Towards a history of the Bahai faith in Zambia
Mwanza, Beard H.
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This particular study investigated the history of the Bahá’í Faith in Zambia. The study focused on the four areas of the Bahá’í Faith, namely; the background of the faith in Zambia, the techniques used in this faith to convert people to this religion, to find out why the Bahá’í Faith are interested in girl-education and to find out the nature of spiritual, moral and economic contribution of the Bahá’í faith to the wellbeing of Zambians. The purpose of the study was to find out more information about the Bahá’í Faith in Zambia. The Bahá’í Faith are involved in providing education and they are also carrying out social economic activities aimed at empowering Zambians economically. It was due to these activities that the researcher got interested to find out more about this religion. Data for this study was collected by sampling three (3) Bahá’í Communities in Zambia. These are the Lusaka Bahá’í Community, Kabwe Bahá’í community and Liteta South Baháí community. Data was collected through interviews and document analysis. The researcher used interview guides to interview leaders, members and school authorities running the Banani International Secondary School for girls, which is a Bahá’í school. The major findings were that the Bahá’í Faith was a religion that originated in the ancient land of Persia in the 19th century. It was founded by Bahá’u’lláh, a son of a Persian Noble man born to wealth and luxury (Effendi, 1976). According to Effendi, Bahá’u’lláh was born on 12th November, 1817 in Persia and died in 1892. He spent most of his life in prison in exile. During the year 1853, while he was suffering this affliction, the Holy Spirit descended on him and revealed to him his mission as Bahá’u’lláh, the promised one of all religions and nations. From the day when Bahá’u’lláh received his revelation, he committed his whole life and time to spreading the word of God. Since then, his religion is reported to have continued to grow throughout the world. The Bahá’í Faith spread to Zambia in 1952. It was spread through national, regional and local conferences. Apart from that, study classes, correspondence courses and other means such as regular visits by International Bahá’í Community Members helped the growth of this faith. The Bahá’í Faith are interested in girl-child education, mainly due to the writings of Bahá’u’lláh, which emphasises that women must be equal to men in the acquisition of knowledge and moral values for successful development to take place in the world. In Zambia, they are running Banani International Secondary School. Arising from these findings, the researcher would like to make the following recommendations: (i) The R.E. syllabus in Zambia should be revised so that it is multi-faith to capture other religions such as the Bahá’í faith. (ii) Scholars of Religion in Zambia should take interest in studying minority religions because some of them are contributing a lot to the spiritual, moral and economic development of Zambia.
- Education