Contestation of ‘the holy places in the Zimbabwean Religious Landscape’: A study of the Johane Masowe Chishanu yeNyenyedzi Church’s sacred places
Places that are regarded as holy are highly esteemed in most religious institutions. Such places are revered because they denote the converging points of human beings and the divine. The fundamental questions addressed in this study are: what makes a place holy? Do Christians share sacred places with other religious groups? The study theorises that the Johane Masowe Chishanu yeNyenyedzi Church has forcefully appropriated most of the African indigenous scared places such as hills, shades and dams for all-night prayers and water baptisms. The researcher has selected two indigenous religious shrines; Chivavarira hill and Gonawapotera pool of Chirumhanzu located in the Midlands Province of Zimbabwe. The two shrines are regarded by the indigenes as renowned and sacred. This study analyses and thereto seeks to decode deeper on what makes the Johane Masowe Chishanu yeNyenyedzi Church to enthusiastically appropriate most of the African indigenous shrines and, to some extent, turn them to be their shrines. It is this insight which makes the two shrines to be contested places, especially as perceived from both the indigenes and Christian perspectives. Therefore, this study is a contemporary issue that constitutes the focus of the present concerns. Accordingly, in order to archive the intended goal, this research study relies heavily on participant observation and interviews for data collection, since there is hardly documentation readily available about the Masowe yeNyenyedzi Church in Zimbabwe.