The chapters in this volume foreground the ambivalent role of religion and culture when it comes to African women’s health and well-being. Reflecting on the three major religions in Africa, i.e. African Indigenous Religions, Christianity, and Islam, the authors illustrate how religious beliefs and practices can either enhance or hinder women’s holistic progress and development. With a specific focus on Zimbabwean women’s experiences of religion and culture, the volume discusses how African Indigenous Religions, Christianity, and Islam tend to privilege men and understate the value of women in Africa. Adopting diverse theological, ideological, and political positions, contributors to this volume restate the fact that the key teachings of different religions, often suppressed due to patriarchal influences, are a potent resource in the quest for gender justice. In sync with the goals for gender justice and women empowerment envisioned in the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and Africa Agenda 2063, the contributors advocate for gender-inclusive and life-enhancing interpretations of religious and cultural traditions in Africa.
Ezra Chitando serves as professor of religious studies at the University of Zimbabwe and theology consultant on HIV for the World Council of Churches.
Sophia Chirongoma is senior lecturer in the Religious Studies Department at Midlands State University, Zimbabwe.
Kudzai Biri is associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies, Classics, and Philosophy at the University of Zimbabwe.
Introduction: Women and Religion in Zimbabwe and the Role of Men
Ezra Chitando, Sophia Chirongoma, and Kudzai Biri
Harnessing Ndau Religious and Socio-Cultural Beliefs and Practices for Celebrating Women Power in Zimbabwe
Macloud Sipeyiye &Elias G. Konyana
Rural Women Utilizing African Indigenous Religion(s) in Environmental Conservation: A Case of Mutasa Area in Mutare
Reconfiguring Lost African Religious Tradition: A Feminist Inquiry into Pre-colonial Gender Construction and Its Impact on Shona Society in Post-colonial Zimbabwe
African Traditional Religious Women and Reproductive Health: The Case of Mutasa Rural in Mutare
Tracey Chirara & Tabona Shoko
Woman thou art Cursed? The Case of SARE in Shona Culture
Mavis Muguti & Tawanda Mbewe
Imagining a Church with Equal Opportunities among the Clergy: A Theological and Cultural Dilemma in the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe
Leadership Struggles in the Church: Interfacing and Theologizing the Leadership of Women Clergy in the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe (MCZ)
Peter Masvotore & Lindah Tsara
From Exclusivism to Inclusivism: The Reformed Church in Zimbabwe (RCZ) Rules and Regulations Relating to Women
Untying the Cords of Patriarchy: A Critique of Violence against Women and the Role of Pentecostal Women in Leadership Positions in Zimbabwe
Cultures, Women and the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe
Francis Machingura & Joyline Gwara
Unlocking Judges 13 to Advocate for Women’s Leadership in a Patriarchal System
“Teacher, This Woman Was Caught in the Very Act of Committing Adultery” (John 8:4b):The Bible, Community, and Genderization of Sin; A Dialogue with the Social Identity Theory
Isheanesu Sextus Gusha
Young Christian Women as Agents of Sustainable Development in Zimbabwe: A Case Study of Murinye District, Masvingo
Women’s Sexuality: A Tool for Media Advertising in Zimbabwe?
Chipo Mable Hatendi & Tapiwa Praise Mapuranga
Religio-Cultural Ideologies, Women and the Economy: Gender Inequality in the Mining Sector in Zimbabwe
The Currency that Buys Peace: Reparation in Gabriel García Márquez’s The Sad and Incredible Tale of Innocent Eréndira and her Heartless Grandmother (1972) and Charles Mungoshi’s ‘Sacrifice’ (1997)
Barbara C. Manyarara
Towards Women Empowerment in Africa: Insights from the Capability Approach
Kevin Shijja Kuhumba
Help/Hindrance? The Role of Religion in Women’s Participation in Politics in Zimbabwe
Kudakwashe Bryson Kabaira & Blessed Simbarashe Matsita
Ring or Title: Examining the Role of the Church in the Land Co-Ownership Clause Advocacy in Uganda
About the Contributors
A comprehensive contextualized and contemporary resource on women’s experiences and status in African Indigenous Religions, Christianity, and Islam cleverly nuanced with the role of men in Zimbabwe. It is a must-read for all researchers and anyone interested in religion and the wellbeing of women and men in African contexts and beyond.
This book makes a significant contribution to the study of religion as a force on the role and place of women in society. It clearly shows that the subject is for the community not for one gender as the authors highlight the positives that have been made and the challenges that are still faced by women in the society. The fact that the study focuses on a particular context makes this book more fascinating because it has depth of critical analysis. This book conceptualizes the current relevance of the study of religion, and it is an important resource for all those who teach gender and religion in different institutions.