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“Every man must have two wives”, Bishop Joshua Maponga

Chikangare Gova



Bishop Joshua Maponga

The Dual Marriages: Exploring Bishop Joshua Maponga’s Vision of Land and Woman as Wives

Bishop Joshua Maponga’s assertion that “Every man must have two wives,” referring to land as the first wife and a woman of flesh as the second, offers a profound metaphor that invites a deeper exploration into the multifaceted nature of land. In this context, land is not merely a physical asset but a complex entity encompassing political, economic, spiritual, health, and productive dimensions. By examining these aspects, we can appreciate the significance of land and its impact on our lives, both historically and contemporarily.

Land has always been central to political power and sovereignty. Control over land signifies authority and influence, as evidenced by historical events like colonialism, where imperial powers seized territories to expand their dominions and exploit resources. In Africa, the legacy of colonial land policies continues to shape political landscapes. For instance, Zimbabwe’s land reform program aimed to redress historical injustices by redistributing land from white farmers to black Zimbabweans, highlighting the deep political significance of land ownership and its role in national identity. This process underscores how land is not just about physical territory but also about rectifying historical wrongs and reclaiming sovereignty.

Economically, land is a vital asset that underpins wealth and development. It serves as a source of raw materials, agricultural produce, and real estate. Ownership of land translates to economic power, providing opportunities for investment, production, and trade. Bishop Maponga’s statement, “He who owns your land owns your blessings,” encapsulates the economic importance of land ownership. Those who control land dictate its use, reap its benefits, and accumulate wealth, while those without land remain dependent on the produce controlled by others, relegating them to mere consumers. This dynamic highlights the critical role of land in economic independence and prosperity.

The spiritual significance of land is profound. In many cultures, land is considered sacred, a gift from the divine that must be honoured and protected. The biblical narrative of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden emphasizes this spiritual connection. God instructed Adam to “till and keep” the garden, reflecting the responsibility of stewardship and the sacred duty to care for the land. This spiritual bond between humanity and land is echoed in many religious and cultural traditions, highlighting the land’s sanctity and centrality in human existence. The concept of land as a living entity that requires respect and care reinforces its role in our spiritual and moral lives.

Productivity and health are crucial aspects of land that justify its comparison to a spouse. Just as a marital relationship requires nurturing and care, land must be cultivated and managed to yield benefits. Proper land management and sustainable agricultural practices are essential for maintaining soil health and ensuring long-term productivity. The biblical instruction to Adam to care for the Garden of Eden underscores the symbiotic relationship between humans and land, where diligent care results in sustenance and prosperity. Healthy land is not only more productive but also essential for the well-being of communities, providing clean air, water, and food.

Land serves as a living library and historical archive, preserving the memories and legacies of our ancestors. It is a burial site, a repository of our cultural heritage, and a record of human history. The biblical verse from Job 1:21, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised,” underscores the cyclical nature of life and our intrinsic connection to the land. From the land, we have come, and to the land, we shall return, emphasizing the land’s role as our mother and a symbol of our origins and destiny. This connection to the land as a source of life and memory is a vital part of our identity and heritage.

The significance of land extends beyond economic and political realms, intertwining with spiritual and historical narratives. The biblical wars in Israel, both ancient and modern, are deeply rooted in land disputes. Territorial control, access to resources, and national identity have fueled ongoing conflicts in the region. Similarly, in Africa, land issues have sparked numerous conflicts, with communities and nations vying for control over fertile and resource-rich territories. In Zimbabwe, the contentious land reform process has been a focal point of political and social tensions, reflecting the broader struggles over land ownership and distribution. The enduring conflicts over land highlight its fundamental importance to identity, security, and prosperity.

Today, land remains a topical issue, particularly in Africa. The continent’s history of colonization, coupled with rapid population growth and urbanization, has intensified competition for land. Issues such as land tenure, access to arable land, and sustainable land management are central to discussions on development and social justice. In Zimbabwe, the land question continues to dominate political discourse and policy, reflecting the enduring importance of land as a symbol of empowerment and sovereignty. The struggle for land rights and fair distribution remains a crucial challenge for many African nations, impacting development and social cohesion.

Bishop Maponga also emphasizes the need to practice the spirituality of land. This involves reconnecting with nature, understanding the medicinal value of herbs, the sacredness of rivers, mountains, and the overall environment. He asks, “How do we practice spirituality of land when we do not have access to our mountains, herbs, rivers and everything else?” This question highlights the importance of access to natural resources for spiritual practices and well-being. Land, as a diverse phenomenon, serves as a library, a historical archive, and a burial site for our ancestors. By respecting and preserving these elements, we honour our heritage and maintain a spiritual connection to the earth.

Bishop Maponga’s metaphorical assertion invites us to recognize the profound significance of land in our lives. Viewing land as a “wife” emphasizes the deep, multifaceted relationship between humans and the earth. From politics and economics to spirituality, health, and productivity, land is a foundational element of human existence, shaping our identities, livelihoods, and histories. Understanding and addressing the complexities of land issues is essential for fostering sustainable development, social justice, and lasting peace. By embracing the dual marriages of land and woman, we honuor the intricate connections that sustain and enrich our lives.

A village boy, a prolific storyteller who believes there is learning, unlearning and relearning in storytelling as well as shared lived experiences. A friend of justice and ROL

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