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The current branch office in Harare, Zimbabwe. Inset: One of the early facilities used as a branch office in Bulawayo

OCTOBER 3, 2023

Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the Zimbabwe Branch Office

Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the Zimbabwe Branch Office

September 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the Zimbabwe branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Currently, the branch facilities are located in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.

When Jehovah’s Witnesses first began preaching in Zimbabwe, congregation activities were coordinated by the branch office in South Africa. In 1932, the South Africa branch sent four pioneers on a preaching campaign to Zimbabwe, then known as Southern Rhodesia. The work quickly gained momentum.

From left to right: Eric Cooke, Myrtle Taylor, Phyllis Kite, Ruby Bradley, and George Bradley

In November 1940, nationalism and wartime hysteria led to a ban on the importation and distribution of our publications. Many brothers were imprisoned for maintaining their Christian neutrality during those years. However, our brothers continued discreetly sharing the good news with others and had excellent results. The ban was lifted six years later. Soon thereafter, the number of publishers in the country had more than tripled to 3,500.

To support the increasing work, a branch office was established on September 1, 1948, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city. Brother Eric Cooke was appointed as the first branch servant. Later, George and Ruby Bradley, Phyllis Kite, and Myrtle Taylor—Gilead-trained missionaries—were assigned to the Zimbabwe branch.

Hardworking members of the Zimbabwe Bethel family. Left to right: A brother preparing a meal for the Bethel family, a Zimbabwe Sign Language translation team, and a sister gardening

Over the following decades, the number of publishers in Zimbabwe grew steadily. As such, a number of new branch facilities were acquired to organize the increasing work.

Literature in ten of the languages used in the Zimbabwe branch territory

The current facility was constructed in Harare and dedicated in December 1998. The branch office oversees the translation work into seven languages and cares for the 960 congregations in the territory. Over 46,000 brothers and sisters actively serve in the country, and 120,702 attended the Memorial of Christ’s death in 2023.

We rejoice to see the steady increase taking place in Zimbabwe. This continued growth gives evidence that Jehovah’s “eyes and [his] heart will always be” with those who are loyal to him.—2 Chronicles 7:16.