Southern Baptist Convention: Sanyati Baptist Mission

Southern Baptist Convention

Sanyati Baptist Mission

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) began work in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in 1950 with the appointment of Clyde and Hattie Dotson.  The Dotsons had been in Zimbabwe since 1930 with the South Africa General Mission station at Rusitu.  A year after joining the SBC, they opened the Sanyati Baptist Mission station (Sanyati Reserve) in rural North Central Zimbabwe, now located inside the Sanyati Tribal Trust Lands.

Drs. Giles and Wana Ann Fort arrived in 1953 and opened Sanyati Baptist Hospital to meet the acute medical needs in this remote area.  The first hospital was a simple thatched roof pole building.  By 1956 the first wing of the hospital was built and other wings added later.  The hospital now serves an average of 3,000 inpatients and 40,000 outpatients per year.  With the support of the SBC, The hospital recently underwent a major “makeover.”  Along with the with hospital, the mission built a boarding school that now serves over 700 students, many from the capital city of Harare.

June 1978 witnessed the tragic loss of missionary Archie Dunaway, who was stabbed to death by a band of guerrillas who entered the Sanyati Baptist Mission Station.  Dunaway was the maintenance supervisor at the hospital and an area evangelist.  Archie and his wife, Margaret, had transferred to Rhodesia from Nigeria in 1971.  At the request of the Rhodesian government, the Sanyati Mission was kept open, but missionary involvement was minimized.  Some missionaries were relocated to urban areas, others were sent to neighboring countries and some returned home.  The SBC transferred much of the rural missionary work to Africans and the Rhodesia Baptist Convention.

Other SBC missionaries at Sanyati include Dr. Maurice and Shirley Randall, Bud Frey (principal 1958-59); Mary Louise Clark, missionary nurse; Dr. John W. and Mary Monroe and Trudy Nelson.


  • Giles and Wana Ann Fort


  • Mark Loomis