Do spir­its ex­ist?

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Culture/arts/education -

WHEN one closely analy­ses the Fam­ily and Re­li­gious Stud­ies syl­labus, one will no­tice that the syl­labi re­quires learn­ers to ex­plain the ex­is­tence of spir­its in indige­nous re­li­gion. Be­fore I dis­cuss the ex­is­tence of spir­its in IR, one should un­der­stand what is meant by indige­nous and re­li­gion. The term re­li­gion has been de­fined as the re­la­tion of man to his own be­ing, but as a be­ing out­side him­self (Na­tional Open Uni­ver­sity of Nige­ria mod­ule of 2008 en­ti­tled “In­tro­duc­tion to African Tra­di­tional Re­li­gion”. The ma­jor indige­nous re­li­gions in Zim­babwe are Nde­bele and Shona re­li­gions, how­ever, one should note that Zim­babwe has a lot of mi­nor­ity tribes. Be­fore one un­der­stands the ex­is­tence of spir­its in IR, it is pru­dent to un­der­stand the mean­ing of the term “spirit”. Ac­cord­ing to W Din­gani and P Chak­abva in their book en­ti­tled Un­der­stand­ing Fam­ily and Re­li­gious Stud­ies Vol 1 page 36 , “spirit in this case will be re­fer­ring to the non-phys­i­cal part of a per­son, the soul. Dr Kelly in 2000 de­fined the term spirit as the in­tel­li­gent be­ings of cre­ation. Do spir­its ex­ist in IR ? It is a mat­ter of de­bate, how­ever, what should be noted is that the spir­its ex­ist in IR. This can be fur­ther sup­ported by the ex­is­tence of names of spir­its, these names in­cludes amad­lozi in Nde­bele re­li­gion and vadz­imu in Shona re­li­gion. Proffe­sor T Taringa also be­lieves that spir­its ex­ist as he sub­mit­ted the fol­low­ing in some of his writ­ings — the “African as­pect of en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion is largely from their spir­i­tual be­lief ”. Dur­ing the au­thor­ship of this ar­ti­cle, I in­ter­viewed teach­ers who are the ex­perts in re­li­gion. Lloyd Mu­pemhena, a Hu­rungwe-based teacher at Mshowe High School sub­mit­ted that “In IR, there is much be­lief in the ex­is­tence of spir­its, to such an ex­tent that ev­ery­thing in IR is gov­erned by spir­its. It is from such be­lief, for in­stance, in IR one is not al­lowed to mess up the forests ie bush toi­let. From the folk­lore of the boy who relieved him­self in the for­est and his fae­ces fol­lowed him, it is a clear ex­am­ple that the forests are gov­erned by spir­its. Ac­cord­ing to J Mbiti, in African tra­di­tional re­li­gion (ATR) ev­ery­thing is em­bod­ied with re­li­gious and spir­i­tual con­no­ta­tion for an African,the way he/she sneeze, walks, talks, sits etc. It is from this that he notes that an African can­not run away from ATR”.

Mr Ne­ganda, the FRS teacher at Mu­tendi High School also be­lieves that spir­its ex­ist in IR, in an in­ter­view he men­tioned the Ne­horeka Spirit in Rusape, the spirit fought for the le­git­i­mate Chief Tandi in Rusape and ended up ar­raigned be­fore mag­is­trate’s in Mutare. All this in­di­cates the ex­is­tence of spir­its in Indige­nous re­li­gion.

It is pru­dent to note that spir­its ex­ist in an in­vis­i­ble form, mean­ing that one can see spir­its, this might be the rea­son why some be­lieve that spir­its are body­less. W Din­gani and P Chak­abva in the book en­ti­tled Un­der­stand­ing Fam­ily and Re­li­gious Stud­ies Vol 1

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