Kisare, Susana Nyaeri (1915-1983)

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Susana Nyaeri Kisare, a sister in the Tanzanian Mennonite Church (Kanisa la Mennonite Tanzania) and wife of Bishop Zedekia Kisare. Her commitment to Christ advanced the cause of the church as did the love and gifts she extended to husband, immediate and extended family, and church fellowship.

Born in the Luo village of Rwang'enyi, Nyaeri (Susana was her later adopted Christian name) met her future husband when he came to her village to operate a cream separating business. The business failed, though the relationship flourished. Nyaeri at their first acquaintance, found Zedekia to be gentle and soft-spoken, though, being a careful and thoughtful person, she did not entertain thoughts of marriage until she had had friends inquire whether he acted the same way in his home village of Shirati. They were married in 1933.

Susana Kisare managed the meager family income, astonishing her husband and other missionaries in her ability not only to make the money reach, but to save enough to pay for such purchases as a kerosene lantern and the major part of the air ticket for their son's travel to school overseas.

During three years at the Bukiroba Bible School, Zedekia, in reading the Bible carefully, began to see that in Christ he and Susana were equal before God. "During the first years of our marriage I insisted on having the last word in our home. . . . I struggled to make her an obedient wife. Then I saw from my study of the New Testament that a husband and wife are to work together. All our quarreling ceased."

Susana was a take-charge kind of person, graced by insight and gentleness. From her "office" in the kitchen she skillfully taught girls how to cook. All was well in her "office" if the water barrel was full, if she had a sack of ground grain, and if her wood-box was full. One missionary observed that everybody felt they had a special relationship with her; somehow she made all feel special. She saw herself as a mother to all peoples represented in the church—Luo, Bantu, Canadian, and American. She treated everyone with respect and common sense, noticing people's strengths and refusing to have any part in gossip.

She and her husband had four sons and ten daughters; three of the four sons died in infancy.

The funeral of Sister Susana on 8 August 1983 was a moving testimony to her wide influence and the love with which she was regarded by all. Her death was reported on Radio Tanzania. The Mennonite community, and government representatives, including the Regional Commissioner as personal representative of President Nyerere, were among the some 2,000 people who came for the extended days of remembering Susana's life. Susana Kisare was buried outside the Shirati church, that symbol on earth of God's new village, to which her adult life had given witness.

Author(s) John M Bender
Date Published 1990

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, John M. "Kisare, Susana Nyaeri (1915-1983)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1990. Web. 2 Jul 2022.,_Susana_Nyaeri_(1915-1983)&oldid=88689.

APA style

Bender, John M. (1990). Kisare, Susana Nyaeri (1915-1983). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 July 2022, from,_Susana_Nyaeri_(1915-1983)&oldid=88689.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, pp. 493-494. All rights reserved.

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