Conceptualizing the Biblical View of Curse (Gen. 9:25-27) as a Metaphor for Natural Resource Curse in Zimbabwe: An Indigenous Knowledge Systems Perspective

  • Temba Rugwiji University of Venda
Keywords: Israel, Africa, Zimbabwe, curse, natural resource curse, chituko, indigenous knowledge systems.


The African continent in general, and Zimbabwe in particular, continue to endure the acrimony of “natural resource curse” in spite of an abundance of natural resources. Africa consumes what it does not produce, and produces what it does not consume. The following three contestations constitute the milieu underpinning the present study: (1) the biblical text presents the entire human race as cursed through Adam (Gen. 3:17), (2) that Africans are cursed because they are portrayed as the descendants of Ham’s son, Canaan, who was cursed by his grandparent, Noah (Gen. 9:25-27), and (3) biblical commentators continue to argue for the presence of an African in the biblical context; and Cush, Ham’s eldest son, is perceived as “dark-skinned”. In view of the above views, this study argues that a literal reading and interpretation of the Bible presents humans (especially Africans) as cursed. This discourse, therefore, interrogates the biblical concept of curse as a metaphor for curse in Zimbabwe. This argument is raised at the backdrop of Zimbabwe’s wealth in natural resources such as land, gold, copper, platinum, nickel, iron, emeralds, and diamonds, among others. In addition, “chituko”/“ngozi” (avenging spirit) among the Shona people of Zimbabwe is also considered as a curse for uncompensated offences.

Author Biography

Temba Rugwiji, University of Venda
Postdoctoral fellow, Department of African Studies


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