THE prosperity churches have taken advantage of the economic down-turn in Zimbabwe to lure millions to their revival and miracle sessions.
The young, the inexperienced and the financially challenged have been turned into religious ministry cannon fodder.
This latter phase is mostly led by indigenous Africans pausing as pastors, evangelists and prophets.
With the coming in of the US dollar, even American and European revivalists have flocked in for the rich pickings: spiritually deprived Zimbabweans willing to follow anyone who calls them!
The point is that all this religious fervour has consistently targeted the destruction of African religion and with it, the religious and cultural identity of Africans.
Without religion and without our own culture, we literally cease to exist except as mere warm bodies that are spiritually abused by others.
With our spirituality emasculated, we are like empty vessels waiting to be filled with any rubbish that emanates from anywhere.
The cornerstone of our spirituality is its connectedness to God through our parents, grandparents and our generations of ancestors back to our Mwari, our Creator.
This fact cannot be in dispute, we have a continuous link through our ancestors back to God.
That is why in our African Mwari religion, we approach our Creator through our ancestral spirits.
We do not worship our ancestors, never have and never will.
In the case of the Shona, our God speaks to us through our ancestral spirits.
It is the same with all other religions.
So the case for us to abandon our religion in favour of foreign ones is spiritually hopeless and uncalled for.
Our African spirituality must be maintained and cultivated because it is real and it connects us to our roots and our Creator.
What we as Africans need to do to reclaim our spiritual independence!
As a matter of urgency we need to reject the foreign dogmas that in any case are so devisive as to turn brother against brother.
Look at all the wars being fought, Christian against Christian or Moslem; Sunni against Shia.
Our big brother Nigeria the Central African Republic, Middle East.
Christian Europe and America against oil rich Moslem Middle East!
We need to build a strong African religion.
We need to carefully document our religion.
Because the Christian Bible contains mostly African religious laws, we need to revise it and align it with our own reality, not a reality created to mislead and confuse us.
We will do this with a free conscience knowing that the Bible is essentially an African book, adopted and modified by Europeans to suit their own schemes.
King James revised the Bible extensively to purge it of reference to Africa and things African.
He Anglicised the Bible.
We are calling for its restoration as an African religious document.
Hosiah Chipanga has formed a church that closely mimics what the African religion is all about.
We can build on that foundation.
All we will seek is to create an institution that allows us to worship Mwari, our God, the way we understand and the way our ancestors have evolved our religious practices.
We can improve practices as we move on in history.
Foreign religions have clearly failed.
The indigenous apostolic churches long rejected Westernised Christianity.
They represent efforts by Africans to indigenise Western religion.
The Zimbabwe Christian Church (ZCC) has strong indigenous roots and has gone some way to give the church African roots.
All these efforts and others not mentioned here, represent African religious independence movements.
They are positive for the African struggle for spiritual emancipation and independence.
And most importantly our people, despite so-called conversion to Western Christianity, continue to practise our Shona religious rites because they are right.
Virtually, all Africans including Christian pastors openly or clandestinely attend African religious festivals, at various times of the year, a clear indication that African religion survives and thrives today.
It needs to be organised!
Examples of Shona religious rituals include, but are not limited to ‘kurova guva’, ‘kuroora’, and ‘mukwerera’, the rain-making ceremonies.
The various religious practices need to be documented and also to be reviewed and re-aligned with modern practices that enhance their capacity to cater for the spiritual needs of Africans.
We need to dig deep into our indigenous knowledge banks to identify various religious and cultural practices that underpinned the nutrition, health and reproductive health of our people.
The relevant information can then be carefully reviewed for content and relevance and widely disseminated through the internet and other print and electronic channels.
In short, we are advocating the deliberate establishment of an indigenous religious movement that seeks to create a clear religious and cultural identity of the people at the core of which will stand our spiritual identity.
With a clear spiritual identity, we will be better able to defend our independence and sovereignty.
It will be easier to mobilise people to stand up for their own.
We want to define our relationship with God, our spirituality, in a culturally-relevant mode that recognises our connection to God through our ancestral line. We reject foreign religions that isolate, divide and then denigrate our cultural identity as Africans.
In the next episode we shall look at the major elements that underpin religious and spiritual independence as we seek buy-in from Zimbabweans for a spiritually independent homeland.