Reconciliation and Self Rule in Zimbabwean Denominations

Hilde Arntsen, Lecturer, Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo

The present situation among Zimbabwean churches is one of reconciliation and self rule, but also one of increased awareness to the cultural "mistakes" of the past. Ranger (1987: 31) views churches, mission churches and independent churches in particular as movements which primarily "await" Africanisation. Although recent years have seen an increasing degree of self rule among the previously mission-dominated churches, for instance through the various inter-African advisory councils such as the All African Council of Churches (AACC) and local bodies such as the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), the religious efforts may not have rendered people more capable of challenging the exploitative and oppressive forces in society. Hence, the position of the church is not insignificant in terms of the overall climate of opinion or negotiation of the decolonising efforts of the church, and in society in general, and the negotiation of imperialist tendencies be they in terms of religion, religious groups, the media in general or television in particular.

Contrary to the religious groups outside of the electronic church, Zimbabwean mainline religious groups and churches may not find themselves forced to "adapt" their current manners of assembly and worship. Rather, the foreign or foreign-inspired influence through the New Religious Political Right may indicate that Zimbabwean mainline churches adopt another practice. This practice would entail continuing the process of indigenization and Africanisation in order to free themselves of the missiological and colonial legacy of domination of the religious worship and church structure.


Ranger, T. "Religion, Development, and African Christian Identity." Seminar Proceedings 17. Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute for ASfrican Studies, 1987.

[From Hilde Antsen, The Battle of the Mind: International New Media Elements of the New Religious Political Right in Zimbabwe. Oslo:University of Oslo, 1997. 145. Available from Department of Media and Communications [[email protected]].

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