In my previous instalment, I endeavoured to connect some of our basic African cultural practices with God’s instructions to humankind.
His spoken instructions helped to shape most of our traditions.
As a consequence of people looking from outside of the religious sphere, some God-inspired cultures and practices which had stood the test of time came under severe attack from a new breed of foreign missionaries who accompanied our colonisers from the Western world.
Even some customs which were meant to serve other divine objectives were suppressed by the new superimposing political and religious dispensation.
The African man and woman was not only enslaved, but deemed as an inferior being.
Although most of our culture was aligned to the commandments of God, it was labelled as pagan and condemned.
Unfortunately, most of our own people have swallowed this line of thinking, hook, line and sinker.
Some of us now feel inferior at just being African, to the extent of hating who they are.
My war cry is that we should be proud of who we are and that we should renew our divine cultures that had fallen by the wayside.
We should be proud to be African! We are in fact directly linked to the biblical Noah and Abraham in our ancestry.
The first book of Moses, Genesis 10:6 indicates that the son of Noah, Ham, produced four sons, Cush (Kush), Egypt (Mizrain), Put and Canaan.
These sons have their names bearing the names of the countries of Sudan (Cush), Egypt and Canaan (Israel).
It should follow that they occupied these lands.
These countries are close to each other and stretch from Africa into the Middle East.
It is common knowledge that African migration moved from the north to the south.
Our ancestry is thus also linked to that of Abraham and Jacob, giving us a divine heritage which also links us directly with Christ. Let’s be proud of who we are.
While we should thank the Christian missionaries for introducing us to Jesus Christ, as a new testament, we should not discard altogether our divine cultural practices.
Even the Bible itself is composed of both the New and the Old Testaments.
The two are linked to one another.
Lets link our Christianity with our culture too.
Jesus himself followed the Jewish culture, that of his ancestors.
Jewish culture was moulded around the God-given laws of Moses.
Christ directed the people to the laws of Moses.
In anger, he castigated those who did not follow the law to the letter, or who deviated from the instruction of God to follow man-made traditions far removed from God.
In Mark 7:8, He shouted at them, “You leave the commandments of God and hold fast to the traditions of men”.
So this thing of discarding divine instruction is a common practice among mankind.
In every culture there seems to arise, all the time, a group of overzealous characters who always want to change the status quo. There are people who will always want to seek fame by moving against the norm.
Such people behave like chameleons, changing colour to suit with every environment.
We must guard against such people bent on destroying our divine culture to substitute it with foreign ungodly ones.
We must safeguard our cultural legacy.
In my last article, I pointed out a few examples of how some of our cultural practices came about as a result of God’s instructions.
Most of our culture here in Zimbabwe is/was moulded around the laws of the covenant, instructions given to humankind by God from the dawn of time.
Let’s not follow teachings that decimate our culture.
Yes, there are some practices which were man-made which go against the principles of the Almighty God.
Yes, some of these practices we must forego.
Let’s turn to our religious archives, the Bible, to select the good from the bad.
There are also some practices which we don’t do in our own culture but which others follow.
Let’s not rush to condemn them before we come to understand the purpose, even if they seem inhuman. One such example is circumcision.
Originally this practice was condemned left, right and centre by our western counterparts.
Only the advent of the scourge of HIV has made the same people reconsider the stance, this time to try to save life.
What an irony!
Circumcision was instituted by the Lord our God as a “signature of the flesh” between Him and mankind.
Genesis 17:10-14, God commanded: “This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your descendents after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.
You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
He that is eight days old among you shall be circumcised; every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house, or bought with your money from any foreign who is not of your offspring, both he that born in your house and he that is bought with your money shall be circumcised.
So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.
Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant”.
Even Jesus Christ was circumcised. He followed the God-given tradition. Circumcision is the signature in the flesh, representing the covenant between God and mankind that He will be our God, and we to be His people.
Genesis 17:7 reads: “I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant; To be God to you and to your descendents after you”.
If we look at another aspect of our culture i.e inheritance, we can also detect some similarities between our practices and what the Lord our God prescribed.
In our culture we recognise the first born as the heir in terms of inheritance.
Our chieftainships and headmanships legally recognise the first born as the rightful heir to any throne.
In the absence of the first born, the other sons can come in. In the absence of sons then the daughters, uncles, etc can come in.
If we dig into the biblical archives, we can find that these were God’s instructions to mankind.
No segregation is allowed based on maternal preferences.
Even children of illegitimate relationships have equal rights with all other legitimate children.
There should be no discrimination.
Our tradition also recognises that aspect, showing we operated under God’s instructions.
In Deuteronomy 21:15-17, God spoke: “If a man has two wives the one loved and the other disliked, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the disliked.
If the first son is hers that is disliked, then on the day he assigns his possessions as an inheritance to his sons, he may not treat the son of the loved one as the first born in preference to the son of the disliked, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the first issue of his strength; the right of the first born is his.”
l Prosper Tingini is the assembly president of the newly established and registered Children of God Missionary Assembly. As an interdenominational body, I invite all who wish to undertake Bible studies with a view to be certified as ministers of religion to contact us on 0771 260 195 or email email@example.com