Gujarati in Zimbabwe

Gujarati
Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Gujarati
Country: Zimbabwe
10/40 Window: No
Population: 30,000
World Population: 3,367,100
Primary Language: Gujarati
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 8.00 %
Evangelicals: 5.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

One could use the word "tragic" to describe the current situation in the southern African, land locked nation of Zimbabwe. The former name of Zimbabwe was Rhodesia. Blessed with diamonds, gold and platinum deposits, little of any of the income from these valuable commodities end up helping the majority of the people of Zimbabwe. After three decades of mismanagement and corruption dictator Robert Mugabe was finally deposed in 2017. In 2000 Mugabe expropriated the land holdings of 4000 white farmers. This led to an exodus of the educated upper and middle class European citizens. Unfortunately, there has been only small glimmers of improvement since Mugabe left. The homeland of the Gujarati people is west India. During the time of the British Empire many Gujaratis left India and migrated to different nations including Zimbabwe. During Mugabe’s rule, many Gujaratis departed the chaos and financial upheavals in Zimbabwe to live in more stable countries. Under 1000 Gujaratis still live in Zimbabwe.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Gujaratis are known as the best businesspeople and industrialists in India. They use their economic acumen to build trading companies, industrial plants, mining operations, and tourist resorts in Zimbabwe. After the British left and the white minority lost power, politicians nationalized large companies owned by Gujaratis and destroyed the businesses. A small group of Gujaratis remains in Zimbabwe who own shops, restaurants and retail stores. Rampant inflation has wiped out the life savings of many Gujaratis which led to them losing their small businesses and homes. Tourism was once a big part of the nation’s economy. The civil war and chaos have reduced the tourist trade by three fourths. Zimbabwe has many scenic natural wonders and parks. Poaching and deforestation have cut the large animal population by over 60%. There is hope that the lives of the Gujaratis in Zimbabwe will improve. Gujarati parents strongly encourage their children to marry within their people, culture and religion. Young people study their language of Gujarati and the Hindu faith at Saturday schools. Parents want their children to obtain college and professional degrees. Gujaratis women hold a higher place in their families than in most African and Asian societies.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The large majority of the Gujaratis in Zimbabwe practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Gujaratis visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hope of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians do with their heavenly Father. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Gujarati people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama’s birthday. The Gujaratis often celebrate Christian holidays. A tiny fraction of the Gujaratis claims to be followers of Jesus Christ.

What Are Their Needs?

The Gujaratis who have stayed in Zimbabwe need a stable, lawful society to have the opportunity to use their business skills. No private, legitimate business can thrive in turmoil and violence. The Gujaratis need to understand that material success will not get them the peace of mind and happiness they seek. Jesus is not just another Hindu god or guru. He is the unique Son of the one, true God.

Prayer Points

Pray for peace and stability in Zimbabwe. Pray that the wealth of the nation would benefit the entire population. Pray that believers in Zimbabwe would share the good news with Gujarati Hindus. Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Gujaratis of Zimbabwe in this decade. Pray that leaders and heads families in the Gujaratis community would become followers of Jesus.

Text Source:   Joshua Project