"That they may be saved and served" : a biography of Medardo Joseph cardinal Mazombwe, 1931-2013.

Thumbnail Image
Mbiri, Monica
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The University of Zambia
The use of biographies as a method of analysis and understanding historical change in Zambia had been on an increase in the recent past. However, while other scholars in Africa brought to light the importance of the clergy in providing spiritual, social, political and economic aspects of various countires through biographical studies, this had not been the case in Zambia. The scholars who employed a biographical approach focused on the political and chiefly actors downplaying in the process the significant role played by the religious leaders in the development of Zambia. The objective of the study was to highlight the important role played by religious leaders in economic, political and social aspects of post-colonial Zambia. This study therefore sought to make shift from a focus on political and chiefly biographies by earlier scholars in the history of Zambia by studying the life and career of Medardo Joseph Cardinal Mazombwe to illustrate the importance of the clergy in the post-colonial Zambia. Specifically, the study sought to contribute to understanding the role of the clergy in the development of Zambia by demonstrating that Mazombwe’s early life which revolved around the rural setting of Eastern Province of Zambia was greatly influenced by the Catholic doctrine. The study also showed how Mazombwe’s involvement in various social sectors positively helped many Zambian citizens in the post-colonial Zambia especially in health and ecucation sectors. The study further sought to analyse Mazombwe’s contribution to political and economic aspects and his elevation to the position of a Cardinal to become the first indigenous Zambian in the history of the Catholic Church in Zambia to attain that high rank. The study established that Mazombwe was not only a man of prayer as a clergy but was an educationist and promoter of religious vocations. He initiated several projects aimed at promoting not only religious vocations but education in general benefiting not oly the Catholic faithful but Zambians at large. He equally championed the provision of health care services, care for the vulnerable and marginalised not to Catholics alone but across all religions in Zambia. The study also demonstrated that Mazombwe was pro-poor, with a heart for the poor and that saw him start a number of projects aimed at alleviating poverty. He also came up with projects in agriculture to encourage selfsustainability for the holistic development of a person. The study further showed that Mazombwe was a voice for the voiceless who spoke on national and global issues that affected the ordinary citizens. He was an ardent campaigner of Zambia’s external debt cancellation to empower ordinary citizens economically and alleviate their poverty. Based on the above discussion, the study demonstrated that the clergy played a vital role in the history of Zambia’s post-colonial social, economical and political development of the nation and the Association of Member Episcopal Conference of Eastern Africa (AMECEA) region.
Biography--Joseph Cardinal Mazombwe