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    Thursday, 27 February 2020

    Early Catholic catechist dies


    BY MATTHEW TAKAONA

    GUTU – There are people who initiate great things and yet remain in the background. Such are rarely acknowledged for their achievements and even at death things are said as afterthoughts.
    One such man is Amos Cuthbert Mugandani (91).
    He breathed his last at Michael Girlfand Clinic in Harare at exactly 3pm on Tuesday February 18, 2020 and was buried on February 28 at Nukuwiri Village under Chief Nyamandi in Gutu.
    There was a bit of consternation though,  among the hundreds of mourners who turned up to bury him. There was not one Catholic priest to preside over his funeral to the extent that one of his daughters suggested a pastor from her church.
    This was of course vehemently rejected by the mourners.
    Mugandani is a  Christian who achieved a lot for the Roman Catholic Church. He was the godfather of the late Roman Catholic Bishop Xavier Munyongani
    Munyongani was born of ardent Apostolic faith sect parents and his transformation as a young boy to a Catholic and then a priest happened under the care and watch of Mugandani.
    Munyongani stayed at Mugandani’s house during every school holiday  until he finished his priesthood.

    Mugandani was born in the Makumbe area of Gutu and his parents relocated to Chinyika during the time of the land Apportionment Act. He liked the church at a tender age and was baptised in the Catholic Church in the early 50s’ with his godfather being  the late Simon Jeffa Mutero, the founder of Mutero Mission.
    He stayed at Mutero’s home in the Mutero area in Gutu as he trained to become a builder at Mutero Mission.
    On completion of his building course, Mugandani did catechism  lessons and latter became one of the Church’s earliest catechists in Gutu. He travelled around the church centres run by Mutero Mission with the few priests who were there at that time and in particular Father Augustine Vurayayi
    The name Mugandani became synonymous with the Church as he performed midwifery to all the little boys and girls who were being baptized in the 60s’ to the 80s’.
    One of Mugandani’s greatest achievements according to Philip Makamure who represented Chief Nyamandi at the funeral is that he built the 300-seater St Charles Church at Chinyika. For a long time the church has been the biggest landmark at Chinyika Business Centre.
    “Mugandani and a few others were the epicenter of Catholic activities in this part of Gutu. One great achievement however, is that he and Brother Charles are the ones who built the church at Chinyika. Mugandani did all that work for free and it is my view that the church should have been named after him.
    “I still do not understand why the church was not named after him. Mugandani did the bulk of the work here. He was a foot soldier for the church,” said Makamure.
    Ben Mbavariri the chairman of the Chinyika Parish described Mugandani as a pillar of the church. Even at the age of 91 he was still active and an adviser of the St Joseph’s Guild.
    “He bought a pulpit for the Church at Chinyika just before he died  One of Mugandani’s daughters, Bernadette Tachivona described Mugandani as a loving and caring father who sent all his nine children to boarding schools. Although Mugandani was a great farmer, probably the best in the Chinyika area, church business took precedent over everything else.
    “He made money from farming and building contracts but he led a very simple life. The church took precedence over everything else. The only possessions there are in his house is a table and four chairs,” said Tachivona.
    Mugandani was married to the late Placidia Rebecca Chikochi and their children are Martha, Felix, Sarapia, Bernadette, Faustina, Nicholas, Flora, Beatrice, and Fanuel.
    He had 37 grandchildren.
    #MasvingoMirror#
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