Can sangomas be Christian?

BISHOP Cuthbert Nyaruvenda, the founder of the Sangano Dzvene Revapostori church, is an intriguing character.

The way he conducts church services and healing sessions has aroused great curiosity.

In a strange and surprising way, he claims to be both a prophet and a traditional healer.

But can one be a Christian and at the same time hold traditional religious beliefs?

As if proving the “oil and water doesn’t mix” proverb wrong, Bishop Nyaruvenda is both an apostolic faith and traditional healer.

Oddly, both Christians and those that believe in traditional healing are consulting him in droves.

When The Sunday Mail Society visited his “surgery” last week, the small room was draped in both traditional healing and apostolic sect paraphernalia.

In one corner were bottles containing “anointing oil,” with the other part containing boxes full of traditional medicine.

Another part of the tiny room was adorned with apostolic sect regalia whilst the other part had traditional healing accessories strewn all over.

A small mat, which Bishop Nyaruvenda claimed had special divine powers, was neatly tucked in a far corner, adjacent to bottles full of “muteuro” – water that is supposedly used by apostolic sect members to cure ailments.

Bishop Nyaruvenda, who claims that he can cast out evil spirits, treat

several diseases, said it is possible for one to be both a prophet and a sangoma.

“Let us first look into the historical religious perspective. When the white men came, they discredited the African culture and the traditional healers, calling them witchdoctors. False claims were made to the effect that traditional healers worshipped the devil.”

Bishop Nyaruvenda went on: “The truth of the matter is that as Africans, we have medical and spiritual problems that can only be solved using the African traditional way of doing things. I look at each client and determine whether to use holy water or summon the traditional spirits.”

He castigated some Christians who attend church during the day and consult traditional healers under the cover of darkness.

“We have church leaders who consult us seeking powers to attract congregants to their churches. They speak ill of us during the day and sing us praises during the night. This is hypocrisy of the highest order,” Bishop Nyaruvenda said.

Sangano Dzvene Revapostori has revolutionalised the way apostolic sects conduct their business.

“We allow women and girls from our church to wear make-up, plait their hair and to preach. Gone are the days when we conducted our church services under trees. We are now building proper structures with ablution facilities. Unlike other sects, we do not conduct our services barefooted,” added the 48-year-old.

Whilst most apostolic sects conduct their church services on either Friday or Saturday, Bishop Nyaruvenda was adamant that the services should be held on Sundays.

“The Bible is often misinterpreted. Sunday is the day the Lord instructed us to praise and worship him,” he said as a parting shot.

For feedback: visit www.sundaymail.co.zw and our Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

15,064 total views, no views today