Ishanesu Sextus Gusha

Paul’s Ethics of Reconciliation in Dialogue with Ndebele and Shona Ethnic Cohesion

études sur la Bible en Afrique ; Bibel-in-Afrika-Studien ; BiAS


Paul’s Ethics of Reconciliation in Dialogue with Ndebele and Shona Ethnic Cohesion

The tension between the Ndebele and Shona people dates back to the pre-colonial era and this has been one of the major threats to Zimbabwe’s peace. Ethnic tensions have resulted in the loss of thousands of lives since the country’s independence in 1980, especially during the Entumbane clashes and Gukurahundi massacres. The government has in several ways tried to bring social cohesion between the two ethnic groups but with limited success. Four examples are: the initiatives done through the 1980 reconciliation pronouncement by Prime Minster Robert Mugabe, 1987 Unity Accord between PF ZAPU and ZANU PF, the Government of National Unity, and the Commission on National Healing and Reconciliation of 2008. The failures are mainly attributed to amnesia and the unwillingness to repent from past evils by the perpetrators. Seemingly, the major problem may be attributed to the fact that interested parties often played the mediatory role; and one cannot objectively be both player and referee. In addition, over the years, the church through her ecumenical bodies has tried to build bridges between the two ethnic groups but all the efforts were also fruitless due to the unwillingness by the government to take recommendations from the church and civic organisations. The thesis proposes Pauline ethics regarding reconciliation in the Corinthian correspondence as inspiration for social cohesion between the Ndebele and Shona tribes. As hermeneutical tools, Paul’s key symbols such as Christ, the Cross of Christ, Ambassador, New Creation, and Baptism shall be deployed as epistemological lenses in promoting identity tags that go beyond ethnicity. I propose that, for these symbols to be effective, the following recommendations should be taken seriously; setting up of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), refraining from using ethnic offensive language, introduction of Ndebele and Shona languages in primary and secondary schools in the provinces dominated by these two ethnic groups, substituting ethnic provincial names with neutral ones, substituting ethnic registration system of people with a neutral one, and the devolution of power.