New Evangelization For The Catholic Church And Local Cultures In Zimbabwe


Alice Zinyemba


Early evangelization strategies used by missionaries to convert Zimbabweans to Christianity included the training of local evangelists to preach in the vernacular, establishment of hospitals to treat various sicknesses and using hospital missions as agencies for evangelization and the establishment of schools to impart western education and Christianity to the young people of Zimbabwe. A number of traditional cultural practices such as polygamy and ancestor worship were discouraged and driven underground. Globalization and secularization has resulted in many people leaving mainstream Christian churches such as Catholic, Weslyan Methodists and Anglican to join the new independent churches. This has resulted in about 50% of the Zimbabwean population practising syncretic religion and 25 % practising Christianity and the remaining 25% practice other religions such as Islam and traditional religion. The early evangelization strategies are no longer appropriate. There is need for new evangelization strategies that are more responsive to local cultures and the challenges of globalization.  The evangelization strategies for the Catholic Church should be more contextualized and inclusive of marginalized groups.