Botswana was formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland until it gained independence from Great Britain on 30 September 1966. A Mennonite presence began soon after, with the arrival of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) workers in 1968. Initially emphasis was placed on secondary education and teacher training. The MCC program expanded into agriculture and the training of skilled laborers, e.g., mechanics and bricklayers. Later it moved into the area of community development. As MCC workers became more involved in the community they became increasingly aware of African-Initiated Churches (also known as African Independent Churches). Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM) began work with these churches in 1975. In 1981 the administration of MCC and AIMM programs was united under Mennonite Ministries in Botswana.
In the following years, Mennonite Ministries had personnel working in the areas of Bible teaching among African-Initiated Churches, community development, education, youth ministry, friendship evangelism, teaching and issues related to families, and health, particularly in AIDS education and counseling. Beginning in 1975, six Mennonite denominations had sent workers to Botswana.
By the 1990s there were many Zimbabwean professionals who had left Zimbabwe to work in Botswana. Some were lonely for church fellowship. Even if there were other churches around, there were those who still longed for their own church, the Brethren in Christ (BIC). Around 1994/95 they began to push for a BIC church there.
The first baptism was held in Botswana during the weekend of 5-7 November 1999 when Cornelius Mathobela gave evangelistic messages during the baptism weekend and challenged the baptismal candidates to seek to know God’s truth, not the truth of the pastor or BIC doctrine.
The Botswana BIC church mainly ministered to Zimbabweans who were based there. But this began to change in the 2000s. The members in the Botswana church recruited a new pastor, Isaac Ntungwana, who was a national of Botswana, and a graduate of the University of Botswana.
Between 2006 and 2020 the following Anabaptist group was active in Botswana:
|Brethren in Christ Church, Botswana||3||61||6||177||7||273|
Checoli, Alemu, et al. Anabaptist songs in African hearts. Global Mennonite history series. Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2006: 184-185.
Mennonite Mission Network. Botswana. Web. 29 March 2021. https://www.mennonitemission.net/Impact/locations/africa/Botswana.
Mennonite World Conference. "Global Map: Botswana." Mennonite World Conference. Web. 29 March 2021. https://mwc-cmm.org/global-map.
Mennonite World Conference. "Mennonite and Brethren in Christ Churches Worldwide, 2006: Africa." Web. 2 March 2011. [broken link]
Mennonite World Conference. "Mennonite and Brethren in Christ Churches Worldwide, 2009: Africa." Web. 2 March 2011. [broken link]
Mennonite World Conference. "World Directory=Directorio mundial=Répertoire mondial 2012." Web. 26 November 2013. [broken link]
|Author(s)||Ronald D. Sawatzky|
|Richard D. Thiessen|
|Date Published||May 2020|
Cite This Article
Sawatzky, Ronald D. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Botswana." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2020. Web. 15 Apr 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Botswana&oldid=170952.
Sawatzky, Ronald D. and Richard D. Thiessen. (May 2020). Botswana. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 15 April 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Botswana&oldid=170952.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 93. All rights reserved.
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