Mukonyora, “Four ways into an African sacred wilderness”

Mukonyora, Isabel.  2015. Four ways into an African sacred wilderness: a study of Johane Masowe’s teaching.  Religion.  Early online publication.

Abstract: This article focuses on four ways of explaining the term masowe in relation to the founder figure, Johane Masowe (1914–1973). First, the term refers to a liminal place or threshold for divine intervention. Johane Masowe claims authority as a prophet by making inexplicit yet obvious references to biblical stories about a sacred wilderness. Second, the term masowe draws attention to problems of displacement caused by colonialism and postcolonial oppression in Zimbabwe. Third, stories told by Johane Masowe’s devotees about the near-death experiences of the prophet turned masowe into a dangerous place wherein Satan-the-Witch caused suffering and death. Although the fourth meaning is yet to be examined more closely, it comes from Masowe Apostles who travel from as far away as Nairobi, Kenya, on pilgrimage to Johane Masowe’s burial shrine in Zimbabwe, thereby hinting at hopes for redemption in the form of life after death.