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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

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


MUJINGA, Martin. Ruwadzano/Manyano: A Transformational Women's Movement of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe 1920-2020. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2023, vol.49, n.1, pp.1-17. ISSN 2412-4265.

From its inception, the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe (MCZ) was characterised by male-dominating leadership positions, whereas its growth and development were mostly through women's ministry. Ruwadzano/Manyano, an indigenous women's movement which started in the 1920s, was an evangelistic initiative of the missionaries' wives to attract local women and families into the church. The movement grew from an organisation of the ordinary, less privileged women to define the majority of the church membership. Although the establishment of Ruwadzano/Manyano was meant to separate White from Black women's activities (as most Black women were maids), the zeal for the organisation by the native women led the movement to be a hub of transformation. Ruwadzano/Manyano was inspired by the women's Manyano movement in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa that had managed to give status to the housemaids as they came together in prayer, fellowship and Bible study. This paper argues that although the movement emerged from humble beginnings, it contributed significantly to the development of Methodism in Zimbabwe, the transformation of communities, the socioeconomic emancipation of women and the numerical growth of the church. Ruwadzano/Manyano constitutes more than half of the Methodist membership; yet, its history is not known by the majority of its members. This paper aims to inform readers about the history and impact of Ruwadzano/Manyano in the Zimbabwean religious and socioeconomic landscape. The study that directed this paper used qualitative research to conclude that the development of Methodism in Zimbabwe would not have been possible without Ruwadzano/Manyano ministering from the margins of a patriarchal society.

Palabras clave : Ruwadzano; Manyano; transformational; women's movement; Methodist Church; Zimbabwe.

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