Contested Identities and the Quest for Power in African Christianity
Africans have tended to appropriate the charismatic dimensions of the gospel, attracted to the extra power offered by the new religion, and stamped it with an African identity. This charismatic and revivalist ferment could best be described with the Luganda word, bakuzufu, which means reawakened, or renewed, or even resurrected. In the interpretation of global Pentecostalism, the historical discourse argues the need to appreciate the contexts and periods from whence the movement flared up. It argues that the stories of various revitalization movements within such contexts provide the backdrop to the contemporary manifestations of Pentecostalism. These past events charismatized the religious landscapes, providing the agency, goal, popular perception, and naming of the movement. The failure of some historians to pay adequate attention to these precedents, historical roots, and multisites have produced misinterpretations. This chapter argues that in African Pentecostal historiography, the precedents in the colonial period, 1900-60 must be distinguished from the charismatic flares in the independence era, from the 1970s forward.
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