Zimbabwe (formerly Southern Rhodesia)

WM work in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) began as an outpost of the Transvaal District, when missionaries accompanied Rhodes' pioneer column in 1891. Black South African evangelists had a leading role, including Evangelist Moleli who with others was murdered in the Shona uprising of 1896. The growth of the Church was accompanied by the founding of some notable educational institutions, including the Waddilove teacher training institution and Tekwani/Thekwane industrial institution. Canaan Banana (b.1936), a Methodist minister (but later unfrocked) was the country's first President. The restrictions placed on rural church life during Zimbabwe's war of independence in the 1970s did not prevent the District becoming an autonomous Conference in 1977 under the outstanding leadership of A. Ndhlela. In 1989 the title of President was changed to Bishop. Several American-related Methodist Churches (UMC, AMEZ, CME) also work in Zimbabwe, as does an African Methodist Church which broke away from British Methodism in 1947. In 1956 a membership of 25,000 was reported, with a community role of 50,000. By 2002 these totals had risen to 111,900 and 198,000 respectively.

  • Clarence Thorpe, Limpopo to Zambesi: Sixty Years of Methodism in Southern Rhodesia (1951)
  • Canaan Banana (ed.), A Century of Methodism in Zimbabwe (1991)

Entry written by: JRP
Category: Place
Comment on this entry