By Thandeka Matebesi
Many people believe Apostolic Sect churches commonly referred to as “Amapostoli” promote child marriages.There are many social myths and misconceptions ranging from denying children, especially girls the opportunity to go to school, promoting child marriages and lack of hygiene that are associated with the church.
The rumour mill is awash with children in some Apostolic Sects who have been forced to drop out of school to marry at a very young age.
There are also stories of leaders in such churches who have more than five wives, some of which are young girls.
Nonetheless, one can only imagine how difficult it is for a leader of the sect to dispel all the misconceptions surrounding being a member of the Apostolic Sect.
One of the Apostolic sects led by Mr Emmanuel Gwandida whose spiritual name is Madzibaba Mutumwa is repainting the image of the Apostolic Sect by shunning child marriages and encouraging children to pursue education.
“There are quite a number of things that I disagree with as a member of the Apostolic Sect; for example denying children the opportunity to go to school. I encourage children to pursue education to the highest levels and shun getting into marriages at a tender age. We have some members of our church who have children who are studying in China. I always tell parents and children that children should get married at the right age because I think child marriages are a sin against God and it is abuse to allow child marriages.
“Children should get married when they are mature and educated to avoid divorce. Child marriages do not last long because children will start to realise other things which they missed when they were young. My congregants know that I do not encourage child marriages and they support me. Even the issue of saying pastors should marry seven wives is something I do not tolerate, and in my teachings and I always make it clear,” said Apostle Gwandida.
Apostle Gwandida also said in his teachings he emphasises the importance of personal hygiene among his congregants so as to reduce diseases. He also said that he encourages people to start sustainable projects so as to avert poverty.
“There are rumours that are spread by people that say people from our sect should not bath, such are lies because we encourage hygiene among our members so as to reduce the risk of contacting diseases,” he said.
He added: “In my church I do not have poor people; they are all rich while some employ people, some get promoted where they work because my target is to end poverty in the country.
I now have 71 branches and the major reason for that is I help people reduce poverty by praying for them and encouraging them to work with their hands. I encourage people in my church to do sustainable projects like gardening and poultry.” Sunday News.