|Booze, church: Strange bedfellows|
|Saturday, 28 July 2012 19:58|
A thick cloud of dust rises, making breathing difficult, as nearly a dozen women of the Zviratidzo Zvavapostori VekwaEphraim Wechitanhatu apostolic sect briskly use their reed brooms to sweep an open-air shrine before the Friday sermon begins.
Only a road separates this group from the party people on the other side of the great divide.
Unbeknown to the church members, the “holy ground” they tread on was being perverted the night before.
Due to the overflowing of revellers at KwaMereki, a popular open-air entertainment joint, some unruly elements take advantage of the darkness to indulge in all sorts of worldly nocturnal exertions. Back to the church, two of the women crawl towards the altar (krawa in apostolic lingo), in humble stupor while humming church hymns in muffed tones.
The duo has taken up the ominous task of removing some used condoms near the “sacred” krawa.
It is evident that the previous night, some people had turned the shrine into a love nest, imbibing and engaging in various acts to satisfy their souls recklessly disregarding the place’s “holiness”.
Later in the day, as the early weekend pacesetters invade KwaMereki engaging in frenzied beer binges amid the deafening noise from stereo systems, the sight of Vapostori devoutly going about their business at the adjacent ground tells a contrasting story.
The bizarre trend of churches co-existing with open-air beer-drinking joints is fast becoming widespread around Harare.
A plethora of apostolic sects have set base alongside some of Harare’s most popular outdoor entertainment venues such as KwaMereki, KwaFarai, and Zindoga, to name just a few.
While devout Vapostori seriously engage in their spiritual rites, outdoor joint patrons engage in relentless beer drinking, prostitution and drug abuse nearby.
Madzibaba Credo Weyidhi-Dhanishi, leader of the Zviratidzo Zvavapostori VekwaEphraim Wechitanhatu, said the reasoning behind the stationing of the church near the joint was to bring the “sinners” back to God’s kingdom.
“We have performed miracles here so that these people in the bars and similar places may give testimony to the works of the Almighty.
At KwaFarai in Glen Norah, a group of young men and a handful of female companions gather around a vehicle with beer cans in their hands.
This brings to the fore the question of whether churches and other sacred places of worship should be confined to where they can be bestowed the dignity they deserve.
Pastor Savious Mushangwe of Living Glory Ministries said places of religious importance must be protected under law, to avoid desecration and impurity brought upon by unholy acts such as prostitution, drug abuse and excessive beer drinking.
expect to emerge unscathed,” said Pastor Mushangwe.
He said it was for the very reason that Jesus violently chased out those who sought to impurify the house of worship in Matthew chapter 21.
She said the Pharisees fasted by going to the marketplace, their faces smeared in ash, as a way of public devotion to their spiritual conviction.
“There is need for clear rules and guidelines which define the demarcation of religious ground and leisure places”.
But with the sprouting of several religious organisations, the need for a proper legal framework which gives guidelines to the location of churches and bars has become apparent.
However, as the merrymakers continue to dance the day away at KwaMereki, KwaFarai, KwaZindoga and Kuhuku, it becomes paramount to highlight that their world and that of the church are divergent.