Ezekiel Guti: The sun finally sets a hundred years later

Ezekiel Guti: The sun finally sets a hundred years later

On the 5th of July 2023, news of the peaceful passing on of prominent Zimbabwean cleric and leader of an international Christian denomination – Forward In Faith Ministries, Archbishop Dr Ezekiel Guti, was announced on the church’s television channel and within seconds the sad news was all over the place like a veld inferno. Media houses, believers, family, and friends stampeded on social media to break the news to an unexpectant world.

His death comes exactly two months after celebrating his 100th birthday at a humongous event held in Harare which was attended by the country’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Similar fetes were held simultaneously around the country and in other parts of the world where the ministry is found. Events in honour of the life and service of the centenarian cleric were still going on at the time of his death, with one of them being a big golf tournament that was to be held on Saturday the 8th at Wingate Golf Course in Harare.

Born Ezekiel Handinawangu Guti in a small, rustic village in the district of Chipinge on May 5, 1923, his childhood in the then colony of Rhodesia was one marred by poverty and limited access to education, the typical fate of most of the indigenous citizens in that era.

In all those hardships, a young Guti found refuge, comfort, and hope in religion. He found himself fervently studying the scriptures, nurturing his faith in Christianity, and dedicating his life to serving under a growing Pentecostal church. With spiritual growth came spiritual gifts, and it didn’t take long for congregants to notice that the young man was destined for greater calling. This, however, didn’t sit well with the church leadership who feared the gifted Guti might end up taking control of the church and, subsequently, he was pushed out.

On an ordinary day in 1960, in the gold rich town of Bindura in the north of the then capital city of Salisbury, a young lay preacher stood before a small Bible study group congregated under a lone gumtree on the fringes of a dusty township, ministering the word of God. The young man was none other than Ezekiel Guti, and the small congregation was later to grow into what became known as the Zimbabwe Assemblies Of God Africa (ZAOGA).

So rapid was the growth of the church that it spilled into nearby countries like Zambia and Mozambique, before spreading upwards the continent to countries like Ghana. To date, the ministry is present in many parts of the world including Asia and Eastern Europe.

His first marriage to Carol Guti bore 7 children. After the death of Carol, Guti spent 15 years of bachelorhood, dedicating all his time to serving. By his own admission, Guti was “prepared to die single” and it took the counsel of church elders to make the popular preacher agree to the idea of a second marriage. But even so, the marriage didn’t happen overnight. It took waiting and spiritual guidance until the “right” bride was revealed in the person of Prophetess Eunor Guti, who was to be with him until his death. Their matrimony bore a son, Ezekiel Jr, who, unfortunately perished in a drowning incident in 2017.

Bishop Guti’s legacy spans beyond the gospel. The giant ministry has indelible footprints in the sectors of education and health, notably. The Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University in Bindura town, a higher learning institution offering degree programs that range from Theology to Law, and the Mbuya Dorcas Hospital in Harare, a high-end facility, are some of the investments the church has made in the said sectors.

Having understood the importance of education in emancipating oneself, Guti acquired for himself several degrees ranging from BAs to doctorates. Tapping into his vast, deep well of wisdom and spiritual insight, Guti wrote over a hundred books and conducted hundreds of live teachings to bumper congregations around the world.

Archbishop Ezekiel Guti was one of the few serving patriarchs of religion in Zimbabwe and his name was held in great esteem and respect. His journey, starting from a small, insignificant village in remote Zimbabwe to become a globally recognised figure on the global pulpit makes for an inspiring tale and will forever be remembered.

His timely passing, as enunciated in the scriptures, is all but a fulfilment of what was meant to be: “He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows it’s time for setting”. (Psalm 104:19)

img-20160818-wa0003-1024x709 Ezekiel Guti: The sun finally sets a hundred years later

Indeed, the sun has finally set, after a hundred years of luminance.

Elias Muonde

Elias M Muonde is a writer, poet, scriptwriter, and journalist based in Harare. His writing has been published in a handful of anthologies as well as in The Standard Newspaper, The NewsHawks, various international journals, blogs, and online platforms. A film enthusiast, Muonde has worked on several film projects in different capacities: from production management to assistant directing. He also wrote over a hundred episodes of radio drama aired on Radio Zimbabwe.

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