The wife of the leader of Apostolic African Church, Mai Joyce Mwazha, who passed away last week, seemed to know her time was up, telling close congregants as much during the church’s 2016 Easter Conference.
Mai Mwazha succumbed to diabetes last Saturday afternoon at her home in Hatfield, Harare at age 79.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail Religion, Mai Mwazha’s secretary in Ruwadzano (Women’s Fellowship) Mrs Juru, said her boss appeared to be preparing for her death last year.
“Mai Mudzidzisi (Mai Mwazha) knew that she would die anytime because I remember last year during Easter Conference, she gathered all the women and we had a lengthy discussion after which she surrendered all church work in public.
“She told the gathering of women that from that time all church business will be handled by (me) and (her daughter), Mrs Gangai. And from that time God has been helping us; it’s not something to brag about – it is the will of God.
“Ever since then people have been calling us asking for advice but from time to time we would ask our mother for guidance but now (she is dead). The void that she left will be hard to fill but we believe God will help us. When time comes there is nothing us human beings can do,” said Mrs Juru.
Mrs Tabita Gangai-Mwazha, the late Mai Mwazha’s daughter, chronicled how her mother mentored several women in the church to remain faithful in their marriages and venture into business.
“My mother was a role model . . .to be what we are as a family is because of her, she had great love and she never separated us. She had great respect for our father and up to now I still cannot understand it. The two were hand and glove.
“Despite her advanced age, Mrs Mwazha could still do projects like weaving, gardening and poultry. She always wanted to be practical. She would accommodate everyone: rich, poor, small and big. Everyone could come to her seeking guidance and advice.”
She added that Mai Mwazha was gifted in healing, deliverance, counselling and teaching.
“She would pray for people at church, laying hands on them. That was another way she positively contributed to the development of the church.
“Mai Mwazha travelled all over the world preaching the Gospel, that is why people from Angola, Zambia, the United Kingdom, South Africa and several other countries have come.
“Her death was a clear sign that God had been satisfied with her work. I was with her when she breathed her last and I can safely confirm that she died a peaceful death, no struggle at all. It was as if she was relaxing. She played her part and that is why we are celebrating her.”
Another daughter, Mrs Marry Shumba-Mwazha, said her mother was full of love.
“She always preached unity. My mother’s life can be summarised with a Bible verse that comes from Galatians 5:22 – the fruits of the spirit.
“I don’t know who will fill the void that she left but I know that with God everything is possible, I’m sure God is going to raise somebody for us,” she said.
A daughter-in law, Mrs Miriam Mwazha, said she consistently learnt something new from Mai Mwazha.
“Ever since I became part of the Mwazha family, I have been learning both at home and at church. Most of the lessons I got from her were practical.
“I thank God for my mother-in law. I remember accompanying her around the world; it was a great experience as she taught me to be a leader and a woman of honour.”
The youngest of Mai Mwazha’s daughters, Tendai, said her mother believed in education.
“She taught me the principle of valuing myself as a woman, not to allow someone to manipulate me, to stand my ground and be rooted in my faith. She taught me to pray, she used to say all solutions are found in God.
“Now that she is gone I don’t know, it’s too early to tell because whatever issues I have there was no dividing line. I could discuss anything with her, be it marital issues, anything. She was everything to me,” she said.
Church member Mrs Loveness Marevo said she started working with Mai Mwazha when she was still a youth.
“Before I got married I was under her wings and all my children were born in her sight. She assisted me in almost every aspect of my life and I cannot comprehend life without her,” said Mrs Marevo
Fellow congregant Mrs Leticia Shumba added: “The church has lost a strong figure. I first got to know her in Wedza and even when we relocated to the city we remained together.
“Our church is big and everyone could come with his or her own issue to her but she could keep all those issues to her heart. We had confidence in her.
“She would not sleep during church conferences, praying for people. This is why divorce cases are very low in the church. I know many women agree with me, mother was a great teacher who will be forever missed.”
Mrs Mwazha was buried at NC Mwazha Plot, Munyati South in Chivhu last Wednesday. She is survived by her husband, Apostle Mwazha, five children, 16 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Meanwhile, the African Apostolic Church has postponed its annual Easter Conference following Mai Mwazha’s death.
The conference was to run from April 14 to 17 at Guvamombe near Sadza growth point.
Church secretary-general Bishop Richard Juru said, “Almost everything was in place in as far as the conference preparations were concerned but we had to cancel it because of this situation.
“Yearly we travel to Wedza during the Easter conference but this year the issue is different; we are mourning our beloved mother. We have informed congregants that in the near future we will announce new dates for the conference.”
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