Original Research - Special Collection: African Women and Pandemics and Religion

COVID-19 crisis in relation to religion, health and poverty in Zimbabwe: A case study of the Harare urban communities

Joseph Muyangata, Sibiziwe Shumba
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 3 | a8085 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i3.8085 | © 2023 Joseph Muyangata, Sibiziwe Shumba | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 September 2022 | Published: 15 May 2023

About the author(s)

Joseph Muyangata, Jami Etiquette and Grooming Consultancy, MIAJ Consultancy International, Harare, Zimbabwe; and, Department of Religious Studies and Theology, Faculty of Missions and Theology, Apostolic Faith Mission Theological Seminary, Harare, Zimbabwe
Sibiziwe Shumba, Department of Languages and Humanities, Faculty of Teacher Education, Joshua Mqabuko Polytechnic College, Gwanda, Zimbabwe; and, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


The COVID-19 pandemic which started in China in 2019, was originally described as a public health emergency of intercontinental concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) in January 2020. Due to its speedy rate of spread, the WHO then declared it a pandemic after 6 weeks. The global spread of COVID-19 has been attributed to the high mobility between and within countries. Having noted the wide spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost every country affected, developed strict and restrictive public health measures to control the spread of the virus. Such measures included restrictions on country borders and social gatherings. Hence, the main purpose of the paper was to explore the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in relation to religion, health and poverty in Harare urban communities as well as determining solutions to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors. The research methodology was qualitative in nature. Primary data were collected through in-depth telephone interviews and online open-ended questionnaires. Purposive sampling was used to select the study participants. The findings showed that the COVID-19 pandemic triggered and exposed the inequalities in health. The pandemic also had a strong impact on religious activities and it exacerbated poverty levels as well. Those who had all the access to medication, food and vaccinations during the height of COVID-19 may not fully appreciate the impact that poverty coupled with pandemics left on their communities both religiously and socially. Malnutrition, hunger and sickness were the order of the day among the poor.

Contribution: The conclusion was that COVID-19 negatively impacted on the health, religious and social sectors. Therefore, it is critical to maintain preventive and curative services, especially for the most vulnerable populations such as children, older persons, and people with disabilities.


COVID-19 crisis; health; poverty; relationship; Zimbabwean communities; religion.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 5: Gender equality


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