We knew God before missionaries came

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COMMENTING on ‘Operation Restore Legacy’, one gentleman said to me: “Ukaona maGenerals oti kune vemachurch, namatirai nyika yedu, zvinenge zvaoma,” (If you see the Generals ask the churches to pray for the country, it means the going is really tough).
I could not respond to the comment that moment, it was a very strange comment.
Branding Africans pagans was part of a well-orchestrated strategy to denigrate the African, in order to justify subjugating them, robbing them of their land and wealth.
They had to relentlessly attack the African soul because once the soul is vanquished, the willpower to resist no longer existed.
King Leopold II of Belgium in his brief to the missionaries he was sending to the Congo as part of the colonial contingent underlined the following key points.
“Reverends, fathers, and dear compatriots: The task that is given to fulfill is very delicate and requires much tact.
You will go certainly to evangelise, but your evangelisation must inspire above all Belgium interests.
Your principal objective in our mission in the Congo is never to teach the niggers to know God, that they know already.
They speak and submit to a Mungu, one Nzambi, one Nzakomba, and what else I don’t know.
They know that to kill, to sleep with someone else’s wife, to lie and to insult is bad.
Have courage to admit it, you are not going to teach them what they know already.
Your essential role is to facilitate the task of administrators, industrialists, which means you will go to interpret the gospel in the way it will be the best to protect your interests in that part of the world.
For these things, you have to keep watch on disinteresting our savages from the richness that is plenty in their underground, to avoid that they get interested in it and make and dream one day to overthrow you.”
Thus it was well known that Africans were not pagans, but had to be branded so, to soften them for the armed robbery of their land and wealth.
David Livingstone in his preparation of missionaries at Oxford University, categorically lectured them to know that their mission in Africa was a commercial venture.
Evangelisation was therefore a decoy, no-one ever needed to be taught about God in Africa.
We were no exceptions here in Zimbabwe, we were not spared the scourge.
While the British armed robbers said Nehanda, a chief medium of Mwari, was no more than an unrepentant witch, the moment they captured her in 1896, they sent telegrams to England to say that the war was over.
Like King Leopold II of Belgium, they knew we had a strong bond with Musikavanhu, and for that reason, invincible.
This knowledge and realisation frightened them.
Our people were always in communication with God, Musikavanhu, who took care of them, His whole creation and protected them from all vicissitudes.
When the armed robbers from Britain invaded our land in 1890, Mwari directed that they were a menace and should be driven out at all costs.
This directive was consonant with His relationship with His children.
He had given them land and wealth, a precious heritage, it was theirs, no-one else’s, He would fight with them till the end.
When Nehanda would not bow down to her aggressors, refused to apologise for fighting the armed robbery of her land, and scorned to be baptised, she was protecting a fundamental cardinal:
She was loyal only to Musikavanhu even in the face of death.
It was very natural for her to scorn treachery, for she was a chief medium of Mwari, Musikavanhu, she had to protect the truth of the bond between Musikavanhu and His people.
Thus she obeyed His directive to drive out the white menace, she could not and did not bow down to the white robbers.
This was the foundation of the liberation struggle.
It was a war Musikavanhu directed should take place.
It is a war He blessed, a war He guided, to drive out the white menace, to restore land and wealth to those to whom He had bequeathed them, the people of Zimbabwe.
Saka pazvakatangira zvehondo yedu yeChimurenga pakava nerunamato rukuru, nokushingiswa kukurusa.
Nzira Dzemasoja, the eight points of attention are deeply spiritual, they are in tandem with the Ten Commandments, in them every single one of them is protected.
Musikavanhu did not countenance adultery, directed that there should be no robbery of the people, no cruelty, everyone had to be treated with love and respect.
These were the guidelines.
General Constantino Chiwenga and his fellow generals are veterans of this deeply spiritual armed struggle and were schooled in this mettle.
They conducted a liberation war according to these precepts, applied them faithfully and triumphed.
This is why I found the comment strange, and I could not respond to it.
This is why to me it was natural that General Chiwenga should ask for prayers, the foundation of the liberation struggle was deeply spiritual.
And Musikavanhu answered his prayers.
None of His precepts were abrogated, there was no cruelty, no injuries or deaths, everything was carried out with love and respect.
Nzira Dzemasoja were observed in full and malcontents were contained.
‘Operation Restore Legacy’ was not allowed to pander to the dictates of those who lust for violence, disturbance and disorder.
Today we can still walk with our babies in our arms without fearing for their safety.
When our war ended in 1980 and we came home, there were no recriminations but reconciliation and the building of a new future based on justice and equality.
We, the victors who for 90 years had been victims of such a diabolical scourge extended the hand of peace, of reconciliation.
What can be more prayerful?
To wage such a bitter war, to suffer so much, to lose thousands and thousands and to come out of such harshness and cruelty and to still be able to say, ‘let us be reconciled’ is Godly, very Godly!
Indeed, we knew God before missionaries’ arrival.

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