By Milicent Chanetsa
Johannesburg: At least 13 gospel choirs made up of Zimbabwean Catholics living in South Africa this week contested during the annual choral competition – a key landmark on the Catholic calendar.
Onismo Zanamwe, head of welfare at the Zimbabwe Catholic Chaplaincy, said choral competition had grown in leaps in bounds over the years, and went way beyond hitting a musical note.
“As Zimbabweans who are based in a foreign country, it is important for us to meet, and to preserve our culture. As much as we are learning other cultures here, and integrate into the local communities, it is also for us to have that distinct culture from back home, to celebrate it, to inculcate it into our children, to preserve it, and to share it with our SA hosts as well,” said Zanamwe.
“I do think there is a lot of value that the local Catholic church here in South Africa can learn from what we do. We are also learning a lot from the South African culture, and the way they praise God as Catholics. As we meet here, we also have the time to share our different experiences and to cement our togetherness as Zimbabweans in South Africa.”
Zanamwe said the Zimbabwean congregants had taken up social responsibility programmes in South Africa.
“We contribute a lot in the charities. We have a lot of programmes where we give to the homeless people. We have a lot of things that we give to orphanages and a lot of work that we do in and around Gauteng. That helps in making Zimbabweans and South Africans to co-exist as one family,” said Zanamwe.
Dr Shingirirai Mutanga, executive chairperson of Zim Catholics SA’s Gauteng chaplaincy said the community of Zimbabwean Catholics was battling with the challenge of repatriating its members who pass away in South Africa.
“One of the major challenges we have faced within the church, and I’m sure it’s not unique within the church, is the issue of deaths and the repatriation of the bodies back home. Remember, our culture and tradition back home promotes the idea of one getting back in his/her family and roots when they die. As a community, we have tried to address this challenge, easing that challenge that we have been having as a community, and bringing our corporate sponsors Doves Zimbabwe Funeral Services [which operates in South Africa as Zororo-Phumulani],” said Mutanga.
During the competitions, Zororo Phumulani’s Leanmore Makunike gave the congregants “a sermon” on the importance of having funeral assurance policies which would make it easy for the migrant communities to be repatriated to countries including Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Botswana.
“We are doing quite well, working with this church. There are many Zimbabweans dying here in South Africa, and some end up being buried here. We did this partnership with the Zim Catholics SA so that we can repatriate their members. Our minimum rate is as low as R59 per month,” said Makunike.
The trophies for the competition winners were sponsored by mukuru.com. The prize money for the competition was sponsored by Zororo Phumulani.
One of the Zimbabwe Catholic choirs in action
During the competitions, Zororo Phumulani’s Leanmore Makunike gave the congregants “a sermon” on the importance of having funeral assurance policies. Pictures: Milicent Chanetsa
This article is published in partnership between Zimbabwe Digital News and Zim Diaspora Scribes.