Two weeks ago, 19-year-old Margaret Wangari was an ordinary Nairobi school-girl. Today, she's a celebrity?
Two weeks ago, 19-year-old Margaret Wangari was an ordinary Nairobi school-girl. Today, she's a celebrity in the Kenyan capital and is hailed by many as a "miracle" faith healer.
Margaret's short road to fame began when she hitch-hiked to a nearby town, Njoro, where a Christian camp was being held. (She couldn't afford fares -- as she had only five cents in her pocket). At the camp, she claims she heard the voice of God, saw a vision and received her healing powers.
On her return, Margaret is said the have effected two "miraculous cures". The first patient was her 50-year-old grandmother, who had been crippled for the last ten years. (This scene was later "re-enacted" for Visnews cameraman Mohammed Amin, and the results appear in this film). The second patient was a 27-year-old man, suffering from a mental disease. Since these apparent successes other "cures" have been attributed to Margaret and her newly-acquired divine powers. It is also claimed that the girl has the Biblical gift of "speaking in tongues".
According to Margaret, the curing process is simple enough. She asks for the trust of her patient, lays her hands on the patient, then she says a prayer - to drive out the demons inhabiting the patient's bady.
Hundreds of sceptice and believers alike have made the pilgrimage to the Wangari's shack, Banana Hill, on the outskirts of Nairobi. Many claim she's a prophetess, and one local churchman says she works "through the hand of God".
Margaret herself is non-committal. "I'm not saying I'm a prophetess - nor am I saying I'm not," she told newsmen. "But at times, I feel this tremendous power which comes and goes."