Prophet Shepherd Bushiri is one of the most controversial, yet popular religious leaders on the African continent.
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However, behind every successful man is a strong woman. Major 1’s wife has been by his side every step of the way and she has become equally as famous amongst their thousands of followers.
Briefly News decided to take a closer look at Mary Bushiri and her life with Shepherd Bushiri.
Early life and marriage to Bushiri
Mary was born on 23 August, 1990, in Lilongwe, Lilongwe District, Central Region, Malawi.
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She and her husband tied the knot in 2011 before a large crowd at the Mzuzu Stadium in their home country.
Mary has been really supportive of her husband’s calling as a pastor and she even quit her job as a chartered accountant to focus full-time on the ministry.
Even when Bushiri was accused of sexual assault and participating in extra marital affairs, Mary stood behind him.
She publicly shows support for her hubby and often posts snaps of them together.
”What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life - to strengthen each other in all faith, to rest on each other through God’s perfect love and prayer,” she captioned a post.
In their decade long marriage the couple welcomed two children together: Israella and Raphaella.
Jack of all trades
Mary is more than just a wife and mother, she is also a female preacher who doubles as a motivational speaker, businesswoman and accountant.
She is currently working with her husband as a religious leader of the church.
Modern day Bonnie and Clyde
Bushiri and his wife have been implicated in their fair share of alleged crimes.
In February, 2019, Briefly News reported the couple were arrested. At the time, their church released a statement confirming the Hawks took Mary and her husband into custody.
The following year Bushiri and his wife were arrested again. They were arrested on suspicion of their involvement in money laundering and fraud worth R102 million.
A Facebook post on Bushiri's verified page stated the couple are to appear before the Pretoria Magistrate Court at 8am this morning. They provided the physical address for the court and asked followers to "share the message”.
The official Facebook page also said that Bushiri had handed himself over to the Hawks after his wife's arrest earlier in the day. The page has been updating followers daily on the ongoing proceedings with Bushiri and his wife.
Another post described the Bushiris as being in "high spirits" despite being in custody of the Hawks. Not even a month later the couple managed to escape back to their home country.
Bushiri and his wife, Mary pulled a fast one and fled Mzansi for Malawi and left South Africa gobsmacked. The pair had paid R200 000 in bail, the couple were granted their freedom on condition that they did not travel outside of South Africa, in fact, they were limited to only travelling in Gauteng and the North West province.
At the time, questions were raised as to how the couple leave SA and enter Malawi, seeing that their travel documents were confiscated as part of their bail conditions while the trial was in process.
However, a Malawian court ruled that the Bushiris be extradited to SA. The couple tried to fight the ruling but their request to have the extradition overturned was denied.
The Bushiris' lawyer argued that the SADC Protocol doesn't apply in Malawi, hence the extradition process should be overturned. Magistrate Patrick Chirwa, however, cited that although SADC protocol cannot be used in Malawi, South Africa is designated under the bilateral act as a processable destination for extradition.
Magistrate Chirwa then went and on to say that the case could not be thrown out and would now be moving forward based on the agreement between South Africa and Malawi.
The heartbreak of a mother
Mary Bushiri went through one of the most heartbreaking things a mother could go through - losing a child. Earlier this year it was confirmed that their daughter, Israella Bushiri, has died.
Israella fell sick a while back and has been in and out of the hospital, mostly seeking professional treatment in Kenya.
In a long post on his Facebook page, Bushiri eulogised Israella as a strong young girl who loved to worship and serve God despite her young age.
"As a father it was my desire to see her grow and serve the Lord, however, the will of God was for her to return back to Him," he wrote.
Bushiri went on to blame South Africa for his daughter’s death.
On 18th March 2021, the ECG ministry founder disclosed that his daughter had been battling a lung infection. He also stated that she had been admitted to the ICU for two weeks.
He went ahead to state that a doctor had informed him that if she had not blocked at the airport for the first time and allowed to travel, she would have survived.
Living a flashy lifestyle
It definitely pays off being married to one of the richest pastors in Africa. The Bushiris have money and they are not afraid to show it. Mary often flaunts her lavish life online and has been dragged for it in the past by critics.
From expensive whips to luxury mansions, Mary and Major 1 are used to the finer things in life.
The couple own a R10m Rolls Royce Black Badge, R6 million Bentley Bentayga Limited Edition and an Aston Martin One, which costs over R12 million.
Although they never confirmed the price tag on the home, the photos showed it is likely worth a couple million.
the couple also reportedly own three jets which they bought over a period of two years.
A fashion icon with expensive taste
Over the years Mary has been praised for her sense of style. Bushiri’s wife clearly loves dressing up and all those stunning outfits aren’t cheap.
Her official Instagram page is filled with pics of her looking stunning in different outfits.