A gendered analysis of the healing practices of the Johane Marange Apostolic Church in Glenview, Zimbabwe and their effect on women during pregnancy.
This dissertation seeks to examine and analyse the healing practices within JMC in relation to health care provided to women during pregnancy. The healing practice performed in this church has made the church become popular and grow numerically. This is also exacerbated by the high cost of medical care in Zimbabwe which is a challenge especially for pregnant women. This is an empirical study which used in-depth interviews with both men and women who are married and are long serving members of JMC. The objective of the study was to find out how the healing practice within JMC contributes to women’s health during pregnancy. The study found out that; one of the teachings of this church is that members are not allowed to seek for medical help from the hospitals. Therefore women who are pregnant are supposed to receive health services only from the church. This is done in form of prayers, prophecy and use of symbols which are directed towards the protection of the mother and child from evil that is perceived to attack them during this period. The church also provides teachings to these mothers to be on how to look after themselves through the use of elderly women who act as birth attendants. The study also found out that some women decided to also seek other forms of medication like visiting hospitals despite the consequences that were put up by the leaders of the church. This study does not claim that religion cannot help women during pregnancy but rather seeks to show that while the church focuses on spiritual healing, there is also a need for a holistic approach to healing that will call on women to visit hospitals, especially when addressing issues relating to pregnancy.