Bahai News - Behaviour of the Churches is not what Somhlolo expected
Behaviour of the Churches is not what Somhlolo expected
Photo: "BISHOP Zwane... Told white missionaries where to get off
where Swazi moral issues were concerned."
FROM the grapevine comes the news that the churches in Swaziland are
mobilising their members to submit to the Constitutional Review
Commission that only Christianity should be a recognised religion in
Swaziland. What an outrageous idea!
The churches certainly do not represent the Umculu invited by Somhlolo
to Swaziland. This is obvious from the behaviour of the churches towards
other religions. At present there is the problem of sharing air time at
the Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Services to communicate to
all followers of religions, about their own religion.
The Churches, not Christians, are resisting this. I am making a
distinction between churches and Christianity because the Spirit of
Christ is not what you find in churches which are infested with
cut-throat competition for members. Christ allowed everyone a chance to
make a choice whether to believe in Him or not. The churches are closing
people off so that they do not have access to free information, so that
they can decide on their own. It is obvious that Somhlolo, who was the
architect of Swazi unity with all the tribes that were found in the
country could not understand the divisive attitude displayed by the
churches which claim to be preaching the gospel in Swaziland because of
the invitation from him.
It is true that they were invited by Mswati II but Mswati mistakenly
thought that these represented the people his father had foretold. It is
obvious now that it was a great mistake. It was a great mistake which
was realized by Mswati II while he was alive, which is reason he
attacked the missionaries in Mahamba soon after they had arrived so that
they again ran away from Swaziland to Zululand. It was clear to Mswati
that these missionaries were bringing teachings which were contrary to
the Swazi Law and Custom, since they condemned most of what Swazis
It is interesting that those who want to make us believe that churches
are here because of the invitation of King Somhlolo, do not state that
Mswati fetched the missionaries and then ended up chasing them away. The
missionaries that are in Swaziland invited themselves here. They are no
longer the group that was invited by King Mswati.
I have great respect for Bishop Mandlenkhosi Zwane, of the Catholic
Church, who was a forthright priest and the told the truth under
whatever circumstances. I am using churches here because that was his
definition of the activities of missionaries in the country. One day we
had a National Education Advisory Board meeting in Mbabane, in which he
was a member, along with Miss Scutt.
There were others who attended such as Bishop Mncina of one of the
Zionist churches. This was way back in 1980. There was a topic that was
put forward by the Ministry of Education, seeking advice from the
National Education Advisory Board about how to introduce the subject of
sex education in schools.
Whilst we were all considering how to tackle this sensitive subject, the
first to speak was Miss Scutt. She stated that there was no need to
discuss this subject since the children need to be told that they have
to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and then they will not indulge in
any premarital sex. The response from Bishop Zwane was strong and
vehement. He told Miss Scutt that it is such dreams of missionaries that
have ruined the Swazi Nation. He said the Swazi Nation knew how to train
their children to have strong morals and upright character He charged it
was these misguided missionaries who brought their abominable
churchianity into Swaziland.
It is this churchianity which brought utter chaos into the life of the
Swazi people. He asked Miss Scutt why it is the Swazi girls who become
pregnant when their own children do not become pregnant. What do they
teach their own children, which they do not teach the Swazi girls? It is
clear that you brought your churchianity here to destroy the Africans, he
said. He condemned churchianity's shortsightedness for destroying the
good customs of the Swazis which has led to a general breakdown of Swazi
morality in all spheres of Swazi life. He spoke at great length giving
various examples of how churchianity had destroyed the respectable
system of Swazi life.
I am not able to repeat some of the things here because they were only
meant for adults, and this paper is read by everyone. Miss Scutt was
almost in tears as most of the Swazis who were of members of this
National Education Advisory Board agreed wholeheartedly with what Bishop
Zwane had said. I was personally surprised by the frankness of Bishop
Zwane and also his description of the missionary activities as not
Christianity, but churchianity.
On second thought, I realised that Bishop Zwane was absolutely right.
There is a big difference between Christianity and Churchianity.
Christianity belongs to Christ and Churchianity belongs to the churches.
Churches may or may not have Christ in them. I am reminded of another
story involving churches. In America, there was a white church. One
black man tried several times to enter into this white church to worship
God. Each time he went there, he was told to go away. He tried several
times. The last time he was so hurt he broke down and wept. On his way
home he met Jesus Christ. Christ asked the man why he was weeping. The
man answered that he had tried several times to enter that church, but
each time he was turned away. Christ answered him thus: "I have
tried, for the last 2000 years to enter that church, but I have always
been turned away. So if you want to go to that church to worship Me, I
am not there."
The churches in Swaziland are demonstrating that it would be impossible
for Christ to be in them. We made an innocent request as Baha'is and
other religions to be given time over the radio to conduct services or
devotions. The Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Service did not
object It only explained that historically the responsibility for the
religious broadcasts was given to the church organisations.
It would be necessary, if the other religions wanted to participate, to
have an open discussion with the churches. We welcomed this idea, and
looked forward to a meeting with our Christian brothers.
As Baha'is we believe in Christ. As Moslems we believe in Christ. As
Traditional Religionists we believe in Christ. None of us are against
Christianity and Christ. We were very surprised when it took such a long
time for the meeting to take place. The next time we heard what was
happening was when the matter was being discussed in a Conference of the
Even at this point, the point was not to agree on a date to meet, but
how best to avoid a meeting with the Baha'is and others until the new
constitution is promulgated. It is reported from reliable sources that
the aim is to mobilise all the followers of all the churches to ensure
that in their submissions to the Constitutional Review Commission they
should all speak in one voice that Christianity or Churchianity be the
only religion allowed in Swaziland. This must be proclaimed in the
constitution, they say. This will ensure that there will be no need to
discuss the subject of whether other religions should be allowed to use
the public radio.
This public radio is paid for with our taxes. If we take into account
the hundreds of professional Baha'is and their high income earning
ability, their income tax can actually finance the SBIS for 12 months of
To the churches, this has no meaning. It is clear to them that it is
that the Baha'is and Moslems must finance the station, in order that
churches should be the only ones who have access to the radio for
devotions. This is indeed a scandalous act. Christ weeps with a sore
heart when he sees such treacherous decisions perpetrated in His own
The myopic decision by the churches that they can block the teaching of
other religions in Swaziland through the promulgation of a Constitution
that will forbid freedom of conscience is so archaic that it is even
impossible to conceive how they could delude themselves that this is
One is reminded of an earlier attempt by the churches to stop the
teaching of the Baha'i through an appeal to King Sobhuza II. King
Sobhuza told them that the Baha'is have as much right to freely teach
the Baha'i Faith in Swaziland, just as they too are free to teach their
churchianity. It was up to the people to decide what to believe. He
asked: "How do we know if you are not the false prophets."
Thus that wise king foiled their evil designs.
We are not certainly advocating that the Baha'is only should be given a
chance on the public radio. We have many groups which are not given a
chance. I have never heard the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Seventh Day
Adventists given an opportunity to expound their beliefs on the public
radio. I hardly hear of the Zionists who are in the majority in the
country given an air commensurate with their numbers in the country. It
is even worse with the traditional religion which is embraced by all
followers of all the religions in the country that it is never given a
It is a great pity that our children do not get an explanation through
the radio what is meant by Mvelinchanti, Mlentemunye, Ancestors-
emadloti. There is no explanation to them what is meant by death and
what happens to soul when it leaves the body, according the belief of
This puts a big rift between our children and ourselves for they fail to
understand the roots of Swazi culture, while at the same time they are
strangers to the European culture. This creates a morally unbalanced
member of society. Churches have done this and they continue dividing
the nation so that it remains highly unstable. There is no question that
Somhlolo would definitely not invite an agent of division into the nation.
It is clear that Somhlolo foresaw a time when there would be a universal
unification of the whole human race, when there would be only one
religion for all mankind, and when there would be peace and tranquillity
among all the nations of the world, when there would be no nation that
spills the blood of another. This will not be brought about by the
churchianity, but will be brought about by following the Umculu, that
has been brought into this world by God through Baha'u'llah.
©Copyright 1999, The Times of Swaziland
Page last updated/revised 051701
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