Original Research

Overcoming fear? A search for an empowering theological response to the fear of witchcraft among urban Zimbabwean Christians

Collium Banda, Gift Masengwe
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 39, No 1 | a1837 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v39i1.1837 | © 2018 Collium Banda, Gift Masengwe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 December 2017 | Published: 29 May 2018

About the author(s)

Collium Banda, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, South Africa
Gift Masengwe, Department of Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology, University of South Africa, South Africa


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Abstract

How can we make theological sense of the resilience of the fear of witchcraft among indigenous Zimbabwean Christians? From the perspective of the transcendence and immanence of God, this article analyses the resilience of the fear of witchcraft among African Christians in Zimbabwe. The article uses results of a case study conducted in Zimbabwe in a congregation belonging to the Churches of Christ in Zimbabwe (COCZ) in the city of Bulawayo. Using focus group discussions and in-depth interviews, the study affirms that many African Christians struggle to overcome the fear of witchcraft in their lives. Witchcraft is feared because it is primarily viewed as an evil power that destroys life. The article analyses the awareness of witchcraft, the experiences of witchcraft and the responses to witchcraft among Zimbabwean Christians. The article proposes that African Christians be grounded on the transcendence and immanence of God as a way of overcoming the enduring fear of witchcraft.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: A meaningful response to the fear of witchcraft in Africa requires a multidisciplinary approach including phenomenology of religion, Christian doctrines and practical theology and pastoral care. The immanence and transcendency of God in a context of fear of witchcraft must be unpacked in the light of insights from phenomenology of religion, African traditional religions, discipleship and pastoral care.

Keywords

Witchcraft in Africa; Fear; Immanence and transcendence of God; Church of Christ in Zimbabwe

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