By Dr Tafataona Mahoso
IN previous instalments, I have asked The Patriot readers to ask themselves why civil conflicts in Nigeria, Chad, Libya, Mali, Somalia, Sudan and, sometimes, Kenya have been explained and even justified in terms of religious disagreements which are not indigenous and definitely not between or among original indigenous faiths of the local African people?
Homecoming and the reclamation of the African mind, just like the African political liberation project of the last 70 years, would require overcoming the denominational and sectarian divisions imposed on the people by foreign faiths a part of the colonial project.
In both Egypt and Zimbabwe, our ancestors made intellectual discourse and prophetic teaching accessible to ordinary people by using stories about observable natural processes and by ascribing human social conflict and co-operation to animals (ngano).
The trickster stories were not Machiavellian in African political teachings.
Rather they were used the same way as Solomon’s test against the fake mother — to punish evil as well as deceit and uphold moral integrity.
According to Professor James Henry Breasted in The Dawn of Conscience, the genius of the parable and ngano as a mass teaching device was the ‘skill in setting forth (otherwise) abstract principles in concrete situations, so wonderfully illustrated (2 000 years) later in the parables of Jesus’. (p.186) Breasted went on to say this African wisdom as parables in Egypt and later in Palestine succeeded in influencing leaders ‘in large measure due to the form in which they circulated among all classes.
Such doctrines, had they been enunciated as abstract principles, would have attracted little or no influence.
The Egyptian (African), moreover, always thought in concrete terms and in graphic forms’.
He thought not of theft but of a thief, not of love but of a lover, not of poverty but of a poor man. (p. 217).
The result was that the doctrines of these (early African) social thinkers were always placed in a dramatic setting, and the doctrines themselves found expression in a dialogue growing out of experiences and incidents represented as actual’.
Egyptians worshipped the solar God and that solar energy was directly linked to life and growth in agriculture and in nature so that “the deepest sources of power in the remarkable (intellectual and moral) revolution lay in this appeal to nature, in this admotion to ‘consider the lilies of the field’ (or tares and wheat, or the sawyer and his seed.(p. 292)
It is important to notice, therefore, that Inkanaton was a prophet of both nature and of human life.
Like Jesus who (2 000 years later), on one hand, drew his lessons from the lilies of the field, the fowls of the air, or the clouds of the sky and, on the other, from human society about him in stories like the ‘Prodigal Son’, the ‘Good Samaritan’, or the woman who had lost her piece of money, this revolutionary Egyptian prophet drew his teaching from a contemplation both of nature and of human life.” (p.296)
This African moral philosophy was not elitist or royal.
It was povo-centred like the teachings of the pungwe in the Second Chimurenga in Zimbabwe.
“The new (intellectual) spirit which drew its inspiration from the beauty and beneficence of nature was at the same time deeply sensitive to the life of man (today’s povo) and to human relations as they actually were…” (p.295)
Significance of the parable of ‘Wheat and Tares’ (Zviyo ne Shenga)
Matthew 13:24-30 is worth rendering in a national Language:
“Zvino muedzaniso umweni wakauronzera kwavari echiti: ‘Ushe hwekudenga hunoedzaniswa nomurimi wakakusha mbeu dze zviyo dzakanaka mumunda mwake.
Asi apo vanhu vachakarara, mhandu yake yakapotera mumunda ikakushawo shenga (masawi) kusvika nepakati pemunda ikaenda.
Asi apo zviyo zvave kumera, mbesa dze shenga dzakaonekwavo dzakasangana nedze zviyo.
Saka vashandi vasamusha murimi vakauya kwaari vechibvunza:
Changamire ingawani makakusha mbeu dze zviyo dzakanaka mumunda?
Shenga razobvawo nekupi?
Samusha murimi vakati: Izvi zvaitwa nemhandu, mupoteri.
Saka vashandi vakati: Changamire, tibvumirei kundoobvita mbesa dze shenga tichisiya dze zviyo chete.
Samusha murimi akati: Kwete, handimutenderi kuti mubvite mbesa dze shenga muchisiya dze zviyo, ngekuti hamuna ruzivo rwakakwana namaoko angagona kubvita mbesa dze shenga dzoga muchisiya dze zviyo. Mungazobatanidza mbesa dze sora nedzezviyo.
Chiregerai sora nezviyo zvikure nokuibva pamwechete kusvikira nguva yekukukura yasvika, apo vacheki vanozokwanisa kuona ngemwonzora kuti shenga remhandu ngeripi, zviyo zvangu nge zvipi.
Vacheki munozounganidza mwanda yeshenga muchipisa. Mwapedza mwozounganidza mwanda yezviyo mwechiisa mutsapi yangu.”
This is a simple parable about how to contain the menace of enemy infiltration and when to get rid of it decisively and transparently.
In Zimbabwe, the weed called shenga looks exactly like rapoko (rukweza) until very late in the growth cycle.
That is why the enemy chose that kind of infiltration.
The herbicide which kills shenga will also kill rukweza.
The roots of the weed are stronger and go deeper than those of the crop, precisely in order to compensate for any attempt at early weeding.
The owner forbade his workers to start pulling out tares without adequate knowledge of the camouflage characteristics of the infiltrative weed.
The parable reveals that there are only two options for dealing with such sophisticated infiltration.
The first option is teaching those who weed to acquire the expertise or wisdom similar to that of Solomon facing the two mothers.
The owner realised that even if he were to start educating his workers about the camouflage traits of the tares, this would be too late for the current thoroughly infiltrated crop.
So he opted to continue teaching the workers while allowing the genuine crop and the camouflage weed to grow together until the crop produced ears of grain which would fully distinguish it from the infiltrative weed.
What was the worst that could have happened?
The worst that could have happened was for the workers to mistake the weed for the crop and therefore to uproot all the crop plants and by default leave the entire field to the enemy’s infiltrative weed.
This can happen in politics as much as in religious faiths.
“Pfungwa yasamusha murimi yaive yekuti: Vasakuri vakadzidziswe chinyi?
Vakadzidziswa nani, kupi?
Pakati pavasakuri hapana here nhumwa neshamwari dzemuvengi akakusha shenga?”
Expulsions and counter expulsions from a church or a party may result in forfeiting it completely to the enemy’s infiltrative weeds.
Are those doing the weeding trained to know tares from the wheat?
Here in Zimbabwe, the divisiveness of imported faiths has shown itself even within one church denomination.
On December 17 2012, Madzimbahwe woke up to screaming headlines which could be taken as represented by The Herald announcing that ‘Anglicans hold cleansing ceremony’.
The story was everywhere, including several radio stations. The frames were identical and binary: ‘Evil versus good’.
By focusing on the personalities of Bishop Chad Gandiya of the Church of the Province of Central Africa and Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga of the Church of the Province of Zimbabwe, the media caused Madzimbahwe great harm.
To this day, none of these media outlets has made any effort to search for a native African view, an indigenous African view of the conflict, a view which would reduce the alleged cleansing ceremonies to fraudulent media stunts conducted in sheer illiteracy about the laws of hunhu as opposed to English Cannon Law.
From the indigenous African perspective, neither Gandiya nor Kunonga was the issue.
To come close to the issue, I ask the reader to go back to The Herald of September 4 and the ZTV News at eight bulletin for September 3 2006.
According to The Herald and ZTV news on 4 and 3 September, respectively, white Christians from Britain, Germany, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain and the US visited Africa and came to Zimbabwe with a message of apology which included the following statement:
“We repent for taking rather than giving.
Taking riches and lands of Africa.
We repent for dehumanising Africans, treating them as goods, calling them black ivory.
We repent for robbing Africans of their history and identity.
Today we ask for forgiveness in Jesus’ name before you and God.”
This is the latest in a series of published apologies made by white people ever since the crisis of the Euro-American white empire began to manifest itself in the middle of the 1960s.
The Anglican Church
The Church of England was born out of King Henry the 8th’s desire after women and a struggle to reclaim English real estate from the control of the Catholic Pope.
That is bad news enough but it does not constitute the heart of the Anglican Church’s crimes in Africa.
Before analysing the Anglican Church’s crimes in Africa, the reader may need to understand the African concept of sin and time.
Sin does not just concern the individual sinner and his or her God.
Sin is both individual and relational; it concerns not only one’s relationship with God but also the fact that God is concerned about human relationships and relations between (among bloodlines).
The Western Church has abandoned the original African concept of sin to suit capitalism.
It has adopted the linear, narcissistic view of life and identity after Renē Des Cartes’ ‘I think, therefore I am’.
The original African view is relational: ‘I relate therefore I am’.
The missionaries who begged for forgiveness in front of Cde Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique tried to address the Church’s relational sins without a proper mandate and without the designated representative of the bloodlines which the white Church has harmed over 500 years.
But those missionaries also seem to have accepted the African relational view that crime does not expire — it can only be settled the day the representatives of the bloodlines on both sides agree the terms of settlement and proceed to settle.
It is most significant that the Anglican quarrel in Zimbabwe has not involved madzimambo nemadzishe, the real owners (on behalf of the people) of the stolen property over which the Anglicans now fight.
So, if the reader asks me whether the Anglican feud in Zimbabwe has spiritual and legal implications for the future of the redeemed African land, I would say that is precisely the issue, that is precisely the concern of Madzimbahwe.
These Anglicans are an alienated and lost branch of the bloodlines of Chaminuka, Mbuya Nehanda, Sekuru Kaguvi, Chief Chingaira and King Lobengula, now fighting over the stolen inheritance of Madzimbahwe without ever approaching the present designated representatives of Madzimbahwe.
The late Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku or Chief Justice Luke Malaba were not the designated heirs of Chaminuka or Murenga and the law they administer(ed) was definitely not yet the law of the land, especially when it comes to so-called Anglican properties. Roman Dutch Law is bad enough.
English Canon Law is a sacrilege on Chaminuka’s soil.
It places the Queen of England over the rightful heirs of Murenga!
Roman Dutch Law and English Cannon Law are not only hopelessly adversarial (the opposite of relational); they are also a travesty when it comes to the ways in which they deal with time.
In the particular dispute, the rupture which was dealt with in the courts is seen as starting the day Archbishop Kunonga declared independence from or walked out of the Church of the Province of Central Africa.
But who, what is, the Church of the Province of Central Africa on Chaminuka’s soil?
I hope the reader is now able to analyse the Anglican colonial crime as it relates to Dzimbahwe:
Dimensions of the Anglican ngozi
l The Anglican Church and the London Missionary Society were among religious organisations used by Cecil John Rhodes and his agent Charles Rudd to deceive King Lobengula.
l The Church of England, represented by Bishop Knight Bruce of Bloemfontein, shared in the ₤10 000 Sterling bribe money which helped to oil the fraud called the Rudd Concession.
l Bishop Bruce was elevated, through Rhodes’ recommendation, from being Bishop of Bloemfontein to being Bishop of all the stolen territories in Zimbabwe.
l Despite his initial opposition to the part of the Rudd Concession concerning arms for the Ndebeles, Bishop Bruce was present when the latter were massacred by settlers in the war of 1893. He did not even lift a finger against the massacres. In addition, the churches were given the children of the massacred Africans to turn them into easy converts.
l The Anglican Church participated in the seizure and conversion of African land into white estates. Missionaries became the mujibhas/chimbwidos of the British occupation of Zimbabwe, with mission stations planted strategically along the border with Mozambique from Chikore in the far South to St Augustine and others in the North.
l The Anglican Church, as the English state Church, played a key intelligence role during the First Chimurenga by helping to break the fighting spirit of the African masses. It portrayed God as an imperialist on the side of the British empire, thereby helping to present white colonialism and settelerism as inevitable, permanent and according to God’s plan.
l In the Second Chimurenga, the Anglican Church continued its role as the state Church, with Bishop Paul Burrough and Father Christie as notorious supporters of the Smith regime.
l During the Third Chimurenga, the Anglican Church continued to identify itself with the Rhodesian camp in the economy and on land.
For instance, what happened in 2012 was envisioned way back on June 5 2008 when the Venerable Reverend Archford Musodza of the Anglican Diocese of Francistown, Botswana, wrote to a woman Anglican in Zimbabwe called Martha, saying:
“Once MDC-T’s Tsvangirai takes the reigns in Zimbabwe, then all former (white settler) farmers are assured of a return to their farms.
The (white-run) Church will be restored and we can mobilise all Anglicans to now vote for a Bishop from Britain who is not polluted.
The (British-derived) Bishop will be mandated to return the (Zimbabwean Province of) the Church back to correct hands, the English Church with proper British ethos.”
Musodza’s letter shows the madness which is characteristic of those affected by the Anglican colonial crime.
It divides Madzimbahwe between those seeking to restore the Englishness of the Church and those who want an ‘independent’ Zimbabwean Church; it deliberately mixes up the stolen property given by Rhodes to white Anglican missionaries with the vast farmlands given to British soldiers (white war-veterans) in Zimbabwe; and it equates a British-sponsored political party with the Chad Gandiya faction in the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe.
The June 5 2008 letter used what those in the regime change camp would call ‘hate speech’ if it were directed against themselves.
This is a manifestation of the colonial crime I am talking about:
There is also an assumption, based on laziness, that since churches claim to be permanently in the business of healing people, they should lead the process of cleansing and healing Zimbabwe.
Our readers should consider the following passage from a book by a Canadian journalist working for the World Council of Churches in Rwanda at the time of the 1994 genocide there. Hugh McCullum wrote The Angles Have Left US: The Rwanda Tragedy and the churches, in which he observed that:
“More than 90 percent of Rwanda’s people were baptized Christians (65 percent Catholic, 20 percent Protestant or Anglican, about 5 percent Adventist.) Except for the Government, the Roman Catholic Church was the most influential and powerful institution in Rwanda.
The Protestant churches, though numerically much smaller, had a disproportionate degree of influence right up to the Office of The President.”
In addition to its almost complete religious homogeneity and apparent unity at the time of the 1994 genocide, Rwanda’s population was of the same race, sharing the same religion, language and culture.
It is therefore wrong to suggest that ethnic ‘differences’ among Africans are the cause of conflict.
But churches and other foreign faiths are proven instigators of African conflicts.
“In speaking about local group conflicts we tend to make three assumptions: first, that ethnic identities are ancient and unchanging; second, that these identities motivate people to persecute and kill; and third, that ethnic diversity itself inevitably leads to violence. All these are mistaken,” John R Bowen, The Myth of Global Ethnic Conflict, 1996.
Therefore in Zimbabwe, as in Rwanda, those interested in peace and reconciliation must stop looking for causes of conflict among the supposedly ‘primitive’ or ‘traditional’ masses or natives.
The causes of conflict are post-modern, neo-colonial, elitist and largely imported.