Religion in Zimbabwe

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It is estimated that between 60 and 70 percent of Zimbabweans belong to mainstream Western Christian denominations such as Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Methodism; however, over the years a variety of indigenous churches and groups have emerged from these mainstream denominations.[1] Charismatic Evangelical denominations, primarily Pentecostal churches and apostolic groups, were the fastest growing religious classifications in the years 2000 to 2009.[1]

While the country is overwhelmingly Christian, the majority of the population continues to believe, to varying degrees, in indigenous religions as well.[1] Religious leaders also reported an increase in adherence to traditional religion and shamanic healers.[1]

Islam accounts for 1 percentnbmmn of the population[1] while the remainder of the population includes practitioners of Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, and traditional indigenous religions.[1] There are also small numbers of Hindus, Buddhists, Baha'is, and atheists.[1]

While political elites tend to be associated with one of the established Christian churches, there is no correlation between membership in any religious group and political or ethnic affiliation.[1]

Foreign missionary groups are present in the country.[1]



Most Zimbabweans Christians are Protestants. The largest Protestant Christian churches are Anglican (represented by the Church of the Province of Central Africa), Seventh-day Adventist[2] and Methodist.[3]

There are just under one million Roman Catholics in the country (about 7% of the total population).[4] The country contains two archdioceses (Harare and Bulawayo), which each contain three dioceses Chinhoyi, Gokwe, and Mutare; and Gweru, Hwange, and Masvingo; respectively). The most famous Catholic churchman in Zimbabwe is Pius Ncube, the archbishop of Bulawayo, an outspoken critic of the government of Robert Mugabe.

A variety of local churches and groups have emerged from the mainstream Christian churches over the years that fall between the Protestant and Catholic churches. Some, such as the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God, continue to adhere strictly to Christian beliefs and oppose the espousal of traditional religions. Other local groups, such as the Seven Apostles, combine elements of established Christian beliefs with some beliefs based on traditional African culture and religion.[5]


Main article: Islam in Zimbabwe

Estimates on the number Muslims in Zimbabwe vary from as low as 120,000 up to about 250, 000.[6] The Muslim community consists primarily of South Asian immigrants (Indian and Pakistani), a small number of indigenous Zimbabweans, and a very small number of North African and Middle Eastern immigrants. There are mosques located in nearly all of the larger towns. There are 18 in the capital city of Harare, 8 in Bulawayo, and a number of mosques in small towns. The Muslim community has expanded its outreach efforts with the aid of the Kuwaiti-sponsored African Muslim Agency (AMA); the Harare AMA office has had increased success proselytizing among the majority black indigenous population, in part because of its humanitarian projects in rural areas. Some chiefs and headmen in the rural areas have reportedly converted from Christianity to Islam.[5]

Bahá'í Faith[edit]

In 1916–1917 a series of letters by `Abdu'l-Bahá, then head of the religion, asked his followers to take the religion to regions of Africa; these letters were compiled together in the book titled Tablets of the Divine Plan.[7] In 1929 Shoghi Effendi, then head of the religion, was the first Bahá'í to visit the area.[8] In 1953 several Bahá'ís settled in what was then Southern Rhodesia[9] as pioneers. Along with indigenous conversions in 1955 the first Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly was formed in Harare.[8] By the end of 1963 there were 9 assemblies.[10] While still a colony of the United Kingdom, the Bahá'ís nevertheless organised a separate National Spiritual Assembly in 1964.[11] The National Assembly has continued since 1970.[9] By 2003, the 50th anniversary of the Bahá'ís in Zimbabwe, a year of events across the country culminated with a conference of Bahá'ís from all provinces of Zimbabwe and nine countries. There were 43 local spiritual assemblies in 2003.[8]


Main article: Hinduism in Africa

There are small number of Hindus in Zimbabwe.[12][13] Hindus are mainly concentrated in the capital city of Harare. Hindu Society mainly consists of Gujaratis, Goan and Tamil.

Hindu Primary and Secondary schools are found in the major urban areas such as Harare and Bulawayo.

The Hindu Religious and Cultural Institute (HRCI) is dedicated in teaching Sanatana Dharma to children born into Hindu families of Zimbabwe, but non-Hindus can also study here. Most Hindu families who live in Zimbabwe still have links with India. Gujarati language is taught in HRCI. HRCI also publishes books offering religious education for Hindus.

Brahma Kumaris have three Centres in Zimbabwe (in Harare, Bulawayo, and Vic Falls).[14] ISKCON has a Centre at Marondera. Ramakrishna Vedanta Society has a centre in Harare.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Zimbabwe. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (September 14, 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "Zimbabwe". Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  3. ^ "Church in Zimbabwe far behind in communication". Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  4. ^ Statistics relating to the Catholic church in Zimbabwe
  5. ^ a b religion in Zimbabwe This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. ^ estimates on Muslims in Zimbabwe
  7. ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá (1991) [1916-17]. Tablets of the Divine Plan (Paperback ed.). Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. pp. 40–2, 57 86. ISBN 0-87743-233-3. 
  8. ^ a b c Bahá'í International Community (2003-12-12). "Drumming and dancing in delight". Bahá'í International News Service. 
  9. ^ a b "History of the Zimbabwean Community". The Bahá'í Community of Zimbabwe. National Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Zimbabwe. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  10. ^ Hands of the Cause Residing in the Holy Land (1964). The Bahá'í Faith: 1844–1963, Information Statistical and Comparative, Including the Achievements of the Ten Year International Bahá'í Teaching & Consolidation Plan 1953–1963. Israel: Peli - P.E.C. Printing World LTD.Ramat Gan. p. 114. 
  11. ^ Universal House of Justice (1986). In Memoriam. The Bahá'í World. XVIII. Bahá'í World Centre. p. 629. ISBN 0-85398-234-1. 
  12. ^ IRF 2006
  13. ^ *Hindus in Zimbabwe
  14. ^ Brahma Kumaris Centres in Zimbabwe

External links[edit]