Easter celebrations with a difference : a critical study of the Johane Masowe Chishanu yeNyenyedzi approach to the event

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    The celebration of Easter has become a universal event within the Christian liturgical calendar and aims to commemorate the passion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Messages on the passion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ are vigorously proclaimed throughout the holy week, which usually begins on a holy Thursday ending on a resurrection Sunday (Easter Sunday). Some Churches will even dramatise the events that led to the death of Jesus Christ and how He was crucified on the cross. Apparently, the purpose of these ritual re-enactments is to capture the minds of the congregants on how their Saviour suffered and eventually died on the cross to bring salvation to humanity. Invariably, on resurrection Sunday, the services will end with a ritual of Holy Communion. However, while other Christian denominations commemorate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter, we have noted that the Johane Masowe Chishanu yeNyenyedzi Church celebrates ‘Easter’ with a difference. For them ‘Easter’ is the time to remember the ‘Fathers of the Faith’, i.e. the messianic leaders whom God raised to give leadership and guidance to the church. Every Easter, the Johane Masowe Chishanu yeNyenyedzi Religious Movement commemorates deliverance from evil spirits, which was made possible through the charismatic leadership of Shonhiwa Masedza (Johane), founder of the original ‘Church’; Mudyiwa Dzangara (Emanuere), second from Johane; and Sanders Nhamoyebonde (Sanders/Nyenyedzi), third from Johane. In the view of the Church adherents, Jesus Christ was sent by God to deliver people of mhiri yegungwa (overseas), i.e., the whites and the Jews, whilst Masedza, Mudyiwa and Nhamoyebonde were sent by God to deliver Africans. It is against this background that this study seeks to delve deeper into this religious movement’s unique ways of celebrating the memory of their spiritual leaders during Easter commemorations. Interviews and participant observation are the key tools used for data collection, since this movement under study has no written documents.