Unmasking African Spirituality by Bishop Maponga Joshua III

We can define African spirituality as an oral tradition that looks at nature to derive its song for worship. The sun, the water, the trees, and the animals, all have a relationship with the human kind and are channels through which the African celebrates his spirituality. In this article we will focus on only one body, namely the moon and how it speaks to African spirituality.

In Zulu and other similar dialects, the following words have the same root but have different meanings:

  • Ilanga: Day
  • Inyanga: The moon
  • Nyanga: Month
  • Nyanga: Heal and cause to heal

To the African this is life and yet to the white man it is called witchcraft and paganism. When we as Africans watch the moon, they say we worship it because they don’t understand African spirituality.

The moon gives the African a view into the window of time which is calibrated in the moon, the stars and the sun.  These are the hour hand, the minute hand and the second hand on the African watch.


Sitting there on that picture is an African who is at the observation station. Here he watches the moon and its colours and its movement; to the left and to the right to see the change of seasons.

This is an African space station and the conscious know that the history, seasons, temperature, the rainfall movement of winds and all-weather patterns are locked in the moon.

All women’s menstrual cycles and periods (the switch is one moon). The African fisherman knows by looking at the moon, the oceans currents and the type fish he can easily catch. The desert and sea travellers also know when to travel using the moon as a campus and guide.

The entire forests heartbeat is in the moon, the wolves announce the beginning of the mating season by looking into the moon.  Knowledge is the ability to sit down and observe this body in the sky and observe it as a source of African spirituality. The African worships in seasons and in moons because observation is the mother of all learning. True worship takes place here, as the human mind locks into the mind of the Creator and the cosmologies of the one above the sky and the one within the human soul tango.

Believers then would look into the moon and start to speak to the universe and the Creator, this knowledge punctuated prayers. The priests of ages past would speak to the creator and negotiate the destiny of earth.  With all our education we have become fools when answers look at us and we can’t even see the seasons.  Going forward we must look back in the room of our ignorance, light must shine and the children see their Creator. God has never left us, it is all of us, His children, who have eyes but cannot see, always learning never understanding, always reading never coming to understanding. Every home must build an observatory on the east of the homestead and teach the children to read the writing in the sky.

Farmers of Thought: Maponga Joshua iii Marara AChigaramboko


Maponga J

Bishop Maponga Joshua III is a graduate of Andrews University (Berrien Springs Michigan USA); he holds a Degree in Philosophy (BA Theology) and Personal Ministries, with a variety of Outcome based qualifications from international institutes such as ILO (International Labor Organization). He has spent years in the corporate, religious and social space- a time that has made him own the title a ‘creative powerhouse’. There are those who think inside the box, there are those who think outside the box and then those who break the box and think-he is one of those who break the box and think. He lives and breathes change; his dynamic thinking has surely broken social religious, economic, national boundaries. He is the CEO of the institute Farmers of Thought,  a pragmatic African citizen with a global view “Think globally and act locally” as he says it. He plays dozen of musical instruments, he the author of several books “Shopping Skills”  and “So You Want to Be the Master” just to name a few, a life coach and social entrepreneur.

He challenges all who live mundane lives to move beyond cocoons of human limitations to excellence.

Way before the African people encountered the bible, they had a good understanding of what David meant when he said “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” – Psalm 19:1‭-‬2 NIV

Embracing creation and interacting with its elements has always been part of the African people.

We want to extend our warmest gratitude to Bishop Maponga for his enlightening views on African Spiritiality.

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