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Christianity in Zimbabwe

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Title: Christianity in Zimbabwe  
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Christianity in Zimbabwe

Christianity in Zimbabwe is one of the major religions practiced in Zimbabwe. The arrival of Christianity dates back to the 14th century by missionaries. Christianity is embraced by the majority of the population. It is estimated at about 70 to 80 percent of Zimbabweans claim to be Christians.[1]

Heads of the Christian Denominations in Zimbabwe is an association made up of the main church bodies; Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference, and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches.[2]


Roman Catholic missionaries were the first to arrive in Zimbabwe. The first attempt to introduce Christianity to the Shona [tribe of Zimbabwe] was made by a Portuguese Jesuit missionary, Gonçalo da Silveira, at the court of the Monomotapa dynasty until he was murdered as a result of court intrigues in 1561.[3] Although at least a dozen Catholic churches were planted, they all disappeared by 1667, when Portugal’s power was waning, leaving “no discernible trace of Christianity.” This remained the situation until the movement of Protestant missions arrived in the nineteenth century.

In 1799 Johannes Van der Kemp helped launching a missionary society called London Missionary Society (LMS). One of the LMS missionary who helped launch Protestant missions into Zimbabwe was Robert Moffat and his wife Mary. One of Moffat’s greatest accomplishment for missions in Zimbabwe was his friendship with Mzilikazi, king of the Ndebele tribe. Moffat’s son-in-law David Livingstone had several expeditions in Zimbabwe around 1859.[4]

In 1890 the 'Pioneer Column', Jesuit Catholic missionaries and the Anglican Canon Belfour entered Lobengula's territory.[5]

Indigenous religious movements

  • John Maranke (1912-1963) was a Zimbabwean Christian leader, prophet, and founder of the African Apostolic Church of John Maranke.

List of churches in Zimbabwe

See also


  1. ^ International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Zimbabwe. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (September 14, 2007).
  2. ^ religion in Zimbabwe
  3. ^ Marshall W. Murphree, Christianity and the Shona (London, England: The Athlone Press, 1969).
  4. ^ A History Of Protestant Missions In Zimbabwe
  5. ^ A History of Christian Missions in Zimbabwe, 1890-1939 By ChengetaiJ. M. Zvobgo. Gweru, Mambo Press, 1996.

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