The Sunday Mail
BARELY three days after interacting with this publication, Bishop Zihowa Motsi, the founder of the United African Apostolic Faith Independent Church of Africa (UAAFICA), breathed his last.
The irony of the discussion is that the late bishop, who died at 108 years of age, spoke at length about the secrets to his long life.
He collapsed and died at Karanda Mission Hospital in Mt Darwin on January 24.
Mr Gilbert Karuweruwe, the UAAFICA general-secretary, said basing on what was happening prior to his death, the late bishop knew that his earthly life was coming to an end.
“When he passed on, we did not mourn but we celebrated his life. From our daily interactions with Bishop Motsi, it appeared to me as if he was bidding us farewell,” Karuweruwe said.
According to Karuweruwe, the clergyman made sure that he was always accompanied by a trusted assistant each time he conducted church business.
Information availed by Karuweruwe indicates that the late bishop was born in Murehwa and began preaching and healing in 1940 when he was working at a farm in Beatrice.
Initially, the late clergyman attended an apostolic sect which was under the leadership of Isaac Kachembere.
Teaming up with three white farmers, the quartet formed the Apostolic Church of Southern Rhodesia in 1942, with the church’s headquarters being at Chatsworth, near Masvingo.
The relationship with the white farmers lasted until 1948 when Bishop Motsi broke away to form the UAAFICA.
Bishop Motsi went on to form UAAFICA in 1948 with the white pastors changing the church’s name to the Apostolic Church of South Africa.
According to Karuweruwe, the late Bishop Motsi made a number of prophesies relating to the church that later came to pass.
“He once fell sick and received a prophecy to the effect that he was going to live for seven more years. The prophecy was fulfilled and that is the reason why some of us were not shocked when he died after the seven years,” added Karuweruwe.
Added Karuweruwe: “After the prophecy, he knew that his time was limited so he dedicated much of his time to preaching peace and unity within the church.
‘‘He managed to mend the cracks that were emerging in the church before he passed on.”
The late Bishop was described as a soft-spoken man who led the church out of stormy waters.
“The church has had its own fair share of problems and most of the problems had everything to do with money. Had it not been for his softness, patience and faith, the church could have been in shambles right now,” Karuweruwe.