The Doma people in Zimbabwe
The Doma people are the least reached people in Zimbabwe. With a population of 18,000 in Zimbabwe, less than 100 Doma people claim to be Christian. They’re in our backyard, what are we doing about it?
For hundreds of years, the Doma people hunted and gathered fruits in the Mwanzamutanda hills. The hills where they once lived are now a game reserve for wealthy hunters. As a result, the semi-nomadic Doma were forced to settle in the village of Kanyemba beside the Chikunda people. Without skills or experience in living a “settled” life, they have been reduced to the position of servants. In exchange for their sweat, they get a day’s worth of food, but by the next day, they are back in the fields to earn a single day’s wage.
Poverty has condemned the Doma to live a secluded life where they find acceptance in their identity of being outcasts. Their situation is worsened by the fact that some Doma have a condition only found in their tribe: two-toed feet! This is why they’re often referred to as “the two-toed tribe” or “the ostrich feet people.” All this is a perfect formula for an outcast tribe. Doma children do not go to school, nor does the community believe in going to the clinic.
WHAT DO THEY BELIEVE?
The Doma practice African Traditional Religion. The Doma look to the spirits of the dead as intermediaries who intercede for them. They conduct appeasement ceremonies when they encounter “un-natural” situations, such as disease, lack of rain, or misfortune. The Doma have a great deal of knowledge on herbs for healing. Many Zimbabweans believed until recently that it was not possible to encounter a Doma because the Doma used spells to “disappear”. The disappearing antics were thought to be by the use of juju witchcraft.
OM ZIMBABWE’S APPROACH TO REACHING THE DOMA
The Zimbabwean Church seems to be awakening to the need to reach the Doma. Co-ordinated efforts and a long-term strategy are needed to help the Doma with sustainable projects that will lift them above poverty. We continue to mobilise for prayer and awareness.
- Pray for hearts to soften as the Doma listen to the Audio Bibles.
- Pray for coordinated efforts between churches who are reaching out to the Doma in a variety of ways.
- Pray that God will raise permanent workers to live among the Doma and share the Gospel with them.