A church and culture exploration of the Ga-Marishane village rite of initiation in contestation with the Anglican initiation rite of baptism of adults : a manche masemola case study.
This study has engaged in a critical exploration of the relationship between the Church and Culture in Ga-Marishane village in Limpopo. A Case Study of the Anglican martyr Manche Masemola of Sekhukhune has been used to reveal the extent of tension between the Church and culture in the same village during the Colonial-Missionary era. The topic of this study reflects on the contestation of the Anglican rite of passage of initiation through the baptism sacrament of adults, and the traditional Pedi rite of initiation with special reference to the initiation of girls in Ga-Marishane. These initiation rites live in missional-tension in what they ought to do and to be in the village and therefore an interface has to be arrived at. Christianity as a western culture comes into contact with African culture through the process of evangelizing the African continent, through missionary engagement. The missionaries come into contact with African indigenous people, who have their own system of beliefs and cultural practices, and they want to impose their Christian tradition upon the residents who in turn oppose the teachings of the Church, and harmony is lost. This brings a lot of controversy amongst the Christian converts and the Pedi traditionalists. In the process of this turmoil, a family is deprived of their daughter through death, and the Church loses a catechumen. Manche Masemola’s parents were not happy that she wanted to join the Christian faith, more especially because they said that her behavior was very absurd, especially when she prayed, and they claimed that she acted like someone who had been bewitched. According to Pedi custom, a girl was supposed to eventually get married after she had been proclaimed marriageable. Manche’s parents were not happy when she joined the Church, as there were nuns in the village, who had made vows of remaining celibate and only be married to Jesus Christ. The presence of nuns suggested to them that Manche might want to be one of them, and then they would be deprived of magadi, as well as grandchildren, which would have been perceived by the community as their failure as parents to bring their daughter up. Manche’s determination to be a Christian impacted a lot on her parents, and they never considered their daughter’s desire to be a Christian, i.e. what it meant for her and what her ultimate goal was. This study reveals that both these institutions, the Church and the village are staunch in their practices to the extent that no one wants to compromise their beliefs. Inculturation is found to be one of the methods to be implemented in order to promote wholesome living in Ga-Marishane between the Christian converts (bakriste) and the Pedi traditionalists (baditshaba), in order to eliminate further ‘Blood baptisms.’