Gweru Factories Converted To Places Of Worship
Religious organisations in Gweru, Zimbabwe’s third-largest city have converted factories into churches following two decades of deindustrialisation in the once economically vibrant city.
A survey recent survey by The NewsHawks revealed that the giant chimneys that used to discharge smoke now churn out religious hymns and prayers.
Gweru used to be home to thriving companies such as Zimcast, Fort Concrete, Radar Castings, Kariba Batteries and David Whitehead.
However, the firms have shut down in the past two decades, rendering thousands of workers jobless.
According to a recent ZCTU report, new players in the industry operating at full capacity included Chinese companies such as Jin An, Xin Yu and Nelson Holdings.
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One Josphat Muroyiwa, who attended a service by charismatic preacher Walter Magaya’s PHD Ministries last Sunday on premises that used to house Cembee furniture manufacturers told The NewsHawks that rentals in the industries are lower than in some parts of the city, for example, the Central Business District (CBD).
Cembee used to employ hundreds of people who made quality furniture, but the building located behind Dairibord is now home to PHD Ministries’ Gweru church.
Gweru mayor Josiah Makombe said Council has offered churches facilities to conduct their services in, but they prefer closed industries. Said Makombe:
Although as a local authority we have facilities that can be hired by various organisations including churches, most churches however prefer to take space in the closed industries as they are cheap and affordable.
We also used to collect revenue through rates when the industries were fully operational, but now the situation has changed.