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Chirindzane, Rabeca
1907 to 1989
Church of the Nazarene
Mozambique

Rabeca Chirindzane was the daughter of Pastor Johani Chirindzane and Mrs. Maria Uqueio Chirindzane who were pastoring at Macatecani, Manjacaze. The church there had been started under the Compounds Mission.

Rabeka married Mr. Zefania Chissanu who was preparing for the ministry at the Njatigue Nazarene Mission. They had been married for three years and had no children when he died in 1928. On his deathbed Chissanu had called both families together and declared that she should be free to return to her father's home and not be bound to be married to his brother.

However in 1929 the non-Christian brother of her late husband arrived and declared that he would take her as his second wife according to custom. She refused but the magistrate upheld the traditional custom and there was no way out for her. The original lovola was far too much for her or her father to repay to free her.

She ran away and hid in the forest for several days. Her brother David was a student in the Bible School at Njatigue Mission, and a missionary, Miss Mary Cooper, hearing the story, gave him the twenty-five pounds necessary to redeem her. On the way home he was surprised to meet his sister. She told him that the Lord had shown her that she should return home but not to be taken by that man. With the money the matter was soon settled and she was free.

Rabeka went to thank Mary Cooper and wanted to be her servant without any remuneration. She was of course paid for her work. Her work was so thorough and neat that she was chosen to be the first to go to nurses' training at Chicuque Inhambane Methodist Hospital. There she took training from 1933 to 1937. She then became the first African Nazarene trained nurse in Gaza and served the Lord and her people faithfully at the Tavane Nazarene Hospital until her retirement in 1972.

Mrs. Rabeka Chirindzane saved her money and in 1950 brought the full amount that had been paid for her freedom back to Mary Cooper in repayment. It was decided to use it to redeem other girls who found themselves in similar trouble.

In 1987 Rabeka Chirindzane was aged and weak and unable to see too well. She lived with relatives in Maputo and was no longer able to attend church services.[1]

Paul S. Dayhoff


[1] Betty Emslie, With Both Hands: The Story of Mary Cooper of Gazaland, (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1970), 73-76; Oscar & Marjorie Stockwell, The Tribe of God: A Collection of Stories from African Christians, (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1989), 21-22; Vicente Mbanze, letter (13 April 1995); Grandmother Rabeca Chirindzani, "Fruits of the Church of the Nazarene in Gazaland," Mutwalisi (The Herald), Shangaan/Tsonga magazine of the Church of the Nazarene in Mozambique and South Africa, vol. 32, no. 1, (Florida, Transvaal, South Africa: Nazarene Publishing House, July 1987): 5.


This article is reproduced, with permission, from Living Stones In Africa: Pioneers of the Church of the Nazarene, revised edition, copyright © 1999, by Paul S. Dayhoff. All rights reserved.