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Church leaders: shared Lutheran values across diverse contexts – The Lutheran World Federation

RoNEL 2022 reflections on Lutheran identity, inclusiveness and serving the neighbor

(LWI) – How do leaders of different member churches of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) experience being church in minority contexts, diversity and inclusiveness, their role in the public space, ecumenism and serving the neighbor? These were some of the questions for reflection among a group of 16 heads of churches who took part in the Retreat of Newly Elected Leaders (RoNEL), 4-12 September, at the LWF Communion Office in Geneva and in Wittenberg, Germany.

The LWF offers the annual retreat as a space where its member church Bishops and Presidents, heads of dioceses and synods, come together to contemplate their vocation, reflect on the concept and practice of church leadership and deliberate on the meaning of being leaders in the Lutheran communion. [Link to previous story]

Priesthood of all believers

The theme for this year’s RoNEL was “Leadership and Episcopal Ministry in the LWF Communion.” Rev. Dr Nestor Paulo Friedrich, LWF Vice-President for the Latin America and Caribbean region, invited participants to reflect on what constitutes a good leader, leadership and management, and exercising power and authority.

The role of a bishop, the church leaders concurred, is to be “a shepherd of the flock who as the chief pastor not only leads but moderates issues among pastors and congregation members” while maintaining “a healthy doctrine within the church or dioceses especially by visiting congregations.” A person in leadership, they observed, leads people toward “God’s vision” and represents the church in “advocating and being a prophetic voice for justice in society.” In addition to the primary role of preaching and teaching, they noted, a leader is expected to “set a vision or strategy of where we want to go as a church” and take responsibility for conflict resolution in the church itself and wider community.

Friedrich, former President of the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil (IECLB), encouraged the RoNEL participants to focus on the “general priesthood of all believers,” which presupposes that the baptized are empowered and challenged to put their gifts to service. “Leadership is a collaborative activity that involves the participation of people, groups and sectors of work,” without concentrating decisions and tasks on one person. “Delegate, distribute, and trust tasks [to others] : it is part of healthy leadership. This is the kind of leadership we need to develop in church and institutions,” he emphasized.

Leadership is a collaborative activity that involves the participation of people, groups and sectors of work

Rev. Dr Nestor Paulo Friedrich, LWF Vice-President, Latin America and the Caribbean

The IECLB leader likened this shared leadership to the image of the body, in which each member is important and has a function. Similarly, “the people who lead have a special role of conducting the processes. But they are part of the body like the other members, and so they are equal to all members.” While community leaders assume a special responsibility in administrative and spiritual matters, “it is only in this sense that they differ from the other members,” he added.

Lutheran identity in diverse contexts

Participants shared their experiences of Lutheran identity, what constitutes a minority church, and opportunities and challenges in the respective contexts. In the United States, there is a general movement from being a Christian nation to a more secular context, and many churches are figuring out what this means for them, said Bishop Regina Hassanally, Southeastern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). “There is a pervasive understanding that salvation comes through following the rules. For me it is about thinking how the Lutheran faith offers a unique gift that no other church offers in my context,” she added.

For Pastor President Rev. Julio Caballero, Christian Lutheran Church of Honduras (ICLH), greater responsibility and commitment is expected of a fairly small church whose “members live in very simple households,” and “not all have the purchasing power to live a dignified life.” About 90 percent of the church’s members are women, he said.

While the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in the Slovak Republic, with its beginnings in the 16th century Reformation fit the description of a minority Lutheran church in the former communist era, this is no longer the case, said Bishop Ivan Elko. The church has made a mark in the country due to its long-standing contribution to the education, cultural and political fields.

An inclusive church

Unity in diversity was one of the concepts that the RoNEL group discussed. Although everyone is expected to be in, there are many people who are left out or don’t feel welcome in the church, they observed. They cited the common failure to make the church a conducive environment for people living with disabilities, sexual minorities, migrants, other Christians, and those who profess other faiths. A church that is eager to accept something new should be ready to sacrifice its own comfort or lose something, they noted.

“Where do we start from with the gospel message when the image of God is a man with a white beard?” remarked Pastor President Rev. Wilma Elisabeth Rommel, United Evangelical Lutheran Church, Argentina. However, she added, “an inclusive church can be a church that makes people feel uneasy because it is accommodating all of us.”

Presiding Bishop Kenneth Sibanda, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, noted that most churches are very conservative. “God created men and women, everyone must come to the church—all, saint and sinner. “It (the church) is supposed to accommodate all people, and in any case, we don’t put up a sign to say ‘you are not welcome.’”

A prophetic voice and service to the neighbor

Participants also shared challenges and opportunities on the prophetic voice of the church in an ecumenical context and in society in general. In a predominantly Muslim context, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia (ELCM) engages in open dialogue with other Christian denominations on issues of mutual concern in society and ecumenism in general, said ELCM Bishop Steven Lawrence.

Church of the Lutheran Brethren of Cameroon President Rev. Alvius Debsia Dabah, said the social political environment in his country is relatively conducive for the church’s participation in the public space. “We have more opportunities to work with people in need, and in evangelism campaigns.” The church’s work in promoting peace is also recognized, he noted, citing a visit with Muslim leaders to communities in the northern part of the country where there was conflict.

In Honduras, like other countries in the region including El Salvador, Nicaragua and Venezuela, the Lutheran churches are relatively small, ICLH Bishop Caballero said. “It is not easy to speak for those who don’t have a voice when violence is the order of the day, and it is especially difficult for a church that is poor. But we continue to take up this call.”

 LWF/ C. Kästner-Meyer

Bishop Guan Hoe Lu, Lutheran Church in Singapore. Photo: LWF/ C. Kästner-Meyer

Also present at this year’s RoNEL were church leaders from Brazil, Kenya, Indonesia, Serbia, Singapore and Russia.

The second part of the RoNEL program, 9-12 September, at the LWF Center in Wittenberg, included a presentation by Prof. Dr Cheryl M. Peterson (Trinity Lutheran Seminary, USA) on Lutheran systematic perspectives on the episcopal ministry. The church leaders also visited the city’s Luthergarten, a living, international, and ecumenical monument of 500 trees commemorating the 2017 Reformation Anniversary, and historical sites of Martin Luther’s city.

By LWF/P. Mumia

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RoNEL 2022

Photos: 2022 Retreat of Newly Elected Leaders

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AFRIMMA 2022 nominees unveiled as Gen Z Stars dominate – Vanguard

By Benjamin Njoku

The big list is out, the much-anticipated Nominees List of the prestigious African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) has been released by the organizers. After a two-year period of virtual shows due to the impact of the pandemic, AFRIMMA Awards is set to return with an in-person ceremony on the 19th of November at the Gilley’s Event Center in Dallas, Texas.

Tagged “This is Africa”, the award show seeks to consolidate on the growth of the previous award ceremonies and the massive growth of African music culture. It has been a great year of good music on the African music scene and many African artists did the continent proud.

The nominee’s list was put together by the AFRIMMA technical team after painstaking research and due diligence. Gen Z stars hug the headlines of this year’s nomination list with Gen Z stars like Asake, Ayra Star, Jay Melody, Marioo, Rema, Black Sheriff, Ruger, Buju and more holding their own against heavyweights like Burna Boy, Diamond Platnumz, Focalistic and the rest.

Stars like Ammarae, Mahkhadzi, Gambo and DJ Snake all earned their first AFRIMMA nominations on a list that is practically tight in every category. Celebrating African music and African music artists has been the fuel behind AFRIMMA Awards, and the body has consistently uplifted African music on the world stage since inception. It is set to be another chapter in history as African stars hoist their country’s flags in different categories of nominations.

Anderson Obiagwu, the founder AFRIMMA states that “African music is the new oil, everybody wants a bit of it, AFRIMMA is committed to promoting African music on the biggest stage and celebrating and rewarding excellence.

                       AFRIMMA NOMINEES 2022

Best Male West Africa

Oxlade – Nigeria

Kidi – Ghana

Buju – Nigeria

Black Sheriff– Ghana

Fireboy– Nigeria

Didi B – Ivory Coast

Ruger – Nigeria

Samba Peuzzi – Senegal

Omah Lay – Nigeria

Best Female West Africa

Ammarae– Ghana

Tems – Nigeria

Josey – Ivory Coast

Zeynab – Benin

Ayra Star – Nigeria

Gyakie – Ghana

Tiwa Savage– Nigeria

Roselyne Layo– Ivory Coast

Best Male East Africa

John Frog – South Sudan

Khaligraph Jones – Kenya

Eddy Kenzo – Uganda

Diamond Platnumz – Tanzania

Rayvanny – Tanzania

Otile Brown – Kenya

Meddy – Rwanda

Sat B – Burundi

Best Female East Africa

Femi One – Kenya

Zuchu – Tanzania

Sheebah Karungi – Uganda

Jovial – Kenya

Maua Sama – Tanzania

Sanaipei Tande – Kenya

Nandy – Tanzania

Winnie Nwagi – Uganda

Best Male Central Africa

KoC- Cameroon

Innos’ B – Congo

TayC – Cameroon

Fally Ipupa – Congo

Calema – Sao Tome

Mic Monsta- Cameroon

Tenor -Cameroon

Nelson Freitas – Cape Verde

Best Female Central Africa

Rinyu– Cameroon

Shan’L -Gabon

Mayra Andrade – Cape Verde

Liloca- Mozambique

Blanche Bailly – Cameroon

Soraia Ramos- Cape Verde

Edmazia – Angola

Emma’a – Gabon

Asaba – Cameroon

Best Male Southern Africa

Mark Exodus –Mozambique

Focalistic- South Africa

Slap Dee – Zambia

Dlala Thuzkin -South Africa

Zakes Bantwini- South Africa

Edgar Muzah – Zimbabwe

Master KG – South Africa

Macky2 – Zambia

Best Female Southern Africa

DBN Gogo– South Africa

Ammara Brown – Zimbabwe

Mpho Sebina – Botswana

Msaki- South Africa

Gemma Griffiths – Zimbabwe

Makhadzi – South Africa

Towela – Zambia

Shekinah – South Africa

Best Male North Africa

Ali Loka – Egypt

Baiti – Tunisia

SoolKing – Algeria

Marwan Moussa – Egypt

El Grande Toto – Morocco

Dj Snake – Algeria

Wegz – Egypt

Snor – Morocco

Best Female North Africa

Rym – Morocco

Emel – Tunisia

Faouzia – Morocco

Souhila Ben Lachab – Algeria

Ruby – Egypt

Latifa – Tunisia

Kenza Morsli – Algeria

Jaylann – Morocco

Crossing Boundaries with Music Award

Burna Boy–Nigeria

Aya Nakamura -Mali/France

Ckay- Nigeria

Dadju – Congo DR


Tay C – Cameroon

French Montana- Morocco

Dj Black Coffee – South Africa

Best Newcomer

Camidoh- Ghana

Asake – Nigeria

Young Stunna– South Africa

Ssaru – Kenya

Santorini Raphael – Togo

Jay Melody – Tanzania

Goya Menor – Nigeria

Nenny – Cape Verde

Baby Diaz – Congo DR

Artist of The Year

Asake – (Nigeria)

Fally Ipupa- Congo

Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania)

Burnaboy- Nigeria

Kidi– Ghana

Rema – Nigeria

Zakes Bantwini – South Africa

Tay C – Cameroon

Davido – Nigeria

Best Gospel

Mercy Chinwo – Nigeria

Joe Mettle – Ghana

Christina Shusho – Tanzania

Miguel Buila – Angola

Oheema Mercy – Ghana

KS Bloom – Ivory Coast

Joel Lwaga – Tanzania

Pulani Maphari – South Africa

Best Live Act

Barnaba -Tanzania

Flavour – Nigeria

Sauti Sol – Kenya

Yemi Alade – Nigeria

Burna Boy – Nigeria

Fally Ipupa– Congo DR

Diamond Platnumz – Tanzania

Patoranking – Nigeria


Nadia Nakai – South Africa

Femi One – Kenya

Ms Banks – Nigeria

Nata – Sierra Leone

Feli Nuna – Ghana

Fena Gitu – Kenya

Candy Bleakz – Nigeria

Rosa Ree – Tanzania

Best Male Rap Act

Phyno – Nigeria

Yung Lunya – Tanzania

Didi B – Ivory Coast

Ladipoe – Nigeria

Black Sheriff – Ghana

A-Reece – South Africa

Blaqbonez – Nigeria

Blxckie – South Africa

Best Collaboration

Pheelz x Buju – Finesse

Diamond Platnumz x Focalistic – Iyo

Musa Keys x Loui – Selema

Marioo x Jovial – Mi Amor

Costa Titch ft C’buda M, Alfa kat, Banaba Des, Sidda & Man T – Big Flexa

Fireboy x Ed Sheeran – Peru (remix)

Roga Roga & Extra Musica – Bokoko

Camidoh ft Darkoo, Mayorkun – Sugarcane Remix

Asake ft Burnaboy – Sungba Remix

Song of The Year

Pheelz x Buju – Finesse

Kizz Daniel x Tekno – Buga

Lojay – Monalisa

Davido ft Focalistic – Champion Sound

Roga Roga & Extra Musica – Bokoko

Costa Titch ft C’buda M, Alfa kat, Banaba Des, Sidda & Man T – Big Flexa

TayC – Dodo

Black Sheriff – Kweku The Traveller

Maluma ft Rayvanny – Mama Tetema

Best Video Director

Anurin Nwunembom -Cameroon

Enos Olik – Kenya

TG Omori – Nigeria

Rex- Ghana

Sasha Vybz – Uganda

Hanscana – Tanzania

Patrick Elis – Nigeria

Dammy Twitch- Nigeria

Best Dj Africa

DJ Spinall – Nigeria

Black Coffee – South Africa

DJ Sly King – Ghana

Waffles – South Africa

DJ Tunez– Nigeria

DJ Djeff – Angola

DJ Romy Jones – Tanzania

Dj Big N – Nigeria

Best African Dj USA

DJ Prince – Nigeria

DJ Shinski – Kenya

Dj Soofire – Ghana

DJ Poison Ivy – Kenya

DJ Buka- Nigeria

DJ Birame BB l’amour – Ivory Coast

Dj Yas Meen Selectress – Egypt

DJ Freshy K– Nigeria

AFRIMMA Video of The Year

Flavor – Levels

Rogo Rogo & Extra Musica – Bokoko

Dj Snake – Disco Maghreb

Diamond Platnumz ft Mbosso – Oka

Chike – Nwoke Oma

Bosom Pyung – Nyinya

Makhadzi ft Prince Benza – Ghanama

Kizz Daniel x Tekno – Buga

Music Producer of The Year

PhillBill – Cameroon

Tempoe– Nigeria

207 – Uganda

S2kizzy – Tanzania

Magicstick– Nigeria

MOGBeats – Ghana

DjMaphoriza – South Africa

Pheelz – Nigeria

Best African Dancer

Poco Lee – Nigeria

Uncle Azeez – Nigeria

Ghetto Kids – (Uganda)

Angel Ngiyu– Tanzania

Hope Ramafalo – South Africa

Wet Bad Gang– Angola

Dancegod Lloyd – Ghana

Sayrahchips – Nigeria

Manuel Kanza – Angola

Best Lusophone

Calema – Sao Tome

Nelson Freitas – Cape Verde

Edgar Domingos – Angola

Djodje – Cape Verde

Mr Bow – Mozambique

Soraia Ramos – Cape Verde

Jerislon Israel – Angola

Mayra Andrade – Cape Verde

Best Francophone

Fally Ipupa – Congo

Kedjevara- Ivory Coast

Serge Beynaud – Ivory Coast

Josey – Ivory Coast

Wally B. Seck- Senegal

TayC– Cameroon

Innos B – Congo

Tenor – Cameroon

Best Reggea/Dancehall

Spice – Jamaica

Mr Killa – Jamaica

Patoranking – Nigeria

SteffLondon – Jamaica

Shatta Wale – Ghana

Popcaan – Jamaica

Shenseea – Jamaica

Alkaline – Jamaica

AFRIMMA Album of The Year

Basketmouth – Horoscopes

Focalistic – President Ya Strata

Burnaboy – Love Damini

Kidi – Golden Boy

Dadju -Cullinan

Diamond Platnumz – First of All

Dadi B – History

KOA II – Kabza De Small


Ebuka – Nigeria

Konnie Toure – Ivory Coast

Dj Slim – Ghana

Do2tun – Nigeria

Afonso Quintas – Angola

James Onen – Uganda

Jamal Ghadafi – Kenya

Serwa Amihere – Ghana


Sholo Wamba – Tanzania

Kcee – Nigeria

Mrisho Mpoto – Tanzania

Manamba Kante – Guinea

Oumou Sangare – Mali

Betty G – Ethiopia

Thokozani Langa – South Africa

Nii Tettey Tetteh – Ghana

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Simeli: Village girl who conquered businessworld – The Herald

The Herald

Freedom Mupanedemo Correspondent

For 53-year-old Dr Smelly Dube, the geography that flung Mberengwa in south west Zimbabwe to almost anonymity and even came with the extra condemnation of nature, during her childhood did not deter her from conquering the world to greater heights.

Mberengwa is where the vagaries of nature, chiefly drought, unbearable heat and attendant maladies such as malaria present a continuing menace that the people have contend with every day and this is worse for the girl child. 

Yet, even if one becomes hardened to the elements, not so many would resist the hunger that gnaws the belly and the difficulties that a girl child faces, growing up.  

It is from here that Simeli Dube, misspelt Smelly by registrar of births in Rhodesia, rose to become a world class businesswoman, now rubbing shoulders with the who is who of world business. 

From growing up in the weather-beaten Mberengwa, herding cattle and donkeys as well as doing domestic chores such as fetching water from shallow riverbed wells with her age mates, Smelly, now Dr Smelly Dube, finds herself trudging the length and breadth of the world’s biggest cities.

“How I rose to become who I am today is something that I cannot really explain to the best of my understanding but its only God and shear hard work. You know if you work hard, God always rewards you and am happy that I have been so blessed to become who I am today, It’s only God’s grace to sum up everything.”

A woman of courage, Dr Dube who now runs a chain of companies based in the Midlands under the umbrella name, River Valley Group has been in the UK for the past two weeks at the Invitation of a UK based African Achievers Organisation.

The organisation which rewards influential women and men from across Africa nominated Dube to be part of their associates’ and extended invitation where she was also presented with an award.

She also attended the funeral of Queen Elizabeth 11.

Dube said she, through her companies has been engaged into philanthropic works, helping the elderly, widows and child headed families with monthly food hampers, a feat she says has earned her several local and international awards.

“I have been blessed and in turn I have also been active in my society helping the needy and by doing this I have also been recognised and won several local regional and international awards,” she said.

She said she was also in the UK to receive another global award.

Dube said she was also very happy to be part of the historic event, witnessing first-hand the procession leading to the burial of the Queen.

She said it was an emotional event especially on the burial day when she joined thousands of people and tourists from across the world as they pay their last respects to the Queen.

“It was really an experience, an emotional one.

Dr Smelly Dube lays flowers for Queen Elizabeth

I also had the chance to mix and mingle with high ranking officials in the UK,” she said.

She said she also had the privileged to pay a courtesy call to the Mayor of Hackney where she appended her signature in the Queen’ condolence book.

“It was indeed an exciting experience but also am very happy that i managed to raise the Zimbabwe flag high in the UK,” she said.

Dube said she will continue to work hard with working with the less privileged in the society adding that she cherishes the charity works by Kenyan evangelist Reverend Lucy Natasha.

“She is a devotee and she inspires me every now and then i watch her motivational sermons and the charity works she does in helping the needy in society,” she said.

Dube said she will be in the UK for close to a month while carrying the Second Republic’s message of a new Zimbabwe with a wide range of investment opportunities.

“ I am preaching our President’s gospel that Zimbabwe was now open for business and for the time I will be here,” I will also be unpacking investment opportunities that are back home under the new dispensation,” she said.

But who is Dr Smelly Dube?

Back in a village in Mberengwa, Dube attended Masase Primary and then Masase High School. She later moved to Harare where she got married to her long-time sweetheart, and former airman, Engineer Mncedisi Dube.

The couple moved to Chegutu, and later to Gweru where Dr Dube then entered into private property development.

 The property development business grew in lips and bounds and she now runs a number of projects in Bulawayo, Zvishavane and Shurugwi. Dube has also expanded into motor industry and earth moving equipment. She has two kids a boy and a girl. And, the good thing is that Dr Smelly Dube remains humble and as soft as wool. Cool as a cucumber, Dr Dube takes care of many disadvantaged people.

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Zapu, CCC, Zanu PF in joint call for peace – Newsday

ZANU PF, opposition parties Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and Zapu top officials met in Bulawayo on Thursday where they pledged to foster peace in the run-up to next year’s elections. 

They made the call during the International Day of Peace commemorations held at the Brethren in Christ Church in Lobengula West.

The event was organised by the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance in partnership with the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).

Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial chairperson Jabulani Sibanda said political differences were not a licence to engage in acts of political violence.

“We should not have people beating other people for belonging to other parties. We create problems for ourselves by doing. God created us differently to beautify the world so that we don’t envy one another,” Sibanda said in his address.

CCC ward 26 representative Siphiwe Ncube said the youth should refuse to be used by senior politicians to engage in political violence.

“We should not fight. We should learn to live together peacefully. Let’s campaign in peace. Youth don’t allow yourselves to be used by politicians to go around beating up people,” Ncube said.

Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) representative Andrew Ndlovu said violence was not part of Zapu’s culture.

“We advocate for freedom of all, equal opportunities in accessing natural resources. Having divergent views does not mean people should beat each other,” Ndlovu said.

“When we joined the liberation struggle, we wanted to liberate the nation. Let’s not be abused and mistreated and be forced into victimising other people. Let’s respect the legacy, no one should be left behind in freedom for all and in the enjoyment of human rights.”

NPRC chairperson Justice Selo Nare said every Zimbabwean had a role to play in peace-building initiatives.

“I urge you all to engage in peace as you exercise your electoral right. We can build peaceful societies shunning discrimination and violence,” Nare said.

 Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe

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