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.
This article is a reworked version of aspects of the author’s PhD-research, with the theme of ‘Inculturated African spirituality: A
critical study of the Johane Masowe Chishanu yeNyenyedzi Church spirituality in Zimbabwe’, prepared under the supervision of Prof.
Duncan, Emeritus Professor, Department of Church History and Church Polity, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria.