In the southern part of Kenya, Migori County lies a deserted village. But right at the top of the hill lies one of the most sacred places among the Legio Maria faithful sacred that it bears the same weight as Golgotha, where Jesus Christ was crucified. The man who has brought all this to this place is one Simeo Ondeto. This is the story of a man who went against common tradition of “acting like Jesus” but decided to be Jesus. This is the tale of a man otherwise known as the Black Christ.In the southern part of Kenya, Migori County lies a deserted village. But right at the top of the hill lies one of the most sacred places among the Legio Maria faithful sacred that it bears the same weight as Golgotha, where Jesus Christ was crucified. The man who has brought all this to this place is one Simeo Ondeto. This is the story of a man who went against common tradition of “acting like Jesus” but decided to be Jesus. This is the tale of a man otherwise known as the Black Christ.The exact date of his birth or year has been lost through word of mouth. His journey to the top as a religious leader started when he was still a young boy. His mates said he started performing miracles when they were out grazing cows.it is said he was too wise for his age and could fend for himself when they had disagreements within the family. Growing into adulthood he was a catholic catechist who is said to have been fed with some of the rules of the church that limited the ways in which Africans could operate. That’s where his intriguing story starts with.The exact date of his birth or year has been lost through word of mouth. His journey to the top as a religious leader started when he was still a young boy. His mates said he started performing miracles when they were out grazing cows.it is said he was too wise for his age and could fend for himself when they had disagreements within the family. Growing into adulthood he was a catholic catechist who is said to have been fed with some of the rules of the church that limited the ways in which Africans could operate. That’s where his intriguing story starts with.His inspiration though has a root in The Three Secrets of Fatima albeit with a twisted African version. He said that God had come to several people to reveal to them that He was sending an African Christ to salvage the African men by the “imposition” of the White Christ on them.His inspiration though has a root in The Three Secrets of Fatima albeit with a twisted African version. He said that God had come to several people to reveal to them that He was sending an African Christ to salvage the African men by the “imposition” of the White Christ on them.The formation of the Legio Maria Church was at the height of the struggle for independence in Kenya in 1961.Kenyan freedom fighter used the church as a disguise in the quest for self-rule.The formation of the Legio Maria Church was at the height of the struggle for independence in Kenya in 1961.Kenyan freedom fighter used the church as a disguise in the quest for self-rule.But after independence the church became purely religious and that is when the rise of Ondetto began. He started trans versing Luo Nyanza searching for followers to join his religious sect. He based his teaching on matters that affected the society mostly on marriage and family life. Contrary to popular belief, he actually did not believe in polygamy and most of his teachings can be related to those of Jesus considering the societal differences. One of the most reputable followers of the religion was Jaramogi Odinga who served as Kenya’s first vice president. It is said that he used to frequent the Legio Maria shrine most times for spiritual intervention. This was at a time when Jaramogi was facing a lot of problems with then president Jomo Kenyatta.But after independence the church became purely religious and that is when the rise of Ondetto began. He started trans versing Luo Nyanza searching for followers to join his religious sect. He based his teaching on matters that affected the society mostly on marriage and family life. Contrary to popular belief, he actually did not believe in polygamy and most of his teachings can be related to those of Jesus considering the societal differences. One of the most reputable followers of the religion was Jaramogi Odinga who served as Kenya’s first vice president. It is said that he used to frequent the Legio Maria shrine most times for spiritual intervention. This was at a time when Jaramogi was facing a lot of problems with then president Jomo Kenyatta.During his tours he attracted loads of crowds and it is said that he performed miracles such as healing the sick. It was at this point when he the undisputed Pope of The Legio Maria started to prophecy on issues. He alluded that some of the members of the church hierarchy were plotting on a plan to take his life and hence his throne. It was characteristic of him to preach twice at a given time but just before his death he preached twice and used the other platform to point out and predict his death. In 1992 just like he had predicted, he was found dead of food poisoning and the suspects are some of his close associates. It is even said that while he was eating the food, he kept on calling out the said people asking them why they wanted him dead. The Legio Maria faithful rightly mourned him like the hero he was to them. His remains were transported to God Kweru where they are buried until this day. Every other year the church conducts a ceremony to celebrate his death similar to that of Easter for Christians. All has not been smooth though. There have been wrangles within the church on he is to take over his seat as there are two factions claiming to be the rightful heirs. One led by Pope Adika and the other led by The Late Romanus Ongombe. So intense is the rivalry that there have been killings at the hills on numerous times.During his tours he attracted loads of crowds and it is said that he performed miracles such as healing the sick. It was at this point when he the undisputed Pope of The Legio Maria started to prophecy on issues. He alluded that some of the members of the church hierarchy were plotting on a plan to take his life and hence his throne. It was characteristic of him to preach twice at a given time but just before his death he preached twice and used the other platform to point out and predict his death. In 1992 just like he had predicted, he was found dead of food poisoning and the suspects are some of his close associates. It is even said that while he was eating the food, he kept on calling out the said people asking them why they wanted him dead. The Legio Maria faithful rightly mourned him like the hero he was to them. His remains were transported to God Kweru where they are buried until this day. Every other year the church conducts a ceremony to celebrate his death similar to that of Easter for Christians. All has not been smooth though. There have been wrangles within the church on he is to take over his seat as there are two factions claiming to be the rightful heirs. One led by Pope Adika and the other led by The Late Romanus Ongombe. So intense is the rivalry that there have been killings at the hills on numerous times.Ondeto might have been a fraud, an opportunistic character who spotted a chance to lie to the typical African who believed because of the lack of the “African Story” in the bible. Or maybe he was a misunderstood character who despite spotting characters similar to that of Jesus didn’t get maximum attention for the works he did because he did not have gospel books to back him. Whoever he was remains a mystery that may or may not be solved at the end of it all. But the legacy he left is undisputed that if you google his name, the results will be that of an old man with sharp eyes, shaggy hair, dressed in a black robe and with a rosary strapped around his neck-The man who has come to be known as The Black Christ.Ondeto might have been a fraud, an opportunistic character who spotted a chance to lie to the typical African who believed because of the lack of the “African Story” in the bible. Or maybe he was a misunderstood character who despite spotting characters similar to that of Jesus didn’t get maximum attention for the works he did because he did not have gospel books to back him. Whoever he was remains a mystery that may or may not be solved at the end of it all. But the legacy he left is undisputed that if you google his name, the results will be that of an old man with sharp eyes, shaggy hair, dressed in a black robe and with a rosary strapped around his neck-The man who has come to be known as The Black Christ.

By Ansias

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