The Sunday Mail
The Johane Marange Apostolic Church is largely known for pioneering the famous white garment and bald hairstyle. But that is not all that is to it, very few people know about its genesis and evolution.
While recent wrangles between Mr Clemence Momberume and Mr Noah Taguta were in the public domain, grandson to the former Mr Collen Momberume took time to narrate the genesis of the church which now has followers around the African continent and beyond. Read on:
Johane Marange was born Muchabaya Momberume and his father was named Fuleni. While working for Chief Marange, Fuleni fell in love with his daughter in Mafararikwa leading to the birth of Arnold, Cornolius and Muchabaya and some girls.
Fuleni couldn’t afford to pay lobola to Chief Marange. As a result, Chief Marange decided to adopt Muchabaya, the youngest of the boys, as payment for lobola.
That’s how he became Muchabaya Marange. In 1917 at the age of five, Muchabaya received the Holy Spirit which revealed to him he was to be called John the Baptist. This happened while he was herding cattle and people went to report to Chief Marange how the young boy was speaking in tongues. The chief thought he had been possessed by a spirit and was contemplating returning the child to his parents because he was speaking about God. At that time only the missionaries were allowed to speak about God and lead churches. Yet this child was contemplating registering a church. This scared the Chief and he planned to disown the child before the missionaries.
On the other hand, Fuleni had sent his brothers to consult sangomas, they confirmed God was in control of the situation. Through the Holy Spirit, Muchabaya spoke in English about Basil Bridge’s journey coming into Zimbabwe thereby convincing the missionaries to register his church.
On realising that the missionaries liked the boy, Chief Marange confessed that Muchabaya was his son resulting in Muchabaya carrying his surname. This would strengthen his chieftainship.
He was to be called Johane Marange from then on. This saw the birth of his church — Sangano reMapostori.
This is how Johane Marange Apostolic Faith church, the first African church, was born in 1912. From then, he was told by the Holy Spirit to preach the word of salvation. His theme being “repent for the kingdom of God is at hand”.
Between 1912 and 1930, he was preaching and performing miracles. He spoke of Jesus and healed with water. He would also prophesy about what was happened during the liberation struggle and how the whites would be defeated.
The church seemed to attract poor people because that time those who attended the likes of the Methodist, Roman Catholic and Anglican were well to do people.
As a result, Johanne Marange embraced them all.
But today we are not poor, we are very educated.
In the course of life, Johane Marange bore twelve sons with my father St Clemence being the sixth born. Before my grandfather died, the Holy Ghost had already revealed to him about how the church would be run after his death. So he instructed the elders that his sons would run the church as priests.
All this time he was doing everything by himself having received training from heaven. The 12 sons who had worked together as pairs since growing up were then instituted into a structure.
His sons were Abel, John, Macbes, Judah, Oliver, Clemence, Tephros, Raphnos, Ignatius, Ambrose, Ebernezer, Israel and Cleopas.
He brought them together and gave them their duties in different departments. But Clemence, being the sixth born, took the Baptist role. The children of Johane Marange’s two brothers also got into the church. There is confusion on the surname of Momberume because Johane’s children became known as Marange. However, these are cousins whom we share the same Momberume surname with.
When the church became popular in the 1970s, congregants increased to 5 000. People who came never knew the difference upon seeing Arnold or Johane, they were all from Momberume but Johane, being humble, never said anything.
Johane died in 1963. When Clemence was told that he was to lead the church, he was only eight years old so they had to install Abel to lead while he grew up.
In a family, if a person has been singled out to be king, you know the element of jealous arises and so it happened between the two families.
As a result, the other cousins abandoned the family of Johane to befriend other non-priestly houses to get support. Abel therefore took over with his father Arnold announcing that he would help him deal with difficult issues. Nobody knows why upon Johane’s death, they didn’t announce that Clemence was going to take over the priesthood. As time went on, Abel passed on. Arnold’s other son arose, he coveted the position and took over, thereby giving birth to today’s friction that has seen various Johane Marange sects dotted across the country.