1951 – Prophet Visit Zimbabwe: He Had To Pass This Way

At the turn of the 19th Century, a British fortune hunter, Cecil John Rhodes arrived across the Limpopo River with a private army of settlers and began to systematically expropriate land he believed was filled with hidden treasures of gold. Centuries of black autonomy and civilization was abruptly brought to a halt. By 1897, the area was completely under the control of white settlers and was renamed Rhodesia, in honor of Cecil. In 1923, Rhodesia became a self-governing British colony. For the next fifty years, the political history of Zimbabwe was of continuous struggle against white minority rule. Even the religious realm was not spared of nationalistic sentiments.

Despite all this, one of the most momentous events during this period took place in November and December 1951. As an extension of the renowned South African campaign, the Branham party visited the Southern Rhodesia capital Salisbury. At this time the present day Zimbabwe was called Southern Rhodesia having been part of the federation with Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Nyasaland (now Malawi). Thousands attended and great miracles happened. 1951 is in itself a monumental year, you would probably remember Congressman Upshaw – he was healed in February 1951.

Congressman Upshaw before (bedridden) and after healing

By early 1951 Brother Branham was preparing to travel to South Africa. In his mind he thought the country he was visiting was Southern Rhodesia. In his earliest recorded mention of the Africa trip he said:

And I just heard from Brother Baxter from British Colombia, which is to be the manager of the meetings in Africa. And we’re to leave for Africa on October the first. And our first meeting is in Johannesburg, October the fourth in Johannesburg, Southern Rhodesia, South Africa.

51-0413 – The Works That I Do Bear Witness Of Me

   Rev. William Marrion Branham


Even when he landed in Johannesburg South Africa he still thought he was in Rhodesia. His interest in Rhodesia excites us very much!

And here was my… I got down there, and I stopped at Johannesburg. I said, “Well—well, is—is this Southern Rhodesia?” “No, this is South Africa.” “Well, what part of it is Southern Rhodesia?” “There is no Southern Rhodesia, South Africa.” I said, “Well, where’s Durban at?” “Oh,” said, “that’s plumb up over on the other coast.” I said, “Well, there’s where the Lord wants me to go. All my mail is being sent…”

52-0717 – Get The People To Believe

Rev. William Marrion Branham


Brother Branham was not a person who would travel around without God telling him to. In early 1950 a deathly sick lady, Miss Florence Nightingale had asked for prayer for a cancer of the stomach that was slowly killing her. Friends had heard that brother Branham would be in London, so they flew her from Africa to London. Brother Branham prayed for her and a year later she was the perfect picture of health. This became a sign to brother Branham that he should come to Africa.

Florence Nightingale Before and After Prayer

On the day the Branham Party was to leave for Africa, brother Branham learnt that he had to get Yellow Fever vaccination! This meant he had to remain in New York while the rest of the party made their way to South Africa. On the Forth of October 1951, he flew out of JF Kennedy International Airport then known as New York International Airport or Idlewild Airport. On the 6th of October brother Branham joined the rest of the campaign team in Johannesburg South Africa. Their first meetings were in Port Elisabeth moving through several cities in South Africa and the ultimate Durban. The three day campaign in Durban at the Greyville Race Course was the climax of the 1951 African campaign. God did the wonders before an all-race audience. At the end of those meetings a decision had been made to go to Salisbury Rhodesia! News of the wondrous works God was doing in South Africa had reached Rhodesia. Several ministers in Salisbury were eager to see God doing the same in their own country. A queen of Rhodesia had also attended the South African meetings:

A queen from Rhodesia had come with a train of 27 coaches loaded with African natives. They struggled in across the fields and mountains bearing on their backs for many and many a mile some loved one that needed help. The whole country was stirred by the mighty works that had been manifested by the Holy Spirit.

An Exposition Of The Seven Church Ages – 8 – The Philadelphian Church Age

Rev. William Marrion Branham


On the 28th of November brother Branham left South Africa flew into Rhodesia on a chartered flight. He was billed to speak at the Tobacco Auction Floors along Beatrice Road in Salisbury on the 29th of November. The meetings had been widely advertised

Advert in the Rhodesian Herald 29 November 1951 (Source: National Archives)

The chartered plane developed a technical fault and had to be fixed in Bulawayo at the Khumalo Airport.  Bulawayo is the second largest city in Zimbabwe and the capital of the Matabeleland region; home to the second largest ethnic group in Zimbabwe. By stopping over in Bulawayo, brother Branham had covered the major centers of the country! He had to pass this way! Interestingly the first aeroplane to land on Rhodesian soil did so in Bulawayo! A converted Vickers Vimy bomber, the ‘Silver Queen’ landed in Bulawayo 31 year earlier on 5 March 1920.

In Salisbury (Now Harare), the party alighted at the Belvedere Airport. Belvedere Airport was the first airport for Salisbury to handle commercial flights. It had initially been built for RAF Elementary Flying Training School and was sandwiched between Warren Hills and the growing central business district. The airport was soon abandoned as high rise buildings (e.g. the Milton Building) began to sprout up in the CBD over-which out going planes flew posed a possibility of accidents and the runway was misaligned to fly over the Warren Hills.

Maintenance Hangar at Belvedere Airport
Satellite Photo Showing Where Belvedere Airport Used To Be (Red lines show runway)
Arial view of the Belvedere Airport

Once the Branham Party of William Branham, his son Billy Paul and Ern Baxter had arrived, they went through immigration formalities.

Brother Branham’s Passport showing entry into Rhodesia (top left)

Thereafter the Party was quickly whisked away to the Tobacco Auction Floors owned by the Rhodesia Tobacco Warehouse and Export Company. The floor covered a record 10 acres of roofed space and were reportedly the largest in the world at that time. 

Arial Photo of the Tobacco Auction Floors in Salisbury

The Rhodesian Herald of the 30th reported on the first meeting. They noted that there were 3000 whites and colored people in attendance. An African child was carried in by a white lady for prayer. Brother Ern Baxter addressed the congregation first before brother Branham preached and prayed for the sick.

Report in the Rhodesian Herald on 30 November 1951

One of the other meetings was to be held in the Sephardi Hall at 2:30pm on Friday. The Sephardi Hall was a Jewish Hall. Sephardi Jews do not usually share their places of worship with other religion. However they had two places of Worship along (the now) Harare Street and another along the now Josiah Chinamano Avenue. The hall along Harare St was not owned by the Jews but rather was leased as the first Sephardic Hall. It is possible that the owners allowed brother Branham’s meeting. By this time the Jews were already meeting in their 1940 built Sephardi Hall along Josiah Chinamano Avenue.

1st Sephardi Hall – Possibly the site of the Branham Meetings
The 2nd Sephardi Hall
2nd Sephardi Hall in 2018 (Cnr J Chinamano and Colquhoun St)

A few eyewitnesses of the 1951 meetings still live today. Bro Billy Paul Branham celebrated his 16th birthday while in Salisbury. Another boy of his age, Neville Durand, was brought for prayer for an eye condition. Find his testimony below.

If you or know anyone who was in the 1951 meeting, we would like to hear from you. Write us on feedback@eastleatabernacle.org

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