Ministry in the Tempest: A Reconstruction of the Life, Work, and Legacy of Rev. Andrew. Ndhlela of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe




Ministry, Rev. Andrew. Ndhlela, Methodist church, Zimbabwe


This paper focused on the gap in the historiography of Methodism, where the legacy of Rev. Andrew Ndhlela was undermined. Ndhlela was appointed the first native District Chairman and General Superintendent of Rhodesia Synod in 1965 and later president of the Conference in 1977. The first appointment coincided with the Unilateral Declaration of Independence of Rhodesia imposed by Ian Smith, which created a crisis between the country and the church and between the Africans and the Europeans. This schism resulted in tensions, frustrations, and mistrust in the country and the church. Politically, Ndhlela saw himself leading a church divided based on the tensions between  Rhodesia and Britain’s relationship. Ecclesiastically, his appointment also caused conflicts as some Europeans felt that the natives were not yet ready for such leadership positions, and others felt belittled to be led by natives. Although  Ndhlela succeeded in leading the church in these tempest times, the historiography of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe did not pay particular attention to a man who was the dividing line between the first and second phases of Methodist history. Using qualitative research methodology, the paper aimed at reconstructing Ndhlela's life, work, and legacy, focusing on how he maintained the church together when there was a possibility of splitting. The paper concluded by challenging the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe to honour the legacy left by Ndhlela of a united, inculturative, autonomous, and self-sustained church in the context of sociopolitical and religious conflicts.


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How to Cite

Mujinga, Martin. “Ministry in the Tempest: A Reconstruction of the Life, Work, and Legacy of Rev. Andrew. Ndhlela of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe”. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae, 14 pages.



Received 2023-07-29
Accepted 2024-03-25
Published 2024-04-16