Ambuya Nehanda religious and socio-political tradition: a view

By Noah Pashapa

I am a Bible believing follower of Jesus Christ who subscribes not to North American politically right wing Evangelicalism but to African-Zimbabwean Decolonial Evangelicalism. Rather than respond to the matter of the Ambuya Nehanda Statue from an intellectually and theologically shallow little informed fundamentalist conservative Pentecostalism let us as Variegated Shades of Evangelicals convene virtual seminars and publish written articles where well-researched and informed papers on this matter are presented as biblically, theologically, intellectually and phenomenologically informed bases for discussion. Religious and Sociology-Political traditions with associated symbolism function to legitimize, conscientize and regulate religious, cultural,political, social and ontological perceptions and experiences. They develop over long periods and often combine multiple strands of ideologies and traditions that originate in various regions and life-situations. They often transcend religious, geographical, institutional and intellectual status-quos. Their socio-political and religious functions develop continually as demanded by the needs of communities that cherish and uphold them. Such religious and socio-political traditions as the Ambuya Nehanda tradition bear images and symbols that signify multiple layers of signifies meanings to various interest groups within these communities. In light of this it is possible that Zimbabweans who subscribe to African Traditional Religion will focus on ancestral veneration related religious aspects of the Ambuya Nehanda tradition while Zimbabweans who subscribe to various strands of the Christian faith may focus more on the socio-political significance of the courage, defiance towards settler colonialism and self-sacrificial indigenous black liberation-resistance to Imperialism and colonialism that inspired our Zimbabwean war of liberation nationally that are signifies by the Ambuya Nehanda socio-political and religious tradition. Therefore Let us not glibly, ignorantly and unqualifiedly denigrate this important socio-political tradition of our national liberation heritage. Doing so would be the start of making Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism forever irrelevant to the African and Zimbabwean Renaissance that is the future of Africa’s modernization. I challenge Evangelical-Pentecostals to engage meaningfully on this matter rather than make glib biblically, theologically and intellectually poorly informed though highly spiritual sounding pronouncements.

Rev Dr Noah Pashapa, a church minister and theologian writes in his individual capaciticy