Mutambara Mission

Mutambara Mission


The Mutambara Mission was established in 1905 by the Methodist Episcopal Church at the invitation of Chief Mutambara from whence the mission was named. The mission is located on a 3,700 acre farm 50 miles south of Mutare (Umtali), which the church acquired in 1907 using a government land credit obtained from swapping land connected with the original Old Umtali mission land grant.

The first missionaries, Reverend and Mrs. Abraham L. Buchwalter, arrived at Mutambara in April 1908. They quickly erected a tent “and the work of the mission began without delay.”  Five weeks later “a dwelling of poles and mud with roof of grass and floors of beaten earth was completed and occupied.” The Buchwalters left in 1910 due to sickness and were replaced by a series of missionaries including T.A. O’Farrell, Rev. G. A. Roberts, Rev. (later Bishop) John M. Springer, nurse Ona M Parmenter of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society (began medical work in 1920), and Rev. M. J. Murphree.

In 1913 a substantial brick dwelling was erected and in 1914 a large brick church was built as well as dormitory buildings for boys. Mutambara currently consists of a church, Primary school (grades 1-7) and 120-bed hospital.



  • Missions in Rhodesia Under the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1898 – 1934, Old Umtali – James Henry
  • A History of Christian Missions In Zimbabwe, 1890-1939 – Chengetal Zvobgo
  • Mark Loomis