Title page for ETD etd-12072011-102238

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Madhiba, Simon
Email smadhiba@yahoo.com
URN etd-12072011-102238
Document Title Methodism and public life in Zimbabwe : an analysis of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Zimbabwe's impact on politics from 1891-1980
Degree PhD
Department Church History and Polity
Advisor Name Title
Prof G A Duncan Supervisor
  • ecumenical historical approach
  • federation
  • conflict transformation
  • translation model
  • Wesley’s teaching on politics
  • political order
  • politics of land
  • race relationships
  • mission-educated elite
  • discriminative legislation
Date 2011-09-08
Availability unrestricted
This study is a historical analytical investigation and theological interpretation of Wesleyan Methodists' political teaching and practice in Zimbabwe from 1891 to 1980. In an attempt to come up with an informed interpretation of the political teaching and activities, the study traced Wesleyan Methodist political praxis John Wesley, the founder of Methodism and interpreted his teaching and practice from a third world perspective. That perspective was used as a basis for evaluating the contextualisation of his teaching by Wesleyan Methodists in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean Wesleyan Methodists' political teaching and practice during the colonial era were explored using four themes: politics of land, race relationships, Federation and war. Two hypothetical statements were tested in this study: Wesleyan Methodism outlines a framework for constructive participation in politics, and the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Zimbabwe provided and supported positions of political leadership in Zimbabwe.

The objectives of this study are to: unveil successes and failures of Wesleyan Methodists in Zimbabwean political arena, expose the historical significance of Wesleyan Methodist influence in politics for Zimbabwean history and present a historical account of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. The methodology preferred in this study included oral history and a combination of the ecumenical and southern approaches to Church history. The study utilised archival and oral data as primary sources, the translation model of contextual theology, holistic framework for analysing history, the principle of the overriding right and the conflict transformation model as part of the methodology.

Through the use of the translation model of contextual theology, the study revealed how John Wesley used principles from the Christian message and Church tradition in addressing his political context. The study exposed that John Wesley was obsessed with accountability to God and constituency, respect for every person, respect for political structures as well as authorities and relationships among people as fundamental pillars in political activities. He based these on his understanding of God's free grace, people's liberty to accept or reject that grace and the validity of popular religious expression.

The study revealed that Wesleyan Methodists in Zimbabwe had a special relationship with the colonial government due to an invitation by Cecil John Rhodes for the church to participate in the Pioneer Column. The relationship determined how retrogressive or progressive ministers responded to government requirements and made demands on government until the country's independence in 1980. The study also exposed how retrogressive Wesleyan Methodists moved from acceptance and collaboration to acceptance and selective rejection of colonial policies and how both retrogressive and progressive ministers employed the concept of non-contestation of participation in armed conflict and throwing one’s lot on the expected side. It also showed how progressive ministers contributed to the political emancipation of Africans and the role played by the mission-educated elite in Zimbabwe. The study ended with pointing out that Zimbabwean Wesleyan Methodist political teaching and practice had very bright future prospects at the independence of the country in 1980.

© 2010 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Madhiba, S 2010, Methodism and public life in Zimbabwe : an analysis of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Zimbabwe's impact on politics from 1891-1980, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-12072011-102238/ >


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