OUR HISTORY

The genesis of the Zimbabwe Catholic Community in South Africa can be traced back to 2007, following the increased migration down south by Zimbabweans. This was coupled with the quest by Catholics to come together to commune and keep our faith alive in communion with the church back home, the entire Catholic Church and the need to support Zimbabwean migrants. After the Archbishop of the Diocese of Bulawayo (Archbishop Alex Kaliyanil) had approached Arch Bishop Buti Joseph Tlhagale OMI of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg; Fr Danisa Khumalo was then allocated to the Zimbabweans in central Johannesburg (under the Marian Hill Missionaries).  The St Francis of Assisi Parish in Yeoville was subsequently made the domicile parish for Zimbabweans where they had an opportunity to celebrate Mass in their native languages. Meanwhile, other Zimbabweans continued to organise themselves into different parishes particularly in Kempton Park, Midrand and Pretoria. The parish priests of these centers then engaged Fr Lewis Tsuro OP from Springs to also come on board and support the Zimbabweans in these parishes.

Fr L. Tsuro (Dominican) and other volunteering priests and religious continued to provide support to these small groupings particularly around 2009 and 2010. After the successful commemoration of the Zimbabwe Independence Day celebration at the Our Lady of Loreto Parish in 2009 and 2010; it became clear that the quest for regular masses was inevitable as requests for sacraments such as wedding increased. However, the departure of Fr Danisa in early 2010; left a vacuum as the Zimbabweans in Yeoville were left with no Chaplain.

The long and short of it is that the current ZimCatholicSA community was born from a culmination of many events and amalgamation of all the centers in 2010. The first combined mass was held in 2010 at the Midrand’s Holy Trinity Parish. The mass was a huge success as it was well attended attracting people from across the Gauteng province. After that Midrand Mass, the Zimbabwean community in Pretoria approached the then Vicar of the Archdiocese of Pretoria, (Fr Victor Phalana), who is now the Bishop of Klerksdorp, requesting for the holding of Shona Masses at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Bishop Phalana obliged and then invited Fr Tsuro to come and celebrate mass at the cathedral, every second Sunday of the month. That went on until Fr Tsuro was appointed as a Chaplain of the Zimbabwean Community in South Africa by His Grace Archibishop Buti Tlhagale in that same year of 2010. The Shona mass was transformed into a Zimbabwean Mass as it was now being said in the two main Zimbabwean languages, (IsiNdebele and Shona) to accommodate everyone. Since then, the community has enjoyed the privilege of celebrating two main masses every month: at the Pretoria Cathedral every second week of the month and in Yeoville every last Sunday of the month.

Bold steps have been taken to organise the Community into various structures in line with the dictates of the Catholic Church back home in Zimbabwe. The elected founding executive committee comprised Mr Smart Zongololo (Chairperson), Mrs Masadaga (Vive Chairperson), Mr Pardon Chagonda (Secretary), Mr Leslie Mhangwa (Vice Secretary), Mrs Mupereri (Treasurer), Mr Shepherd Tsoka (Liturgy), Mr Tarwireyi and Mr Mafinyori (Choir), Mrs Master (Archzvita), and Mr Charles Matambo (Committee Member). Sr Otilia Mapanzure was the Spiritual adviser. The community leadership and guild structures were set up. With the appointment of Fr Tsuro as the Chaplain, it was also decided that there was a need to unify the community in Pretoria and Yeoville.  A unification task team was created which included Mrs Masadaga, Mr Mhangwa, Mr Charles Matambo, , Ms Spiwe Nkomo and Mr and Mrs Tshuma.

In 2012, the Zimbabwe Catholic Community in SA held its inaugural local choir competitions in Bronkohotspruit in 2012. That same year, the community was able to send a choir to Zimbabwe for St Cecilia National choir competitions under the leadership of Mr Robert Mafinyori and Mr Shepherd Tsoka respectively. In 2013, the 1st Congress of the Community was held with Archbishop Ndlovu of the Archdiocese of Harare, Arch Bishop Bhuti Tlhagale gracing the occasion in Walkersville. At the Congress, the first guild bestowments were done by His Grace Archbishop Ndlovu for St Anne, Sacred Heart, St Joseph and Marian guilds.

At the end of 2013, elections for the executives were held which saw Dr Shingirirai Mutanga being chosen as the Chairman of the community being deputised by Engineer Leslie Mhangwa with Mrs Masadaga as the Secretary. The name ZimCatholicSA, the constitution and the current logo were adopted. With Fr Tsuro being transferred in 2015, The Archbishop of Pretoria, His Grace William Slattery appointed Dr Rev Fr Jerome Nyathi as a Chaplain of the ZimCatholicSA community in June 2016. A second congress was held the same year in Krugersdorp with His Lordship Bishop Victor Phalana and Bishop Michael Bhasera of the Masvingo Diocese (who was celebrating his Silver Jubilee of his episcopal ordination), graced the occasion. The year 2017 was an election year. All recognised centres and guilds held elections in line with the constitution of the community and supervised by the Main Executive and Seminarians. Dr Mutanga was re-elected as the community Chairperson once again but this time being deputised by Mr Patterson Majuru.

The community is made up of Zimbabweans from all dioceses in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe Catholics’ Community Gauteng Chaplaincy now comprises of twenty-two centres and over one thousand members in total.  The Community continues to meet at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Pretoria every second Sunday of the month and at St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Yeoville every last Sunday of the month.  It also continues to host the annual Local Choir Competitions, Family Fun Day, and Leadership Workshops. Annual Pilgrimages are organized to Ngome (KwaZulu-Natal) and to the Blessed Benedict Daswa Shrine in Tshitanini in Limpopo (since 2015). A Congress is held on a triannual basis.  

 

The Zimbabwe Catholics Community in South Africa has grown to as far out as Durban, Cape Town, Rustenburg, Port Elizabeth and Witbank.  The Zimbabwe Catholics Community in Cape Town is now a recognised Chaplaincy on its own. The Zimbabwe Catholics Communities in Durban and Cape Town participate in the Zimbabwe Catholics Community in South Africa Annual Local Choir Competitions. The growth of the community over the years is a humbling feat with its footprints being a sign of the living church. The solid faith is expressed through various activities such as community retreats, night vigils, youth activities, charity drives, annual pilgrimages (such as Ngome and Daswa), and the continuous participation in local & St Cecilia music competitions.

A lot of people have sacrificed and put in a lot of work and effort to help grow the Community to what it is today. Every single member of the Community has played their part in one way or the other. We sincerely thank every single member for these contributions.  The table below acknowledges some of the Founding Leaders from different centres for their dedication and servanthood to help grow and strengthen the Community:

Some of the founding Leaders in the Respective centers between the years 2007-2010
Yoville Kempton Park Midrand Pretoria Joburg Central
Mr. Emmanuel Tshuma

Mrs. Constance Mpala

Mrs. Marble Ncube

Mrs. Helen Ncube

Mrs. Skuhumbuzo Moyo

Mr. Charumbira

Mr. Dos Santos

Dr. Clara Jakatira

Ms Spiwe Nkomo

Mr Smart Zongololo

Mr Leslie Mhangwa

Mr. Sibanda

Mrs. Nelly Njeru

Mrs. Unity Masadaga

Mrs. Juliet Baldry

Mrs. Rosemary Master

Mrs Mudamburi

Mrs. Matsa

Mr Charles Matambo

Mr. Joseph Mafunga

Mrs. Mupereri

Mr. Mahore

Mr. Chigara

Prof. Dzikiti

Sr. Otilia Mapanzure

Sr. Shumba

Mr Cosmas Tsoka,

Mr Tinashe Chizema,

Mr Nyamarebvu,

Mr Pardon Chagonda,

Ms Veronica,

Mr Amos Makanda,

Mr Nyasha Mushuku,

Mr Tino Chadyiwa,

The late Mr Tafrain Madyira.