Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

The Discourse Less Discussed: Spirituality and Health Issues in Zimbabwe

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

The Discourse Less Discussed: Spirituality and Health Issues in Zimbabwe

Article excerpt

Introduction

The role of prophets in providing health services is vexing, contentious and debatable in literature because of diverging perceptions towards the phenomenon of spirituality (Chitando et al. 2013; Tamirepi, 2013). The prophetic revivalism and resurgence as a package of spirituality has become a global contemporary issue which need much attention especially in relation to people's health. In Zimbabwe, the prominent rise of prophets such as Uebert Engel, Walter Magaya and Emmanuel Makandiwa on Pentecostal scene has seen spiritual healing and deliverance of sickness as a common debate. Regionally and globally, the majority of people have been found to have explicit religious beliefs and practices (Chitando and Biri, 2016; Mckernan, 2005). Religion may play diverging roles in social life but many people around the world still regard their spiritual faith to be of central importance in their lives (Mabvurira and Mtetwa, 2013; Maguranyanga, 2011; Manyonganise, 2015). The presence of prophets on the religious landscape has heightened the role of prophecy on healing and deliverance. Prophecy, barring its definitional elusiveness, is considered to be a great gift from God which enables the prophet to speak forth or declare the divine will, to interpret the purpose of God, or to make known in a way the truth of God designed to influence people (Chitando et al. 2013). Omenyo (2014 cited in Chitando and Biri, 2016) observes that prophetic emergence in most parts of Africa occurred under conditions of economic, political and social adversity, which were accompanied by economic reforms, low wages and quality of life, the absence of social services, and the withdrawals of the welfare frontiers of the state. Like its precursors, one of the great appeals of prophetic movement in Zimbabwe is its ability to respond to the current existential and pragmatic life needs of the people including health problems. In spite of the various efforts made to discourage people of spiritual healing because of the problems associated with it (Asamaoh-Gyadu, 2015; Biri, 2013; Gombarume, 2016); people are still flocking to those prophets in search of spiritual help.

The aspect of spirituality itself is questionable for lacking scientific rigour (Tamirepi, 2013), and some group of people tend to doubt its existence and treat it with contempt. Since the spiritual services are commonly accepted on self-conviction (Roby and Maistry, 2010); the polarisation of ontological and epistemological constructs regarding spirituality may be based on what Renne Descrates (1596-1650) called 'methodic doubt'. This implies that one would not accept something as true if it was not manifestly clear and distinct to him. Across methodical discrepancies in health dialogue, prophetic message is interpreted to be dogmatic and myopic since their message blurs the rational inquiry on the cusses and treatment of diseases. Perhaps, it is daunting to adopt scientific perspectives in order to professionalise and legitimise spirituality and health, and to align them with the prevailing medical models.

Due to these differences, Roby and Maistry (2010) argue that spirituality is biological, psychological, socially evolutional and neurophysiologic where assailable evidence consistent with scientific enquiry cannot be established. While these debates rage on, many scholars (Biri, 2013; Gombarume, 2016; Zimunya & Gwara, 2013) argue that spirituality has shown interconnectedness with individual health and is seen as holistic in nature. In some circles, prophets are being considered as white collar business today (Chitando et al. 2013), yet their role in healing is continuously gaining unique ascendency in countries like Zimbabwe. In their transpersonal existence, individuals construct their own reality according to the knowledge which they have (Morales et al. 2010), and this has an implication on people's choices in solving their health misfortunes. However, the emphasis on healing and deliverance is one major factor that pulls large crowds to the expanding prophetic movement in Zimbabwe and beyond (Biri, 2013; Chitando, 2016). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.