Women, Church, and Ethics


Women,Church, and Ethics

Women,Church, and Ethics

Theimage of Mary among women in Christian Women’s movement in Zimbabweand the rest of the South of Africa took a feminist stance. Theremust have been a separate agenda to push their own agenda due to theconsiderable autonomy they enjoyed in the African IndependentChurches. They also used the same platform to seek leadershippositions and recognition. The organizations provided them with anopportunity to impose their feminist ideas about the position ofwomen in spirituality. The approach they used was not welcome in themainstream Christian establishments in South Africa as it was seen asthreatening the traditional familial establishments, the solidarityof the community, and the control of government in the generalwelfare of the people. The history of this women Christian movementwas mainly based on the divisions that colonial governments broughtamong southern African societies. The emulation of these of women toMary and empowered to take up such positions in society and to becloser to divinity. Thus, women in this part of the world were ableto transcend the patriarchal rigidity of the church and made asignificant impact on projecting the position of Mary to theChristian community.


  1. Why would the Great Mother Reveal herself only through the one medium of Christian whiteness to a predominantly rural black Christians’ women’s group?

  2. Why would an image shrouded in whiteness not create obvious clashes for the African Marian devotees of Masvingo, even on the basis of self-identity?

Thedevotees of Masvingo were right in the skeptism about therepresentation of the divinity in the African community. Therepresentation of Mary through whiteness is a manifestation that theAfrican race is still subject to racial and social subjection to thewhiteness even in respect with divinity and Christianity.Self-identity is actually lacking in among them because they actuallyconcerned more about their feminist pursuits than theirself-identity. This is apparent in the accounts of the devotees abouthaving encountered Mary in her ‘glowing whiteness’. They reportthat the experience is empowering, meaning that they have acceptedthe representation of holiness in whiteness than any other race. Abrief look at the history of the Shrine reveals the same theme. Whena black image indicating a Virgin Mary carved from local granite issculptured by male locals, it is rejected by the Nzanga ya Anna whoraises a lot of objections. The objections were particularly on thelocal granite used and the features of the ordinary African womanlike the devotees themselves. Thus, their image was understood notrepresent Mary at the most holy shrine. This was especially afterseveral apparitions Mary had appeared to Mary win white holiness.This was part of the entire anti-white discourse that was entrenchedin that society.

Thetheme of self-identity is prominent in the excerpt. The CatholicReligion in this Zimbabwean context was coined to make even blackwomen believe that the color of their skin does not representholiness. This was rather unfortunate in every sense because, theyshould have believed in the teachings of self identity that the NewTestament is all about. Holiness is not really in the whiteness ofthe cloth but in the actions of an individual. It is easy to concludethat the apparitions were simply the reflections of what they believerather than the reality.