22 November (ENI)—Black priests in the Anglican church in Zimbabwe have alleged that they are not allowed to baptise, marry or bury white parishioners.
At least four priests have resigned from their parishes in Harare because of the alleged racism. The Dean of the Harare diocese, Simukai Mutamangira, admits the church has a serious racism problem.
"We have very capable black priests in the country, but appointments to the key positions are rare for them," he told ENI, adding that he had been a victim of the segregation in the church after suggesting the use of traditional African musical instruments in church services. "I was misquoted as having tried to impress the gathering, and trying to do away with Western instruments. I was simply saying the church should bring in the African tradition." (Traditional instruments, such as drums, are said by those opposed to their use in Christian service to evoke dead spirits and therefore are "devilish".)
Mutamangira said there was open hostility about such issues within the church. Some parishes had become the "preserve" of whites. Black priests were upset at the situation, he said.
Another priest, Godfrey Tawonezvi, told a local weekly newspaper that he had ministered at one parish for three years, "but I never baptized a white child, married white couples or buried any white person". He added that whenever the white rector was not available, white parents would hire white priests from other parishes to perform baptisms, some more than 160 kilometers away. Often, the white parents would claim that the out-of-town priests were family friends or relatives.
Tawonezvi said that for one baptism a black parent had asked for a hymn in Shona, the language spoken by most Zimbabweans, but the white ...1
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