and white. This cloth plays a significant role in our identification as the Children of God with one faith. Even when Moses was taken over into the Pharaoh's palace to be brought up as an Egyptian, he only believed his true identity because of the cloth his mother had hidden in the basket. So we always identify our togetherness through this cloth.

MN. Has crime decreased here since your work began?

MN. Yes. So many criminals are now my devoted children.

MN.What role does your husband play in your work?

M. My husband helps me with implementation of church projects.

MN. Do foreigners and white people come to your healings?

M. Yes. So many foreigners come from Asia, Europe, America and other parts of Africa.

MN. Have you met the President?

M. Yes. He is one of my sons.

MN. Mary, I thank you very much for this interview.

M. I thank you very much for coming here, and we thank God for giving us this opportunity.

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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005