This article presents the author’s original research of a reception study of religious films amongst Shona peoples in the Gora and Chikara villages, which are located in the Mashonaland West Province of Zimbabwe. The two central questions of the author’s study are: First, in what ways might pre-existing Shona images of Jesus shape Shona responses to and interpretations of Jesus as he is portrayed in The Jesus Film (1979) and in indigenous, short, Jesus films in Zimbabwe today? Secondly, how might the viewing of these films affect these images of Jesus? This article addresses how indigenous, short Jesus films in Zimbabwe have manifested different representations of Jesus from the pervasive European image of Jesus that is perpetuated by The Jesus Film. This research is particularly relevant to current trends in media and technology, as the indigenous, short Jesus films are being distributed via mobile phones in Zimbabwe.
The Jesus Film Project, ‘35th Anniversary Jesus Film Blu-Ray Disc’, Campus Crusade for Christ, (2014), para. 1, <http://www.jesusfilmstore.com/35th-Anniversary-JESUS-Film-Blu-Ray-Disc/productinfo/ZBRD-35TH-BLU-RAY> [accessed 13 November 2014].
Lynn Schofield Clark, From Angels to Aliens: Teenagers, the Media, and the Supernatural (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003); Stewart M. Hoover, Religion in the Media Age (London: Routledge, 2006); Clive Marsh, Cinema and Sentiment: Film’s Challenge to Theology (Milton Keynes: Paternoster Press, 2004).
Karin Barber, ‘Preliminary Notes on Audiences in Africa’, Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, 67:3 (1997), 347–62 at 347; Birgit Meyer, ‘“Praise the Lord”: Popular Cinema and Pentecostalite Style in Ghana’s New Public Sphere’, American Ethnologist, 31:1 (2004), 92–110 at 92.
Bright, Come Help Change the World, p. 143; Campus Crusade for Christ, ‘The Jesus Film Project’, Campus Crusade for Christ, <http://www.ccci.org/ministries-and-locations/ministries/the-jesus-film-project/index.htm> [accessed 20 May 2011].
Hannes Wiher, ‘Der Jesus-Film: Sein Gebrauch bei der animistischen und islamischen Bevölkerung Westafrikas unter Berücksichtigung von Erfahrungen in der Waldregion Guineas’, Evangelikale Missiologie, 13:3 (1997), 66–74 at 70.