African ministers and the emergence of resistance to colonial domination : the development of indigenous clergy in the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Zimbabwe from 1891 to 1980.
This study is a critical assessment of the degree of political consciousness of the Zimbabwean Wesleyan Methodist indigenous ministers from 1891 to 1980. It documents the nature of the domination that the Wesleyan Methodist indigenous ministers experienced. It also documents and analyses how the indigenous ministers responded to the domination. The study relies upon primary documents from the National Archives of Zimbabwe, the Methodist Connexional Archives and other private archives. Information found in these archives includes minutes of synods, minutes of quarterly meetings, minutes of conferences, ministers' personal files and many other documents. The thesis also depends on interviews and other secondary material relevant to the study. Additionally, this thesis explores the training of the indigenous ministers. It emerges that the theological training of the indigenous ministers brought about some form of political radicalism. This was strengthened by the fact that the stipends and working conditions were not attractive. This thesis argues that the indigenous ministers had no clear position with regard to the significance of African culture. They oscillated between its rejection and acceptance. When they were politically inspired they rejected African culture to embrace it when it seemed expedient to do. It is further observed that the indigenous ministers contributed immensely to the liberation struggle. Using, Of Revelation and Revolution, Peasant Consciousness, Domination and the Arts of Resistance and Savage Systems as theoretical frameworks, this thesis concludes that the level of political consciousness of the indigenous ministers increased phenomenally in the second half of the 20th century. This was because of a number of reasons including the role played by mission churches in education, the impact of the Second World War, and adherence to certain constructions of John Wesley particularly those with liberation emphasis and many more. It also emerges that, although the political consciousness of the indigenous clergy was high, quite a number of them oscillated between two poles of patriotism and expediency. Put differently, the indigenous clergy were sometimes ambivalent in terms of what they adhered to. This was particularly so in cases to do with African culture.