Do spirits exist?
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