reprinted with corrections from The Daily News

by Chris Goko

Popular evangelist Emmanuel Makandiwa is launching a monthly magazine and possibly a newspaper.

The charismatic preacher, who commands one of Zimbabwe’s fastest growing churches, has been given a licence to run the venture.

“Yes, it’s true. The United Family International Church (UFIC) applied for a licence and it was granted on March 8,” Zimbabwe Media Commission chairperson Godfrey Majonga said yesterday, adding the publication would be known as The Family.

Following in the footsteps of Celebration Ministries International’s Tom Deuschle, the Nigeria-based Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan) and Christ Embassy’s Chris Oyakhilome, the UFIC founder is hoping to “rack it” with church paraphernalia and merchandise.

The above-mentioned churches have effectively used such media channels as newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations to grow their fellowship beyond their own countries. Apart from tithes, these churches fund their activities from this growing and ever-increasing industry in the religious sectors.

As it is, one is often hit by Makandiwa’s church flags and calendars in people’s cars, and homes in most parts of Zimbabwe. The phenomenon is growing amid reports that he is preparing to extend his religious tentacles beyond Zimbabwean borders.

And with increasing hardships and other social pressures globally, modern-day churches are not only swelling up their numbers, but coffers as well through such innovative media tools as brochures, DVDs, newspapers and even live TV broadcasts.

On top of the newspaper titles, the youthful pastor Makandiwa is said to be preparing to launch his state-of-the-art public address system soon. Its components were acquired recently in the United States and Europe. The system is said to be the only one of its kind in Africa. The plan, church insiders say, was part of efforts to bolster his “voice, reach and ministry” — in a sector where technology and publicity play a major role in growing the brand.