APOSTOLIC sects are known to headline news mostly for their unorthodox doctrines and polygamous tendencies, but never for philanthropic deeds, especially to non-members of their church. However, Johanne Masowe eChishanu (The Fifth of Africa) apostolic sect leader Andby Makururu better known as Madzibaba Andby is a man on a mission to change some of the old doctrines in their apostolic faith.
Known for dressing modestly, and not allowing women to wear pants, whilst skirts and dresses must have hemlines that fall below the knee, and both male and female churchgoers required to wear clothing that covers their elbows and ankles, the apostolic faith has been shrouded in controversies through its ancient doctrines, but Madzibaba Andby believes their apostolic faith has to grow with the new era to appeal to the modern day Christians and the world in general.
Madzibaba Andby last week Saturday helped three inmates who were languishing at Mutare Remand Prison after failing to raise bail money. This initiative was done through his Ruvheneko Rwenyenyedzi Trust, which was touring the prison facility for the third time this year, donating foodstuffs for inmates and conducting outreach programmes to the inmates.
Ruvheneko Rwenyenyedzi Trust which was established in 2017 as a charity arm of his sect handed over personal protective equipment, including gloves, soap and sanitisers, to help combat the threats of COVID-19 in the remand prison.
The three inmates that received $1000 (RTGS) each for bail were Vennah Taguta (18) from Mafararikwa village, Edmore Masunungure of Chifodya village in Nyanga who are facing murder charges and Moreblessing Mutukwa Dzinetsera from Odzi, who is facing stocktheft charges.
The kind deed came about after he heard from Mutare Remand Prison officials during his handover ceremony, that there were some inmates who were stranded in prison because they had failed to raise money to pay for bail granted by the High Court.
Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) Manicaland public relations officer Liberty Mhlanga confirmed the development. “We are happy with this gesture. When we reached out to the prophet as one of our stakeholders, to assist us towards combating the coronavirus, he donated to us protective equipment and some foodstuffs that will help our prisoners with their diet. He also paid bail for some remand inmates who were failing to raise money for their bail. So far we have three inmates that he has paid for but we are still in the process of writing a list of those that require such assistance, which he requested for,” said Mhlanga.
The cleric did not end his philanthropic deeds there as he yesterday (Thursday) visited 18 vulnerable families in his church in Mutare and donated basic food items comprising of a 10 kg mealie meal, four (4) kg’s of sugar, laundry soap, spaghetti, kapenta fish (matemba) and two (2) litres cooking oil. This is meant to cushion the families during the COVID-19 shutdown that started on 30 March and is expected to end on Monday.
67-year old Farasia Bengura from the high density suburb of Dangamvura was among those that benefitted from the surprise donation by the cleric.
“I am a vendor and during this lockdown l was struggling to make end meets, l want to thank Prophet Andby for the initiative. At least l have somewhere to start now. I live alone because my child is in South Africa,” she said.
Another beneficiary, Madzimai Mavis Abigail Mutezo (63) from the high density suburb of Chikanga also applauded Madzibaba Andby.
“I want to thank prophet as he has been such a helper to us. l had nowhere to start, but with these groceries l can afford to feed my family during this lockdown and beyond,” said Mutezo. Madzibaba Andby said he also paid rentals for accommodation for some of the church members.
He told Easterntimeszim that his groceries donations to his vulnerable congregants was his way of complimenting government efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. “As church leaders our duty is to also help the vulnerable in kind. By so doing l will also be helping my government in some way and l intend to continue with the initiative,” he said
During the International Womens Day commemorations held in Mutare last month, the Johanne Masowe eChishanu Apostolic Sect leader castigated churches, especially Apostolic sects involved in institutionalized, archaic doctrines that promote child marriages.
Madzibaba Andby declared his determination to curb child marriages within religious groups and transform indigenous churches to conform to modern values on women rights and safeguarding the girl child from child marriages and equal rights to education.
“Women are important. When I see every woman I see a resemblance of my mother that means a lot to me because she kept me for nine months in her womb. Why is it that when the child is chased away from school to collect money for school fees, the school authorities want to see the mother and not the father? This shows the true value of women that should be acknowledged and cherished. I started the Johanne eChishanu (The Fifth of Africa) back in 1985 because I did not like some doctrines in the Johanne eChishanu sect that I was a part of. To-date I am based in Manicaland and Harare and have also expanded out of the country in Mozambique. I now have over 30 000 congregants,” said Madzibaba Andby.