Sunday, July 24, 2011

Africa, home of authentic religion

The standard, Sunday, 24 July 2011

It seems as if everyone is going to church these days. Driving along Harare streets early in the morning on every worship day (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) many sisters and brothers are going to churches of different persuasions in many parts of the city. Worship places vary from the most posh to bare ground where, in spite of the cold weather, the numbers do not seem to diminish. This is also the case when it is very hot in summer.

Indeed the centre of Christianity has shifted. It started in the Middle East and then shifted to the West. Now it has found home in the so-called Third World. The people in these parts of the world seem to have accepted Christianity hook, line and sinker. One hopes good will come out of the Christian experience that is sweeping across the continent of Africa and other lands of similar disposition.

But looking across these lands it seems little of good is coming out of the faith that has been accepted in our lands.

The West has moved on. Some in the West would even claim that they now live in a post-Christian era. Individualism has taken over to the extent that the Christian teaching of communality is frowned upon. Religion has become a private/individual affair. The fear is: if the new centre of Christianity just copies the faith they get from yonder lands, we stand the chance of following suit. We will soon drift into individualism and forfeit the opportunity to spread true Christianity, even back to the lands it came from.

Coming to the point I want to share today, Africa has been the place of authentic religion. The primary religion of Africa, which academics want to call African Traditional Religion, has never faltered on its veneration of the creator, God, who is given different names in different communities across the continent. When Christianity came it was like a homecoming.

Yes, there were problems here and there but Africans did not find the teachings of Christianity strange. What was strange was the people who brought the faith, their actions and not the faith itself. After all, Christ was here before missionaries came over. It was indeed Christ who brought missionaries to Africa and other places, not the other way round.

The challenge for Africa is to dig into authentic Christianity which Christ lived while he was in Africa. This is where ubuntu comes in. Christ lived true ubuntu and demonstrated that everyone mattered. Anyone created in the image of God is your relative.

Rev Dr Levee Kadenge

Monday, July 18, 2011

Organ on healing, a waste of time

The Standard, Sunday, 17 July 2011

I am not surprised that the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration (ONHRI) has not yet come up with a healing formula. Our first meeting organised by the Heads of Christian Denominations (HOCD) held in Kariba about two years ago where the three ministers from the parties in the GNU were supposed to attend just proved that there was no serious commitment on their part by their absence. This however should not let us be discouraged for a lot of work is going on the ground.

Churches at local levels have tried their best to help people to accept the reality of situations they are in. There are so many encouraging stories around the country if only enough space would be given to hear the successful healing sessions that have been carried out. This is a plus on what Zimbabweans can do. The ONHRI is actually a stumbling block. If something is stopping progress then it should be by-passed and life should go on. It however could have been better if the Organ was in the middle of things.

Because life has to go on communities have come up with survival kits across the country. Some of the ideas have been just spontaneous. Some of the perpetrators of violence have actually owned up, confessed and both the traditional route and the faith based systems of making amends have been applied with great success. I only wish if the Organ would organise meetings to hear what people have already done and are doing.

There is also the vital role which some NGOs specialising in these issues have accomplished without the sanction of the Organ. Waiting for the Organ would have been futile. Common sense just demands that as life has to go on neighbours have to make do with local solutions to help people live in a normal way.

One very interesting story is that of the man who had the propensity of grabbing neighbours’ livestock, like chickens, confessing to a church bishop that he was being tormented by a cock crowing in his stomach. The man confessed that he had done all sorts of things to the community and was very sorry. He was worried that no one was prepared to listen to him.

The bishop advised the guy to pay back. A few weeks later the man phoned the bishop to say the cock had stopped crowing because he had paid back what he had taken from his neighbours.

Is it not as simple as ABC? Waiting for the Organ to do what we can for ourselves is a shear waste of time. Communities can only be encouraged to live harmoniously by using local solutions to local problems.

Rev Dr Levee Kadenge

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Send children home for safe-keeping

The Standard, Sunday, 10 July 2011
Send children home for safe-keeping

THE tragic death of Yemurai Kanyangarara in South London (UK) recently is beyond human comprehension. How can a helpless young boy of 16 be stabbed to death at a bus stop? What is becoming of this world? Where is it safe to live now? All these questions and more have left me dumb and shocked.

When Jesus Christ was born over two centuries ago King Herod wanted him killed. God visited Joseph and Mary in a dream and instructed them to take the child to Africa for safe keeping. Jesus came to Africa with his parents and stayed amongst us for quite some time and only returned to Nazareth after the death of Herod.

Recently I have been consorting with a number of grand-parents who are looking after grandchildren whose parents are all over the world. One thing has become very clear; children are no longer safe in most parts of the world. Some of the parents overseas are seeing it fit to send their children back home for safe keeping. Although this is not the best way of bringing up children at least it is safer here to some extent.

The next question is, is Africa even safe for children? I have just been reading horrendous stories about young children indulging in all sorts of drugs and other so-called modern behaviours which are mostly copied from these parts of the world where it is not safe to bring up children. This means we are catching up fast with the trends elsewhere. There must be a way of reclaiming our moral values and traditional ways of raising our children.

Some youngsters I spoke to told me that the only way this nostalgic experience can come back is for us the older generation to live by example. The way things are happening especially in this country where the adults seem inclined to get what we want by force will not auger well for our children. They are watching and saying; so this is the way one can get what one wants? Beat-up who ever has it and grab whatever you want. Is this what we want? Where will those in yonder places run to when they are being killed in daylight like the Kanyangarara tragedy?

There is still opportunity for us in Africa to reclaim the old glory which was even recognized by God himself to the extent that he instructed that his Son be hosted by Africans. Yes we have dangerous places in Africa but these have come as a result of past unfair experiences which we have to deal with.

Leaders in Africa must lead by example so that our rightful place as God-fearful people is guaranteed.

Rev Dr Levee Kadenge

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Zim can transcend present difficulties

The Standard, Sunday, 3 July 2011

Reading in between lines it seems someone is spoiling for a fight. How can it be that the nation is held to ransom by one or a few people who may not even be at the highest level of our politics? Spin doctors are known all over the world to be just that. They make a lie to be no lie, and vice versa.

No professional people, be they armed forces or police will act just because someone who is known to be a spinner has talked. It would be unwise to be hoodwinked into destroying a nation that is busy working for a new constitution and then conducting free and fair elections in a peaceful manner.

Zimbabweans as we know them will always keep their heads cool. They are not swayed by the machinations of those who just want to be known that they are there. These only want to be seen to be working more than others. They even cause schism among their own. As Zimbabweans, let us appeal to the powers that be that a moratorium be declared for a while. Is it possible to bring all journalists together and sort out their differences on their own? Give us a break.

Judging by the reporting and the cases that are reported in news papers and the denial from those who are accused, this only shows that there is something basically wrong with our journalism at this crucial stage of our history.

This letter is not to sound any alarm but just to confirm the levelheadedness of people called Zimbabweans. We are reading and we are informed in one way or another but we will not give up. We know we have a bright future. What is taking place today is maybe, a preparation of greater things to come. Those of us who come from the faith community believe that everything works for good. We are convinced that even the bad things that happen to someone are lessons of life. Mistakes do not mean the end of the world. Corrections have made us who we are.

We have come through worse situations like Gukurahundi and 2008 debacle. Can those who want to see chaos in this nation be reminded that that is not what the world expects of us. The world is waiting for a peaceful transition from GNU so that other nations may learn. We can do it.

Rev Dr Levee Kadenge