HARARE - They live in a world of their own, in small communities.
To them, experiencing wet dreams is as bad as committing murder.
These are the Vapositori of Johane Masowe eChishanu who worship in Harare’s Budiriro suburb at a place popularly known as paMatanga (tanks).
A visit by the Weekend Post to the shrine revealed a simple but strict lifestyle.
Their shrine is no different from other Vapositori worship places, but their beliefs seem different from other apostolic sects.
Madzibaba Ishamea told this publication how they live and what they believe in.
“The secret of life is to choose what you want to be and what you do not want.
“We chose to be Vapositori and it is our obligation to observe our church rules every time, ndosaka zvichinzi zvakaoma sekunamata (Worshipping God needs people who stick to principles).
“We believe it is a sin just like killing to experience wet dreams because God has made man and woman for a purpose — that is to help each other,” he said.
Madzibaba Ishamea said experiencing wet dreams was a clear sign that one is old enough to marry but people tend to resist.
“The word says killing is a sin hence having wet dreams is a way of wasting “seeds” and the Johane Masowe Church does not brook this.
“Why should a grown up man have wet dreams when he can get a wife? He should marry, having wet dreams is driven by the devil, it’s something that should never happen to a man,” he said.
“Sending children to school, is also a sin. Modern schools are the deathbed of our culture; therefore, we do not allow our children to attend school.
“In schools, children are taught to use condoms to prevent getting unwanted pregnancies and STIs. Putting on a condom is tantamount to killing because the condom prevents man’s seeds from entering a woman’s body, killing potential babies,” he said.
Madzibaba Ishamea said in schools, children are taught to exercise birth control methods such as taking family planning pills and according to church rules, this is killing.
“We teach our children basic skills like farming, carpentry, building and motor mechanics among others, but we are not allowed by the church to seek formal employment as this will jeopardise time to worship,” he said.
Paying lobola is also a sin, according to Madzibaba Ishamea. “Getting married is okay but trading people is a sin. No one is allowed to sell another person, hence we are not allowed to charge a bride price,” he said.
According to the church doctrine, having sex with a woman who is more than six months pregnant is also a sin.
“A man is not allowed to have sex with a woman who is six or more months pregnant and it is also not good for men to yearn for sex. Owing to this, man is allowed to marry another woman so as to avoid the sin of burning with desire,” he said.
Using a phone and watching television is also not allowed in Masowe yeChishanu Apostolic Church, according to Madzibaba Ishamea.
“We communicate by sending letters since we do not believe in technology. Of course, our children do not go to school but as I said before, we teach them basic skills in life, including reading and writing,” he said adding the church bars them from venturing into tobacco farming and visiting hospitals.
“Mupositori chaiye haabvumirwe kurima fodya kana kuenda kuchipatara. Hatitombobati phone zvachose, kana paita emergency hama dzangu dzechirungu dzingatophona panext door ndozoudzwa nemuromo. (We are not allowed to venture into tobacco farming and visiting hospitals for medication. Our doctrine restricts us from using a phone).
“Why should we deal with tobacco? God created us for a purpose and whenever we get sick we go back to God and he has the answer.”
Madzibaba Ishamea said church rules do not allow them to be counted during census and they are not worried about obtaining national identification documents.
“We find no value or benefit from the census, what for after all?” he said.
However, Madzibaba Ishamea dismissed allegations that they divorce wives who are non-virgins when they marry.
“Isu kuno hatinyengi vasikana nemuromo asi kuti tinotsvagirwa neDenga. Saka zvekuti munhu anoroora mvana tinongozvinzwirawo munyika umo (We do not propose to girls but they are Heaven-sent, hence we are not known to marry non-virgin wives),” he said.
Last week, Madzibaba Ishamea’s Johanne Masowe eChishanu Apostolic sect members went on the rampage, beating up police officers, journalists and officials from the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ).
Our reporters, Sharon Muguwu and Vasco Chaya spoke to him last year in an exclusive interview where he made stunning revelations and revealed strange beliefs that made his church as controversial as it is.
In the interview, he insisted that his name was Ishamea not Ishmael. Read the fascinating interview which we reproduce below. The story was first published in our sister paper, The Weekend Post.