Right Reverend Samuel Mutendi
The late Reverend Samuel Mutendi (born 1880) is baptised by the Holy Spirit at Chegutu/Hartley whilst serving as a policeman. In the same year is dismissed for his numerous Pentecostal seizures where he would speak in tongues. Goes back to his home area Bikita where he stays at Mubveve Mission Station.
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit Samuel Mutendi journeys to South Africa and receives water baptism from the Zion Apostolic Faith Mission (ZAFM) in Pretoria led by Rev. Mahlangu in which members spoke in tongues.
Samuel Mutendi returns to Southern Rhodesia/Zimbabwe as a ZAFM missionary and commissioned Reverend begins to preach the word of God baptising people and performing many faith miracles.
Goes back to South Africa at the invitation of his friend Enginas Lekganyane where they form the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) and submit registration papers in the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Rev. Mutendi preaches across Southern Rhodesia in his mission of fighting sickness and poverty . He uses his Holy Staff (maphumhangozi) and holy water (machipisa uroyi) to cast out evil spirits. Many are converted as he establishes his reputation as a faith healer, rainmaker, wise counsellor and bold man of God.
He and his converts endure persecution from local chiefs as well as from white missionaries who believe only they can preach and baptise people not an African missionary.
- 1932 – 1976
Despite these odds Rev. Mutendi manages to spread the word of God across the country. During this period he manages to set up six schools in Masvingo, some which are banned and destroyed by colonial administrators.
Enginas Lekganyane dies and, with increased control of cross-border movement by the South Africa government, contact with South Africa is lost.
Due to his increased popularity the colonial powers finally move Rev. Samuel Mutendi and his followers to tsetse infested Gokwe (Marimasimbe) where he continues his mission and begins to develop the area by building schools as well as converting people.
The colonial powers further relocate him to Defe Dopota (Gokwe) at the fringes of Chirisa Game Park.
Rev. Samuel Mutendi passes on (20 July) and God reveals his Glory by showing his portrait on a Star in the night sky (Nyeredzi yaSamere) on 23 July 1976. The incident is witnessed countrywide by both church members and non-members. MaZion each year commemorate the passing on of their founding father at Defe Dopota, an event known as 20 July/Zuva RaSamere .
Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi (born 1939) is ordained and continues with the church’s founding principles of fighting sickness and poverty.
Z.C.C. purchases Mbungo Estates in Masvingo, its current administrative headquarters.
Z.C.C. builds 11 schools countrywide. To date the schools have produced over 5000 graduates.
The construction of the House of God at Mbungo.
Bishop Dr. Nehemiah Mutendi is awarded an honorary doctorate degree [Dr. Litt] by the University of Zimbabwe in recognition of the church’s contribution to education and social empowerment.
Bishop Dr. Nehemiah embarks on a journey to Israel (The Holy Land) with 56 church members. This is now an annual event.
ZCC celebrates its Centenary and commissions a Second Century of Christian work.
Rev. Samuel Mutendi had a passion for education and the Church has had a long history of developing the communities in which it is based. When he left the police force in 1913 he went back to Bikita where he became teacher assistant at Gumunyu Primary School, joining the early cohort of African educators. From as early as 1932 he was building his own schools despite restrictions by colonial authorities. This spirit continues to guide the church with key construction and farming projects earmarked. Some of the key milestones have included:
1932 – 6 schools were built in Bikita, Gutu and Zaka.
1958 – Mutarara Church and Office
1965 – Mutarara Primary School
1967 – Mutendi Primary School (Maramasimbe)
1973 – Mutendi Primary School (Defe)
1981 – Purchase of Mbungo Estates
1983 – Mutendi Primary School (Mbungo)
1984 – Mutendi High School (Mbungo)
1988 – Dzidzai Adult Literacy program launched
1988 – Hebron High School (Mwenezi)
1994 – Dopota Primary
2000 – Defe Secondary School
2001 – Mutevhure Secondary School
2003 – Fombo Secondary School
2004 – Mutarara Primary School
2004 – Gweru Church
2011 – Mbungo House of God
2011 – Mbungo Guest Lodge and Administration block
2011 – Rehabilitation of the Defe feeder road (23 km)
2012 – Mbungo Pavilion
2013 – Defe Pavilion
2013 – Electrification of Defe (23 km ZESA Powerline)
2013 – Belvedere Administration block