Regalia is an important part of religious identity. Members of churches are often recognised by their uniforms. Wearing a uniform does not only serve the purpose of easy identification; it is also supposed to promote the church via the behaviour of those who don it.

But the often colourful regalia adorned by offshoots of the Johane Masowe Apostolic Church is particularly intriguing.

The original Johane Masowe Church fractured, giving birth to offshoots like the Johane Masowe yeChishanu, Johane Masowe yeNguwo Tsvuku and Johane Masowe yeNyenyedzi, among others.

The offshoots wear different regalia as a way of differentiating themselves from the other offshoots.

And because they often worship not far from each other, the shrines bear their colours and flags – some of them which look like bizarre mutations of St George’s Cross and the Union Jack.

Madzibaba Clifford Mutema of Johane Masowe yeNguwo Tsvuku Highfield branch explains the importance and significance of the colours.

“The regalia are special revelations from God.

“The different colours serve particular purposes,” Madzibaba Mutema explains.

“From the original Masowe, white represents Heaven and this is the original colour which was presented to Johane, our first prophet and founder of our original church.

“White symbolises purity, represents God’s perpetual mercy, love and peace.”

He says members of the Johane Masowe yeNguwo Tsvuku adopted red to symbolise fire.

“Green and yellow regalia are periodic and subject to God’s response when deploying his people for particular assignments.

“Red symbolises fire. Even those who wear white regalia are at times required to wear red regalia,” says Madzibaba Mutema.

He adds: “When fighting evil, the prophets will be working under the instruction of the Angel of Vengeance, with red regalia being the apparel used in the fight.”

A member of the Johane Masowe yeChishanu Sect that meets in Harare’s Budiriro 2 suburb, explains why they predominantly wear green.

He says green represents good health and nutrition, whilst yellow stands for prosperity and God’s blessings.

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