By Tsepo Munkombwe
Bulawayo, February 11, 2014 – Thousands of Guta Ra Mwari (GRM) followers held their 53rd yearly ceremony at the religious sect’s own Tshabalala International Conference Centre still under construction in the city last weekend.
The annual GRM colourful gathering, known by the sect’s official languages English, Ndebele, Shona and Tswana as the Promise/Isithembiso/Chivimbiso/Tsholofetso attracted congregants from as far as Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa, Botswana and all provinces in Zimbabwe.
The venue of this year’s celebrations at Vulindlela in Tshabalala high density suburb is the spot on which the first GRM boarding School is going to be built and where most of the religion’s practices will be observed as is the norm at different mission schools.
The GRM secretary-general, evangelist Moses Manzini and the congregation chairman evangelist Joseph Malunga confirmed the development which will see a pre-school, primary and secondary schools being built at Vulindlela, Tshabalala soon.
As a sign of upholding freedom of association as enshrined in the country’s constitution, the school will not only give priority to GRM members but will also be open to members of Tshabalala community who are already fetching scarce water from the sect’s borehole situated at the conference centre..
“God said we are able to do all wonderful things we wish for and therefore we are in Tshabalala today because of God’s grace, the building of this school should commence soon as the Religion is committed to do it for both the religion and the community”, said the sect’s international youth coordinator, evangelist Eliphas Nkatha in his address to the gathering.
In its doctrine, GRM religion values education with the belief that it is the main powerful tool of empowering an individual. In order to motivate other congregants, especially the youth, to take education seriously, more than 200 graduates from different institutions locally and abroad were paraded.
Although the GRM school will recruit most of its teachers from among its membership it will also offer jobs to non-members who respect their doctrine.
Previous GRM celebrations were held at the International Trade Fair grounds and White City stadium in the country’s second capital but the congregants raised concerns on the amount of money they spent on hiring the space and hence applied to the city council to be allocated their own stand.
Most GRM ceremonies like weddings and conferences in the City Of Kings (and Queens), as Bulawayo is popularly known, will now be held at the incomplete Tshabalala conference centre.
In Zimbabwe GRM commands thousands of followers from all corners of the country.