A transformed apostolic sect shrine:

… a case of Chitungwiza Ward 10

Over the years, the apostolic sect owing to its doctrine has been known for beliefs and practices that fuel occurrences of various forms of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).
This has been worsened by the visible skewed balance of power between men and women in favour of men.
One Apostolic church leader under the Johanne Masowe sect in Chitungwiza Ward 10, Hitler Howera has taken a bold step to change the unpleasant story through conducting SASA! Together sessions at his shrine.
This comes after Howera had an encounter with the Forum for African Women Educationalists Zimbabwe Chapter (FAWEZI) that introduced the SASA! Together methodology in the religious arena.
“My subsequent encounters with FAWEZI opened my eyes and made me realise that cases of Violence Against Women and Girls were being fuelled by harm-ful practices that we had normalised as religious groups,” said Mr Howera.
Mr Howera added that the encounter made him do an introspection so as to change his attitude before joining the raging battle.
“Personally, I was a perpetrator of Gender Based Violence in my own house and this made me fail to notice how rampant the scourge is in our sect. The lessons I got through the Power Poster transformed me into a new person and I managed to balance power in my marriage,” he said.
The change that took place in Howera’s life cascaded down to the congregation that he leads and he is determined to tackle harmful practices associated with religious groupings.“After my transformation, I made a bold decision to take the Power Poster into our sacred shrine and conducted a session that enlightened congregants.
Cases of child marriages were being normalised in our midst and I made a decision to bring that to an end,” said Mr Howera.
One of the congregants at the shrine Ms Loveness Chimeri confirmed that women and girls were exposed to child marriages as well as emotional and physical abuse.
“People were in the habit of marrying off young girls, emotional and physical abuse was common because most men were being influenced by harmful doctrines,” said Ms Chimeri.
Mr Howera explained that he started conducting SASA! Together sessions at his shrine to address the challenges.
“All congregants who worship at this place are now aware that cases of Violence Against Women and Girls as well as men cannot be tolerated at this place. This has attracted many followers to our church after noticing that we are doing things differently,” said Mr Howera.
SASA! Together is a community mobilisation approach to preventing VAWG and HIV. SASA! Is based on the analysis and understanding of power imbalance as the root cause of VAWG. It uses various methods and materials of community engagement including the use of Power Posters.
The Power Poster is a visualisation of different scenarios depicting negative and positive uses of power. These visuals are used to ignite impromptu community conversations leading to positive changes on the use of power by men and women.