Isdore Guvamombe Reflections
Back in the village, in the land of milk, honey and dust or Guruve – if you like – reality is like the skin of a leopard, no amount of rains can wash off the spots.
This villager, a self-trained wordsmith who has decided to use his acquired skills as a constructive force, contributing with this particular means to the building of a better society for all, last week opened a Pandora’s box by plunging once again into the raging waters of religion and religiosity, the belief and the execution of the belief, prophecy and magic.
Zimbabwe has been subjected to a cacophony of paranormal antics attributed to God by gospreneuers who present their magic as prophecies to enhance or promote His work, yet in actual fact, they are lining their pockets and subsequently living large at the expense of the same poor they purport to serve and save. The poor are becoming poorer and poorer, even in soul, yet the self-styled prophets are living lavishly.
Prophecy has become central to Zimbabwe’s social and economic transformation. There is probably more money circulating in churches than in banks.
This villager firmly believes that all roads lead towards God, but in Zimbabwe it then detours into dogma, tradition and ritual as self-styled prophets usurp the powers of being conveyors of our message and appoint themselves our intermediaries with God.
To reach the truth, this villager is willing to cross the religious wilderness without roads, paths or signposts provided by the Bible. This villager does not need to read the Bible to see that people are being cheated. Mbuya Nehanda, Kaguvi and Lobengula, the epitome of black resistance against colonial settler regime, did not need to go to school to see that their people were oppressed.
They could not even write their own names but they fought for justice and truth.
Today, bold and still fresh from consultations with the autochthons of wisdom and knowledge in the proverbial land of milk, honey and dust or Guruve, those who came from the ground (vakabva pasi), I wade deeper and deeper into the murky waters despite being threatened by religious zealots masquerading as Christians.
For starters, gospreneuers (those who have turned religion into cash- spinning business ventures) are milking dry the poor through unorthodox magic disguised as prophecy and have become more of proponents of alarm and despondency than constructive prophets.
If Jesus made money from his prophecies, he would have been the richest man in the world but Jesus was not a gospreneuer.
So where do these, our latter-day prophets, take their cue from?
The gospreneuers or prophets manipulate magical providence and assert that its inter-connected content is ordained by God and delivered through them. Once you believe in them, then you are gullible and susceptible to abuse.
From this villager’s point of view, how do you explain the failure by our coterie of prophets to account for, or even predict, the missing of an Indian tourist on Mount Nyangani?
This is a national question. None of the prophets was given that vision? Up to now the whole country is in quandary about the tourist, yet the men of God are giving prophecies about petty things? Why would one want to raise someone who died two weeks ago while failing to account for a tourist on whom the nation has spent thousands of dollars and precious time searching for? When then does prophecy become useful?
I give credit to psychics who at least have helped solve mysteries. For example, in the United States, when someone mysteriously goes missing, or if a murder investigation becomes cold because of various reasons, some investigators have often contacted psychics who have helped solve thousands of cases.
So if we have such God-sent prophets in Zimbabwe who seem to get instructions directly from the Almighty, then maybe it is the right time to turn to them.
How do you explain a whole bunch of prophets who fail to account for Milton Matapure, that child who mysteriously disappeared from the Show- grounds, a spitting distance from some powerful prophet’s shrine, and the prophet apparently failed to see the child’s remains under his nose when the whole nation looked for the child? It needed a groundsman to bump into the boy’s remains many, many moons later. Was the prophet on holiday?
What is the difference between a fake spirit medium who claims to have discovered refined diesel on a mountain in Chinhoyi and a prophet who claims to refill my vehicle’s fuel tank without pouring a drop from the conventional service station? The diesel n’anga was brought to book and one day, just one day, the long arm of the law will catch up with one of these self-styled prophets.
As this villager writes, those zealots blinded by religious infatuation and perpetually indoctrinated do not question would rather call this villager names and wish him dead but this villager is God-sent to write and open the apertures of the brains of the gullible.
Back in the village elders with cotton tuft hair say a loud fart from a man sleeping in public is a cause for serious concern to those awake, never to the sleeping man. This villager is awake and worried about those Christians who want to sleep on facts, only to learn of the mishap when they wake up. Stink!
Of course, charms do not perform miracles on the shelf; they perform for those who present themselves before the charmer.
The some phenomenon has appeared in the churches. The gospreneuers are a clever lot. They are in business and have become huge corporates competing in banking with huge conglomerates and so they have an image to protect. They now run full-fledged public relations or corporate communication departments led by popular journalists. The journalists are well paid to protect the image of the corporate body. Do village elders not say if the cockroach wants to rule over the chicken, then it must hire the fox as a bodyguard?
The clarion call to dare to think that what we are about as people — the proverbial man and woman in the street, has inspired this villager to dig into the exposed poor, the hungry and the victims of petty prophecy.
A prophecy about you may be important but what you do with it is more important. If it makes you donate the little you have and leave you hungry, then there is a problem.
If one says only put diced ham and cheese in the omelette and the chef adds onion, green pepper and mushroom, you may indeed have a very tasty omelette, but that’s not what was ordered. Is this what God ordered?
Until the lions learn to tell their tale, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunters.