Top Religious Monuments in Zimbabwe
St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral Bulawayo
The St Marys Cathedral is located in the city centre of Bulawayo. It is now officially given the name The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception after it was elevated to Minor Basilica status in 2013. “A basilica is a church building that has been accorded special privileges by the Pope. Minor basilicas are usually accorded this status ‘because of their antiquity, dignity, historical value, architectural and artistic worth, and/or significance as centres of worship’ ’’ Ref; 1989 Vatican document Domus ecclesiae. The stately building was established in 1903 and it is the seat of the Archbishop of Bulawayo.
Njelele Shrine Matopos Bulawayo
The Njelele Shrine in Matopos is one of the top Rainmaking shrines in Zimbabwe. A place which is deemed sacred by adherents to the African Traditional Religion, Njelele has been used for many years. Many spirit mediums convene here to commune with ancestral spirits and conduct rain-making ceremonies to ‘ask for the rains’. It is also called Mabweadziva or Matonjeni. It is located in the southernmost parts of the Matobo National Park.
Mutemwa Prayer Mountain & Leprosy Centre
The Mutemwa Catholic Leprosy & Care Centre is a Zimbabwean charitable organisation, situated in Mutoko, 140km from Harare. It dates back to the 1930s. It provides institutional care to those who suffer from Leprosy and other medical conditions. The Centre was built close to a mountain which is now commonly used a Prayer mountain. The Centre and the mountain behind it are popular religious monuments particularly to Catholics who make a pilgrimage to say prayers and to walk where John Bradburne walked. John Bradburne was an English missionary who came to Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) in 1969 and settled there until he was murdered in 1979. For years he took care of the lepers at the colony. The details surrounding the life and death of Bradburne have been recorded and many mysterious happenings around his death, in particular, have caused many to believe he was a holy man who died a martyr’s death. In 2019 his name was submitted to the Vatican as a candidate for canonisation. (To be declared a Saint by the Catholic Church, a very high honour)
Chapel of St Francis of Assisi – Masvingo
The Chapel of St Francis of Assisi in Masvingo was built by Italian Prisoners of war between 1942 and 1946. It was built in commemoration of their fallen comrades and some of the soldiers are buried in the area. The small Chapel is often referred to as the Italian Chapel. When you visit you will be drawn to the exquisite murals that adorn the walls and the ceiling. The chapel is no longer used regularly for worship but it is a place of interest that is open to visitors and once in awhile special services (Mass) are conducted there.