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In die Skriflig

versión On-line ISSN 2305-0853
versión impresa ISSN 1018-6441

In Skriflig (Online) vol.45 no.1 Cape Town jun. 2011




Pastoral challenges and responses to fear of avenging spirits (ngozi) in Africa: A biblical evaluation and response - a case of the Shona people


Pastorale uitdagings en reaksies ten opsigte van vrees vir bonatuurlike verskynsels (ngozi) in Afrika: Bybelse evaluering en reaksie - in besonder onder die Shonabevolking



V. Magezi; T. Myambo

Practical Theology, Potchefstroom Campus. North-West University. Potchefstroom. E-mail:




Avenging spirits, commonly known as "ngozi", are one of the most feared and mysterious spiritual manifestations among African people - particularly the Shona people of Zimbabwe. To address the fears of Christians in such contexts, a contextually relevant pastoral ministry should first of all be designed. Such a ministerial design should proceed from a thorough understanding of the contextual reality of the spiritual world (of "ngozi"). Secondly, it should formulate a biblical response to the phenomenon in order to be informed by a sound biblical premise. Thirdly, its design should utilise the natural potential of community church people. Cognisant of these realities and challenges in African churches, this article grapples with the subject of the fear of avenging spirits in congregations, using the case study of the Shona people of Zimbabwe, and how a pastoral ministry could be designed to address the situation. In doing so, the article discusses the phenomenon of avenging spirits, it provides a systematic biblical response and evaluation of "ngozi" and it proposes a contextually relevant and biblically-informed pastoral ministry to people under consideration.


Bonatuurlike verskynsels, algemeen bekend as "ngozi" is van die mees gevreesde en raaiselagtigste verskynsels onder die inwoners van Afrika, in besonder onder die Shonasprekende gemeenskap in Zimbabwe. Eerstens word 'n relevante, kontekstuele, pastorale bediening voorgestel om die vrese van gelowiges in hierdie tipe omstandighede te hanteer. Sodanige bedieningsontwerp behoort voort te spruit uit 'n goeie begrip van die kontekstuele realiteit van die spirituele wêreld (van "ngozi"). Tweedens moet 'n bybelsgefundeerde antwoord vir hierdie verskynsel gegee word. Derdens moet die plaaslike gemeenskap bemagtig word. Met inagneming van die uitdagings in Afrikagemeentes, word in hierdie artikel geworstel met die gelowiges se vrese vir bose geeste. Die Shonasprekende gemeenskap in Zimbabwe word as voorbeeld gebruik van hoe 'n geskikte pastorale model toegepas kan word. Die artikel handel oor die bose geesteverskynsel, verskaf 'n sistematiese, bybelse evaluering van "ngozi" en stel 'n kontekstueel-relevante en bybelsgefundeerde, pastorale model vir die Shonagemeenskap in Zimbabwe voor.



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