Are Pastor Kanyari's TikTok stunts becoming too much?

Pastor Kanyari TikTok stunts leave Kenyans divided. (Courtesy)

Kenyan Pastor Victor Kanyari has never shied away from controversy. But his recent forays into the world of TikTok have taken things to a whole new level, leaving Kenyans amused and bewildered in equal measure.

The question on everyone's mind seems to be: How far is Kanyari willing to go to grab attention?

In two recent incidents that have gone viral, Kanyari has pushed the boundaries of what some consider appropriate online behaviour, particularly for a religious leader.

First, came the incident that shocked many. During a Sunday service, a female TikToker named Faith M Peters presented Kanyari with a gift that left everyone speechless: condoms.

Peters' offering also included panty liners and petroleum jelly. She then surprised the congregation further by professing her love for the recently-single pastor.

Kanyari, clearly tickled by the situation, accepted the gifts and even unwrapped them on the pulpit, sparking a wave of mixed reactions.

Some praised Peters' boldness, while others criticized her lack of decorum in church.

Second, was the now infamous "exorcism" attempt. Kanyari tackled the delicate topic of sexuality with a bizarre performance aimed at "changing" a gay TikToker named Mpenzi Chokuu.

Chokuu, known for his flamboyant style, was dressed in a buibui, a traditional long robe when Kanyari launched into his act.

The "prayer" was a perplexing mix of religious pronouncements and military jargon, with Kanyari shouting "fire!" and referencing grenades and machine guns.

Chokuu playfully added to the theatrics, vigorously shaking his behind in response to Kanyari's mock exorcism.

While some viewers found it humorous, others condemned the perceived disrespect for religion.

These two episodes perfectly illustrate Kanyari's talent for generating controversy, and this time, he's doing it on the ever-popular TikTok platform

According to Kanyari himself, his motivations for joining TikTok are not about personal gain.

"Joining the platform is not going to make me rich if I'm not already rich," he said in a previous interview. "I joined TikTok because I noticed that it is mostly the younger generation and I wanted to reach out and save some lives. There are a lot of tragedies and I think we can make a difference. There are a lot of drug addicts on the platform and I hope to help and guide them."

Kanyari has also addressed the inevitable criticism that follows him.

"No pastor has faced as much criticism as I have," he stated. "If you were to live my life for just one day, you wouldn't be able to withstand the amount of hate I receive. That's why I won't let trolls stop me from doing what I want. I've become immune to the negativity and hate."

Interestingly, Kanyari has also revealed that his online presence has resulted in financial gains.

"I have received numerous gifts from Kenyans in Germany and the USA," he shared. "Most of the gifts are from people in those countries. I've been on the platform for less than a week and I checked and my account has accumulated over Sh100,000 so far. Money isn't my main motivation for being there," he clarified.

Whether his antics are seen as a bit of harmless fun or a mockery of serious issues depends on the viewer.

One thing is for sure: Pastor Kanyari has succeeded in capturing the online spotlight, but only time will tell if his strategy will backfire.


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