When you first meet HRH Marara Joshua Maponga III, you realise that he is an unassuming individual, who is concerned about the state of his nation.
A social entrepreneur from South Africa who has worked with organizations such as Entrepreneurial Development Southern Africa, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and Global Management Centre (UK).
Joshua was a Pastor for 33 years, and was conferred the title of Bishop from the Pentecostal and Evangelical community, but more recently you may have heard of him as the inspirational public speaker, through both his personal YouTube videos, as well as his many interviews and speeches, and his numerous books.
The Phoenix caught up with Joshua to find out a bit more about the man behind the name and burning passion.
“My target is the rural African children like myself, who grew up barefooted, driving a herd of 120 cattle, finally seeing the lights of the city in the distance,” explained Joshua, in his naturally calm and collected voice.
The firstborn of his family, and the oldest of 5 siblings, he spoke emotionally of his childhood. “My first time getting into town at about 10 years old, I couldn’t close my eyes as the excitement was too great.
“I grew up, went to school and completed the European education, as we were still under the British Empire. We learned the ‘civil etiquette’ and our imagery was changed greatly from the old stories that my grandmother used to tell me around the fireplace.”
Joshua studied Dickens, Shakespeare and more, which “created this alternative world out there for me that was doing well in terms of progress compared to here.”
By middle high school he was introduced to Miss Becky Huckinson, who taught him English. “She was a beautiful American woman,” Joshua remembered fondly, “and although I could read and write English, speaking it was another matter entirely, she took me through the diction of English.”
“This lead to me developing a keen interest in the arts, languages, craft and music.”
Joshua received another world view and way of life after enrolling as a theologian in an American college in Zimbabwe Andrews University, “I had wanted to do engineering or medicine, but my father steered me down a different path.”
Joshua’s father was a pastor and minister who had been released from prison and death row in the 1979 Amnesty and until that point, he didn’t know if he would ever see his father again.
His father moved to a religious environment following his release, staying away from politics, and warning his son that he needed to as well. This lead Joshua to continue his studies in theology and philosophy, and went on to work in the church for the last 33 years.
Joshua’s ideas and ideals prompted his move to South Africa and Swaziland, and then flew into London at the end of 1998.
Maponga lived in Birmingham, Norfolk and then South Essex with his ex wife, until one morning he woke up and realised he was a mobile wardrobe, living with so many layers on to stay warm, he couldn’t do it anymore.
“My ex wife loved living in London, but I was unable to take it any longer, so moved back to South Africa and started a new job in Marketing, Consulting and Construction. Unfortunately my mind was no longer together, my marriage broke down, and my wife wasn’t prepared to come back to South Africa with me.”
Joshua remained in South Africa with his 2 daughters, then aged 6 and 4, and raised them alone.
“From about 2008 onwards, I noticed that maybe we are missing something very important in terms of our social justice system, and how we can ensure our communities become sustainable and viable.”
With his views of the world enriched by his experiences, Joshua’s thoughts and beliefs had changed so significantly from those of the mainstream Church, that the council of churches warned against his teachings.
“I’ve started writing my own Bible book, entitled ‘The Gospel According to Maponga J’ and to date I have written over 50 chapters. The day I die, consolidate those writings and leave them for the next generation.”
Alongside this, over the years he has become the renowned best selling author with his books, including “Going Places In The Spirit”, “So You Want To Be The Master” and “Shopping Skills”, as well as being a multi-instrumentalist.
Close to Joshua’s heart is the organisation “ZIM” or Zimbabwe Indigenous Movement, starkly in contrast to his fathers warnings of yesteryear, with the aim of taking the political power and converting it to an Indigenous Government System, where Royalty will be the highest in the land.
“If I was to become president I wouldn’t even be inaugurated, as I don’t believe in those systems, such as state house mentality. I want a body above the Parliament so that we can have a system that we can hold accountable.”
But Maponga’s plans are more widespread than you might think, “If we can start a movement for all European countries to return the money of these African people who have stored their money in European governments and banks back to the mainland, that would be enough money to develop Africa to the state in which we want it to be,” explains Maponga.
Over ZIM is the body “AIM” – Africa Indigenous Movement, which looks to house all of the intellectual property of how to transform Africa, a template for every other nation.
And finally above AIM is Joshua’s brainchild, Farmers of Thoughts – Agriculture in 3 stages.
• The Agriculture of the Mind - the quality of crop that goes into your brain, and harvesting from it, including all the mental manipulation that happens.
• The Agriculture between your legs – reproduction, creating an inheritance for the next generation, who ploughs between your legs and what kind of fruits are being harvested?
• The Agriculture beneath your feet - speaks of the project of the land. But you are unable to give people land beneath their feet if they don’t have land between their legs or between their ears.
Joshua hopes to make a difference to the people of South Africa, and improve the quality of human life through encouraging conscious experiences, and has come to realise that not all problems can be solved by simply praying for them.
Some economic issues require an education, and to empower people to find solutions to the economic and political issues of the day.
If you want to learn more about ZIM, please visit