About Us


ZEMA ministers to the Zionists of the African Independent Churches in Southern Africa, called “amaZioni” in Zulu meaning, “people of Zion.” A new religious movement, Zionism, is a blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship. The amaZioni people are estimated to have 15–18 million members throughout southern Africa. In Swaziland, forty percent of the Swazi people consider themselves amaZioni. They are prevalent in South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia.

The amaZioni call themselves the “people of Zion” not because of the Biblical concept of Zion but because of their historical tie to a church located in Zion, Illinois, USA. More than a century ago, the church in Zion sent a group of missionaries to southern Africa. These missionaries saw many prominent tribesmen accept Christian beliefs.

However, internal and financial problems in Zion, USA, forced the Western missionaries to withdraw, not returning to Southern Africa for decades. In their wake, the amaZioni had no Biblical resources. Over time, they grew exponentially, planting churches, establishing new churches and leaders. But without formal or informal Biblical training, they moved further into traditional beliefs. Mixing Christian practices with African traditions such as witchcraft and ancestor worship, the Zionists in Southern Africa are syncretistic. Fearing the great “Unkulunkulu” (biggest of the big), and their ancestors, amaZioni worship God, who they do not know.

ZEMA has a special connection to the amaZioni, since knowing their history, we point them back to “the true teachings of Zion,” which is the Word of God! With the Bible as our source of Truth, ZEMA missionaries are amaZioni serving amaZioni in Southern Africa!

ZEMA shares the Bible through many means. ZEBS and ZBC classes train pastors and leaders who have an intimate connection to the culture and preserve and spread Biblical truth. ZEMA missionaries journey life with the African people. AmaZioni encouraging, mentoring and supporting one another, serving local communities: the living Gospel in a hurting world.

Website credit: Photo’s by @tirachard

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Change is stirring in Africa.

As ZEMA’s presence in southern Africa grows, we are privileged to influence the direction of that change. Will you join us?

If you know firsthand the transformative power of God, then you share our belief:

When individual hearts change, lives are changed, and families transformed…

…communities are enriched…

…which impacts entire countries…

…and ultimately revolutionizes a continent.

Yes, there is tremendous hope for Africa.

To accomplish something this grand, would require an army…

In a way, yes. Good thing we have one.

ZEMA works with the amaZioni people of southern Africa a group of impassioned God-followers already 18 million strong. The African Independent Church Movement of the amaZioni is like a fire waiting for the fuel of God’s truth. Through biblical teaching and training in leadership, ZEMA’s mission is to help the amaZioni hone their knowledge of God’s word, take up leadership roles in their churches and communities, and spread their love for God and the truth of the Gospel in all directions.

These passionate and devoted millions stand positioned to influence their communities and cultures on an unprecedented scale. ZEMA missionaries believe we stand at the edge of a new era, one in which God’s truth – the truth that leads to everlasting freedom and joy, for now and for eternity – is about to take Africa by storm.

Here we are, at the edge of something amazing. Will you join us? Together we’ll see what God is going to do.

Our background:

The Zionists of the African Independent Churches in Southern Africa took their name – amaZioni, the people of Zion – not from the biblical Zion, but from the town of Zion, Illinois, USA, which sent literature and missionaries to South Africa at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Though many of the Zionists have become syncretistic, combining what they know about Christianity with traditional African religious beliefs, they have an insatiable desire to study and follow the Bible.

Because ZEMA has a formal connection with the “mother church” in Zion, our missionaries are blessed with great relationships with the amaZioni. Many of the millions of Zionists are looking to ZEMA to provide the biblical training they so greatly desire.

In response, ZEMA offers rigorous biblical training classes, mentorship among congregations, and abundant opportunities for fellowship, learning, and growth. The heart of our mission – to know God and make him known – is reflected in everything we do. We hope you’ll take a minute to look around and see what we’re up to.