Original Research

Faith-based healing and African traditional medicine in Zimbabwe: A postcolonial perspective

Temba Rugwiji
Theologia Viatorum | Vol 43, No 1 | a25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/tv.v43i1.25 | © 2019 Temba Rugwiji | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 May 2019 | Published: 13 December 2019

About the author(s)

Temba Rugwiji, Biblical and Ancient Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


The missionary church in Africa had its own challenges regarding the missionary enterprise itself and the local African communities to which the Gospel was preached. Various opinions on the missionary enterprise in Africa have been advanced. The main argument raised by most scholars is primarily premised on the negative impact of colonialism, citing the vilification of African cultural practices and discouraging converts to the Christian faith from using African traditional medicine (ATM). The latter view constitutes the main problem that the present discourse intends to grapple with. The present study will engage the existing scholarly literature on the argument that the missionary churches did not familiarise themselves with cultural practices of the local indigenous African peoples prior to convincing them about switching to God who is presented in the Hebrew Bible (HB). It has been established that according to the HB and Christian teachings, the use of ATM is an abomination. In this study, faith-based healing (FBH) and other methods of healing in Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular are also discussed. This study utilises a postcolonial approach in an attempt to explain ancient Israelite cultural practices and FBH in the modern post-biblical context. The purpose of this study is twofold: (1) to explain for the readership the critical role played by the missionary churches among African communities and (2) to present the research findings for further research on the authenticity (or myth) of FBH claims.


the missionary church; Pentecostal movements; faith-based healing; African traditional religion; ATM.


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