Updated 09 October 2013

Meet Prophet Erasmus

From today onwards, I have decided I want to be a prophet. My friends call me Susan – you can call me Prophet, writes Susan Erasmus.

From this day forward, I am no longer a journalist. I am a prophet. My friends call me Susan – you can call me Prophet, writes Susan Erasmus.

I have been deeply puzzled by the story of a 'prophet' and his wife who have been charged with rape (on the part of the 'prophet') and aiding and abetting (on the part of the prophet's wife).

Rape allegations apart – what exactly is it that makes someone a prophet? Or more importantly, what on earth would move anyone to consult a self-appointed fraud such as this?

Keep in mind, surprise, surprise that the victim was told in order to be healed she had to have sex with said prophet. I have a suspicion that this might not have been an unusual prescription, unless the client happened to be male.

Let us trust that not all prophets are this unethical. Let us hope that it isn't part of human nature to abuse those in a vulnerable position, and to make money from it. And let us hope for world peace while we are at it– we're more likely to get the latter.

But I see absolutely no reason why I can't call myself a prophet. Or you, for that matter.

So if there are any unbelievers out there who would like to challenge my right to do this, I would like to say I have thoroughly researched the qualifications I need for this lofty title and come up with an impressive list of requirements: none whatsoever. But below are a few optional extras that might make things easier for me in my newly chosen career path:

* A few misguided followers
* A vision in a vegetable patch five years ago
* A willingness to tell people what they want to hear and to charge money for it.
* Definitely an unwillingness to do any real work.
* Self-appointed sense of grandeur optional.

And another thing: I am also fascinated by people who describe themselves as 'psychics', especially on the crime channels. How come they never get used on any other investigations except the ones called 'Psychic Detectives'? (I see the body in a field near some water. There's a tree. I hear traffic nearby. Right – that describes 90% of all places where anyone would dump a body.  Can I have my cheque, please? Don't be stingy, now.)

But back to the prophet. Can one study anywhere for this? Maybe one could do a prophessional diploma somewhere. I can see the syllabus: Waffle 101, Parting a fool from his money 101, Looking the part 101, Deception  and Manipulation 101, Killing the Remnants of your Conscience 101. It's a tough course, let me tell you and only the truly misguided sporting a bouquet of personality disorders get anywhere near the end of it.

And now, let's get down to business. I already have a room in the backyard with a separate entrance, I have designed my pamphlet, I have opened the bank account in the name of my new business (Propheteering Ltd.), I have gathered a few followers from stragglers in the neighbourhood, and I am working on my speech in which I announce the end of the world.

All of this for a mere R100 per consultation. How can you possibly resist it? Next customer, please.

(Prophet Erasmus, aka Susan Erasmus, Health24, February 2013)


Susan Erasmus is the deputy editor of Health24. Read more of her columns .




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