A Reconstruction of Matthew Jacha Rusike's Contribution to the Re-humanisation of Dehumanised Children in Zimbabwe 1950-1978
KeywordsMatthew Rusike Children's Home
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AbstractThe Mathew Rusike Children's Home (MRCH) in Zimbabwe is known for its philanthropic work of caring for orphans and vulnerable children. It is an institution viewed as a Christ-woven nest that re-humanises dehumanised children. This paper was motivated by the fact that, over the years, the MRCH has attracted partners and supporters locally and globally, thereby giving it international status. However, there is a gap in research that connects the founder, Rev. Matthew Jacha Rusike, and the institution. The gap is worrisome, because Rusike has been a pioneer in the history of Methodism in a number of ways. To start with, he was the first African Wesleyan Methodist minister to be appointed as circuit superintendent in a missionary-dominated church. Second, he was awarded the "Member of the Order of the British Empire" for his contribution to the formation of the first African children's home in a country whose cultural values denied the existence of orphanages. Third, he also supervised many schools; and yet there is little research about him. The other motivation for this study was to reconcile the historical Rusike and the institution. The paper concluded that Rusike had challenged the African epistemology that orphans and vulnerable children are the responsibility of relatives-even if those homes are not safe for children. The paper starts by discussing the personal life of Rusike, followed by a description of his ministerial journey; how he founded the children's home, and how the home developed from a family vision to be the church's Christian social responsibility.