Igreja Metodista Wesleyana em Mocambique

Igreja Metodista Wesleyana em Mocambique

By Bishop Dinis Matsolo

 

The Case of Mozambique

  • A Country colonized by Portugal for about 500 years
  • The Portugueses did not facilitate education/study for the natives… A deliberate decision to delay popular awakening for liberation consciousness
  • They would only teach us enough to be able to serve them… To study further one had to prove to have been Europeanized (Assimilado)

How did Methodism (MCSA) reached Mozambique?

“A Community that was walking in darkness has seen the light… And that light was brought by a son of the Land who so loved his Mother Land…”

  • It has been argued (Balia 1991:15) that the inicial efforts to establish the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Trust Association occured between 1820 to 1823 led by William Shaw and William Threlfall who was invited to join the former in 1821 (Harmon 1974:2343) but the regime did everything to disturb the initiative

Nationals bring light home (They valued the Gospel more than money)

  • History tells us that the majority of Christian Missions in the Southern Region of Mozambique was an effort of nationals (Mozambican Mine Workers) who got converted in South Africa and brought the Good News back home as a valuable treasure (Saute 2005:20)
  • For the case of the “Igreja Metodista Wesleyana em Mocambique” we hold that it was estableshed by Roberto Ndevu Machava (1854 – 1938, Ka-Tembe) who was converted while studying in South Africa (Honwana 1989:82)

 How did he got to study in South Africa?

  • A Story is told that His farther, Ndevo Machva was a hunter who used to seal animal skins in South Africa, and Robert Machava used to accompany him and once decided to stay behind for studies (having watched someone scaling and registaring the kgs and the amount payed)

 

His work after Studies

  • Focussed on Education:

(Returned in 1885, February the 13)

  • Preservation of the native language : After his return home immediately started formulating the Ronga Orthography which became known as “Shi-Weliseni” (became the foundation for the Ronga Bible writting)
  • Establishment of Schools  around the then Lourenco Marques, and then in Ka-Tembe  and Matola, where Ronga, Zulu, Englesh and Christianity where thought
  • {One of the famous Schools that he established, where even King Nwa’Matibyana studied, was known as “Nwetini” (in the Moon) because he was teaching on Moon light to those who were working during the day}

 

The expantion of the Initiative

  • The Project grew that he requested support from the Portugues Government
  • The response was that he should join the Roman Catholic Church to whom the education system was enthrusted
  • He refused and that costed him persecution because he was suspected of conspiracy against the Colonial Regime (at a given moment was suspected to be a particular counsellor to King Ngungunyana)
  • In 1896 he was emprisioned alongside with political prisionners, then deported to “Ilha do Fogo” in

 

  • Cabo Verde, but the work continued with his followers who expread the work throughout Maputo and Gaza Provinces

His release on condition

  • He was then released in August 1902, but on the condition of never returning to Mozambique, to what Roberto Machava refused but was still forced to sign a vow
  • He appealed to the Portuguese Government for permission to return home but it was in vain
  • He was rather sent to the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society in England, which tried its best to have him back home but Portugal would only allow him to work in South Africa
  • He was only allow to return after retirement… old and blind, and died on his Mother Land in 1938

Learning from the Past, Moving to the Future

It should challenge us to raise critical questions:

  • Yes, as a Church we should be proud of our Heritage and of our History… But:
  • Can we be proud of what we are as Church a present?
  • How are we preserving our Heritage and how does our Heritage help us become what we intend to be?
  • How does our Heritage and History enlighten us to move forward?
  • What are we preparing to handover to our younger generations?