Kebwa Mapopola, Zakaria
Zakaria Kebwa was born at Bwiro in Ukerewe Islands in the Mwanza Region. He accepted Christ in 1950 and was baptized in 1951 by the late Rev. Jeremiah Mulindajulya Kisula, who was the first bishop of Africa Inland Church of Tanzania.
In 1949, he married Esther Kabanda and God blessed them with 14 children, some of whom are Magdalena, Rhoda, Deborah, Naomi, Ruth, Gideon and Benjamini. His wife Esther, accepted Christ and was baptized in 1953. Following his confession and recommendable testimony, the administration chose him to be an evangelist and a primary school teacher at Butiriti in Ukerewe from 1952 to 1957. Then he went to Katunguru Bible School for a three year course in Bible studies.
After graduating from Katunguru with a certificate, the church leaders sent him to Bukondo Ukerewe. He worked there until 1969, when he went back to Katunguru for a pastors’ course. On November 15, 1969 he was ordained a pastor of Ngudu pastorate in the Kwimba District. There he planted the churches called Lyoma, Ng’wadubi, Sakanti, Walla, Itongo, Busule and Kilyaboya. In 1990 he was moved to Kisangwa, Bunda, one of the oldest AIM mission stations. There he worked as a pastor for five years and then was transferred to the Bukondo pastorate in 1994 to prepare for retirement. Bukondo was the place where he had been brought up, the place he married Esther and where he had accepted Christ. Kebwa retired from his pastoral responsibilities on September 5, 1999.
Presently, pastor Kebwa and his wife Esther are working faithfully, preaching, counseling, visiting, and encouraging church ministers of every race in Africa Inland Church Tanzania (AICT).
As God had called Kebwa when he was still young, today he challenges church leaders to take care of youth in the church, because God wants young people to live worthwhile lives. Kebwa will be remembered for his good standing in the faith, which is unshaken. He always stands by his decisions even though it might mean remaining alone. He has stated that retired pastor Jeremiah Malekela and his wife were key people in making his life successful.
Bishop Peter Kitula, interview by the author, February 2003, in Musoma.
Zakaria Kebwa, interview by the author, March 9, 2003, in Nansio, Ukerewe.
This article, submitted in 2003, was written by Rev. Joseph N. Gisayi, 2003-2004 Project Luke fellow, a minister in the AICT for the past twenty-four years, as well as a member of the Africa Inland Executive Council and chairperson of the AICT Mission and Evangelism Department. This article was reviewed and approved by AICT bishop Peter Kitula, David N. M. Nghosha, historian of the Africa Inland Church Tanzania and by Stephen Kapongo, coordinator of AICT Department of Mission and Evangelism.