MATABELELAND SOUTH PROVINCE

Background

AFM Matabeleland South Province is found within one of Zimbabwe’s administrative provinces namely Matabeleland South and covers Gwanda district, Insiza, Umzingwane and part of Matobo district sharing borders with Matabeleland East province (Beitbridge) to the south, Zvishavane to the east and most of Bulawayo provinces to the north.

It hosts one of the monumental AFM historic features (Gobatema Farm established in 1916) which was used as a spring board for early missionary work in Zimbabwe. The church had very vibrant projects on the farm which included a missionary school which not only offered religious learning and academic studies but also offered various vocational skills training. Income generating projects to sustain church activities were also conducted on the farm making sure that the church remained independent and self-sustaining in its efforts to fulfil the Great Commission. It was from this now forgotten corner of the country that AFM in Zimbabwe penetrated into the interior of Zimbabwe covering every known human settlement in the land and AFM becoming a gospel giant that it has become.

AFM Matabeleland South Province proudly associates with iconic Pentecostal pioneers who brought the gospel into Zimbabwe from neighbouring South Africa through the preaching of the founding figure John G. Lake and others. These were mainly migrant workers of the famous Wenela era who included the likes of Zacharias Manamela and Kobge around year 1913 there about. They worked with the famous missionary Golden Dugmore in Gobotema mission.

These men brought the gospel all the way from South Africa on foot and pioneered early church activities with such commitment as evidenced by men and women walking for long distances in search of baptism water to fulfil biblical obligations of baptising new converts. It is because of this rich Apostolic background that the areas around Gwanda deep into the reserves are so endeared to the church that they hold their apostolic heritage (Isipostoli) with reverence.

Times went by and for reasons known to the leadership by then, Gobatema farm was sold and its on record that proceeds from its sale gave birth to some prominent assemblies in today AFM some in Gwanda, Bulawayo, Masvingo and some parts of the country.

AFM Matabeleland South province grew in leaps and bounds under the Overseership of the late Rev D. M Mabusa who took over from white missioneries after independence. After Rev Mabusa came the late Rev Musinyali, retired Rev R.S Mbedzi and then the current serving Overseer Rev P. Mlauzi. One cannot conclude the story of AFM Mat South without mentioning one of the gospel stalwarts Rev A.B Ntizhila, Rev J. Chuma and Mbulawa among others.

AFM Mat South Assemblies

The province has a number of assemblies providing access to the church to every inhabitant of the province. Approximately 22 localised assemblies have been established, 4 in Gwanda town and the rest in growth points and rural areas. These assemblies have natured a lot of prominent current time gospel stalwarts who include Overseers and retired overseers in the likes of Rev Maphosa, Rev Dale, Rev Mdlongwa to mention but a few.

 

 

AFM schools

The early AFM church had numerous schools dotted around Mat South mainly in Beitbridge and Gwanda districts. These schools include Zhokwe, Betsa, Ntepe, Sengezane, Paye, Tshongwe, Vela in Gwanda and Mtetengwe, Mabidi, Nobe in Beitbridge. The schools were later surrendered to the Rural District Council at independence.

Bible College

AFM Mat South province through the visionary late Rev Musinyali, whose vision was supported later on by Rev Mbedzi, is home to an excellent theological establishment namely Bread Of Life Campus which is part of a consortium of theological academies under the banner of Living Waters Theological Seminary. This college has produced graduands who have continued to expand the AFM horizon to places beyond the provincial boundaries and also beyond the national boundaries. One such outstanding product of the college is Rev Mvelo Dube who has since been deployed to preach the gospel in Australia.  It is through the potency of the gospel that AFM Mat South Province will continue to be regarded as the nuclear and centre of AFM missional work in Zimbabwe.

Fulfilment of the Great Commission 

The church continues to affirm and uphold the divine assignment given to any Christian believer as enshrined in the Great Commission “Mathew 28:19 ” Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

While today’s preachers seem to concentrate on material gains and exploits as the absolute measure of Christian success, the province has embraced AFM President’s theme for the year “The Year Of Apostolic Restoration, Reconciliation and Healing “ putting emphasis on Apostolic Restoration (Ukuvuselelwa kwesiPostoli) as understood by the people of Mat south, that is the gospel of Christ and Him crucified. Christ who serves, Christ who heals, Christ who is coming back again.

Evangelism has been made an integral part of the church governance structures and dedicated individuals assigned to see that evangelism remain visible and alive in the provincial programmes. The province gratefully received the innovation of a Centralised Revenue Fund as a way of ensuring that those with divine calling and assignments in the church are well looked after and are empowered to continue preaching the gospel uncompromised and unburdened. Compliance with effective governance structures remains a provincial priority for the smooth running of AFM affairs in the province with believers being encouraged to resort back to the times of sacrificial support to the gospel, rooted in the love for God and not expecting immediate material gains or for gaining status in the church. Christ at the centre of it all.

Provincial Overseer

 Rev P. Mlauzi

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