In one of the most auspicious annual conferences under the late Bishop S Dube, hundreds of United African Apostolic Church members from as far as Bulawayo, Hwange, Gwanda, Binga, Felabuse, Mberengwa, Harare, and South Africa converged in Victoria Falls from the 22nd until 24th November 2019 to attend the last regional conference of 2019 in the church‘s calendar. The conference was graced by the presence of the Bishops Muzila and Hlabangwana from South Africa, Councillor Makarutse from Harare, Ambassador Dube from Gwanda, Superitendant Nyathi from Binga, General Secretary Ramudzuli, Spokesperson Nenzhelele, PA Madula, Head of Women Ministry, Jev Maluleke and Youth leaders Ramutsheli and Mlauzi as well as many senior church members.
The local congregants had no time to rest and Councilor Moyo had his hands full as he welcomed delegates from Friday afternoon (22 November) from various areas. He consistently expressed gratitude to people who traveled from far to be with him and all people in the furthest corner of Zimbabwe. He contended that only people with very special friendship in their hearts and unconditional love could embark on such a long journey to attend a three day conference.
On Saturday morning, the Youth service opened proceedings at 10:00 in the newly built church. The young lions roared non-stop as Cllr Mgwazeni ‘s Choir took to the stage to perform for delegates. The predominately female choir had delegates eating from their palms of their hands as the evergreen Cllr Mgwazeni led them in various songs, blending with unique dance moves. Zimbabwe Youth President, Mr Mlauzi, delivered a thunderous speech centering on the power of education and encouraged the youth to get educated.
The local Mkhosana Township, which played host to the conference, brightened up as church members gallivanted around freely in their blue and white uniform. Some traveled a kilometer away to get a closer view of one of the seven natural wonders of the world, a World Heritage Site known as Victoria Falls, commonly known by its Kololo name, “Mosi-oa-Tunya”. The visitors were delighted to feel the thunder of the Zambezi river as it drops between 90m and 107m into the dreadful Zambezi Gorge and an average of 550,000 cubic meters of water plummeting over the edge every minute.
Back in church, the exhilarating atmosphere gained momentum as the Women Service led by Jev Maluleke, Inspector Maudu and Jev Charinge was underway. They beat drums and other percussion instruments, singing traditional and non-denominational choruses.
It was on Saturday evening after all delegates from South Africa and other places in Zimbabwe had arrived that conference delegates enjoyed the best of the United Africa Apostolic Church. Elders led the UAAC legion in songs and dance. They could not contain their jubilation as they sang and danced the night away. Not to be outdone was Snr Cllr Mgwazeni, a super charged Duracell, whose dance and singing nearly awoken local residents. Emulating the late Bishop Dube through song and dance, most delegates’ eyes welled up as they reminisced about their loving Bishop who passed on 3 years ago.
Elders took turns preaching about unity throughout the evening service. It was commendable to hear everyone paying tribute to the late Archbishop for the love he consistently displayed as well as the unity that became his trademark sermon.
Choirs took turn singing and dancing as they entertained conference attendants. Blending rhythm and movement, the ever energetic Beitbridge legion the stole the lime light with their unique dancing, back and forth, around and around, to the left, to the right, then back again.
The Angel of the UAAC probably smiled as delegates forgot that they had to break on Sunday morning to prepare for the last service.
The last day of the conference, Sunday the 24th, lived to its expectations as local residents joined church members for the Sunday service. As in the previous night, the atmosphere was electric and delegates were on the edge of their seats all the time. Program director, Cllr Ntini, had to stop each song and dance as delegates did not want to take their seats.
Gladys Jombhe, a young lady from South Africa, handed out gift packs to 17 Choir members from Bulawayo. She indicated that she was touched by the video clip of the choir singing and dancing when they were welcoming Bishop Muzila to Bulawayo in May 2019 for a church meeting. She then launched a uniform project for the choir and many UAAC members from South Africa contributed money which culminated in the success of the Project. The Gift pack included a full uniform (join), Munazaretha, two pairs of Tommy sneakers, doek, Golf Shirt and Jerseys. They also received toiletries and sanitary towels. Choir Leader, Snr Cllr Mgwazeni, also received gifts including Dust Coats and Jacket. Miss Jombhe indicated that future philanthropic ventures will be communicated in due course. All participants welcomed her efforts, with Spokesperson Rev Nenzhelele dubbing her the “Dorcus” of our age, sourcing the name from the Biblical Dorcus, a lady who did many good things and acts of kindness (Acts 9:36-42).
In his speech, Cllr Moyo, representing Victoria Falls District, expressed appreciation for all the delegates who traveled all the way from South Africa and other parts of Zimbabwe to attend the conference. He thanked all the elders and Bishops for coming in large numbers. He added that this shows that we love each other as members of the UAAC and we must continue working in the same manner and build the unity that our Spiritual Father, Archbishop Dr EMM Mureri, taught us. Bishop Hlabangwana and Muzila also expressed satisfaction that the future of the church was really guaranteed.
They all concluded by indicating that togetherness is a recipe for sustaining our church and warned against unnecessary divisions in church.
The Conference certainly left a mark in the minds of many and is likely to be bigger in 2020.
Peace unto all!