|Church||African Apostolic Church|
|Born||October 25, 1918 |
Holy Cross Mission, Midlands Province
|Children||Rudo Nelly Mwazha, Tsitsi Loveness Mwazha, Ngoni Edward Mwazha, Kushamisa Afred Mwazha, and Joseph Farai Mwazha|
Paul Mwazha is the founder and leader of the African Apostolic Church. Mwazha is sensationally referred by his followers as "Mutumwa" a title which can be equated to Apostle due to his type of message which is said to be teaching oriented.
He was born Paul Enerst Mwazha to a peasant family on 25 October 1918, at Holy Cross Mission, in the Chirumhanzu District, Midlands Province of Zimbabwe. His was born to Christian parents Joseph Mugovera Mwazha and Saramina Mwazha.
Mwazha was married to the late Joyce Makaonesu and together they had five children among them Masimba Mwazha and Tendai Mwazha.
He was initially named Mamvura, a name which means “Child of the Water" in the Shona language. He was given the name as a result of his poor health and his parents did not foresee him live beyond infancy. According to the Shona customs, infants would be buried along riverbeds and in waterlogged areas-hence the name Mamvura, "Child of the Water". His mother, Saramina, is said to have quickly taken young Mamvura (Mwazha) for baptism before his death. He was baptized Paul by Father Schimidt of the Roman Catholic Church. However, young Mamvura is said to have miraculously recovered after his baptism.
His wife Joyce Makaonesu Mwazha died aged 79 on 8 April 2017 at their family home in Hatfield. She was buried at NC Mwazha plot in Munyati South Chivhu ,on on the 12th of April 2017. She died from diabetes.
Mwazha Began his education at Masvaure Methodist School in Kwenda, Chivhu, at the age of 12. He did his Standard 1 in 1933. Transferred to Kwenda Mission School in 1935 after his mother had sold a beast. He completed his Standard 4 top of his class at Kwenda. He left Kwenda for Howard Institute in 1937, a mission school owned by the Salvation Army Church where he did his Standard 5. He was made one of the school prefects whilst he was still a newcomer at the school.
In 1937, he won a prestigious school bursary worth $5. 00. In 1938, he won the Beit Trust Scholarship which was worth $11. The money was sufficient to pay his schools fees which was $9 and he got the remaining $2 as supplementary pocket money. He bought a brand new bicycle with the $2 pocket money. In Standard 6, he came first in class and received a pocket watch as a prize. He completed his teacher training in 1940.
Career as a Teacher
In 1941, Mwazha became at teacher at Gweshe School, which was located 3 miles from Howard Institute. Initially, the school had only 25 students. He then embarked on a robust program of moving in the villages talking to parents and children about the benefits of education. In 1941, the number of children enrolled had improved to 196. He was transferred to Howard in 1942. Between 1948 and 1951, Mwazha was headmaster at Chideme School in Charter District, now Chivhu.
Early Religious Career
In 1929, he started learning Roman Catholic Catechism from his uncle Nyamayedenga, his mother’s brother. They recited the Lord’s prayer every night before going to bed and every morning before rising.
Mwazha received his Divine calling in 1951 in a vision. It is alleged that the Angels told him in a vision that “Who can we commission, who can go on our behalf”. Between 1951 and 1955, he worked at Sadza as doubling as both headmaster at the school and also lay preacher.
Forming the African Apostolic Church
He formed the African Apostolic Church in 1959 after serving in the Roman Catholic Church since childhood. The leadership of the church at its formation was made up of Loveness Munhango, as a Reverend, Joseph Chikawa as Evangelist, Samuel Munhango as Prophet, and Thomas Chisango as the Secretary.
Expansion of the Church
His church began to grow after independence in Zimbabwe with the bulk of his followers being local Shona and Ndebele societies. It was generally viewed with a negative eye as one of the usually conservative African initiated churches. The church has however grown to become one of the biggest locally indigenous churches also known as African Independent Churches. To date, the church has thousands of followers in all the ten provinces of the country. Furthermore, the church has also shown its influence through the establishment of branches in other countries such as South Africa, Botswana, United Kingdom, United States of America and Malawi.
Like most African initiated churches, the Mwazha church celebrates African culture in its Christian teachings. It values African customs such as marriage, dressing and issues of hierarchy. The church is celebrated by most pan-Africanists for its role in upholding African values and culture. The church is also known for its somewhat extreme detachment to certain foods such as bread. Other strict rules include;
- Not wearing black clothes or shoes
- Refraining from bread and other yeast products.
- Refraining from television and other forms of entertainment.
Paul Mwazha won the Beit Trust Scholarship in 1938 which was worth $11.
- The Devine Commission of Paul Mwazha of Africa, Part 1, Retrieved:27 March 2017
- Enerst Paul Mwazha, [Paul Mwazha Enerst Paul Mwazha, The Divine Commission of Paul Mwazha of Africa, Part 1],The African Apostolic Church, published:1997,retrieved:22 Jun 2015"
- Lionel Depute,Mutumwa Mwazha's wife dies, Herald, published: April 10, 2017, retrieved: April 10, 2017