Twelve Disciples, a recently launched apostolic church at Maninji village, in Mangwe District of Matabeleland South Province, has attracted scores of followers from the surrounding villages of Mswiliswili, Nkhwizi and Khalanyoni, some of whom deserted their founding churches to join the new kid on the block.
The church whose membership is estimated at above 60 is led by Pastor Cosmas Dube, a cross-border trader (umalayitsha) dealing in the transportation of goods from South Africa to Zimbabwe every month end.
Followers of this new church meet every Saturday and Wednesday afternoon for divine church services during which the word of God is preached.
The church is dominated by women as most men from that part of Zimbabwe are either working in the neighbouring South Africa or Botswana. Males only join their female counterparts during the Christmas holidays when they usually visit their families.
Religion in Zimbabwe caught up with MaMoyo, a member of this church who explained their faith doctrine. “We believe in Christ and in baptism where one is immersed once into the water during the rite,” she said. She went on to explain that at every service visitors are encouraged to surrender their lives to God after which they are baptized and become full members. As for the church uniform, MaMoyo said both men and women put on grey suits.
Twelve Disciples, whose headquarters is in South Africa, MaMoyo said has 22 branches in Southern Africa. The other branches in Zimbabwe include Ngulubeni, an area along the Botswana border, still in Mangwe, Matopo, Plumtree town among others.
MaMoyo said during Christmas, Easter and Pentecost followers of her church from different branches convene for the religious ceremonies.
“As for charity work, the church indeed assists the poor and the needy within our different branches,” MaMoyo said, adding that most of their donations are from South Africa where the majority of members reside. She said the recent help offered to the less privileged at the Maninji branch was in the form of groceries for the festive season and seed before the onset of the cropping season.
The Maninji branch, whose followers are not allowed to smoke or drink alcohol, has built a sizeable grass-thatched church building just a stone’s throw from Pastor Dube’s homestead. A father of four, he recently tied a knot with his life-time sweetheart, Priscilla Sibanda, during a ceremony attended by thousands of villagers and church leaders from South Africa.