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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versión On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versión impresa ISSN 1017-0499


MUJINGA, Martin. James Anta: Missionary, Martyr and unsung Hero of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2021, vol.47, n.3, pp.1-15. ISSN 2412-4265.

The history of Wesleyan Methodism in Zimbabwe speaks loudly about the role played by the first missionaries. Most scholars credit these missionaries for the sacrifices they made. However, the expansion of the mission was largely the work of teacher-evangelists from South Africa. Among them were Modumedi Moleli and James Anta. Moleli and Anta were martyred in Mashonaland during the Shona uprising of 1896-1897. Although the two evangelists came to Zimbabwe during the same period and were killed in the same epoch through the same type of brutality, Moleli received scholarly attention and church recognition. On the one hand, Brandon Graaf dedicated a book to Moleli and on the other hand, the church named a school after him. Moleli died in Mashonaland East and was buried at Nenguwo (now Waddilove) Training Institute, whereas the school in his honour is located in Mashonaland West, where James Anta was killed. In contrast, there is neither a building nor scholarly work dedicated to Anta. This paper argues that, although Anta's name is mentioned in the Wesleyan Methodist literature, there is deliberately no attempt to honour his martyrdom as central in the growth of Methodism in Zimbabwe. By using qualitative research methodology, the paper challenges the Wesleyan Methodist Church to reconstruct its ecclesiastical history to honour Anta, who came to Zimbabwe as a missionary in his own right. The paper concludes by arguing that the historiography of Methodism in Zimbabwe is incomplete without acknowledging Anta as a missionary, evangelist and martyr; and yet he remains an unsung hero.

Palabras clave : James Anta; missionary; martyr; unsung hero; Wesleyan Methodist.

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