The Ambivalence of African Independent/Initiated Churches in Colonial and Postcolonial Politics

Joram Tarusarira, Bernard Pindukai Humbe

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    African Independent or Initiated Churches (AICs) are churches founded by Africans in the 1930s as a challenge to the marginalization, discrimination, and injustice African people were experiencing from the mission churches and the oppression of the colonial regime. The mission of both AICs and nationalists included fighting for justice, democracy, and the independence of African states. In Zimbabwe, the nationalists became the leaders of the independent state, but eventually they began to trample on the people’s freedoms and justice, especially in the 2000s. Surprisingly, the AICs did not call them out over these transgressions but instead became a formidable source of support for the former liberation movement, now the ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU PF). By interrogating the ambivalence of AICs in politics with the aid of the concepts of the theodicy of legitimation and the theodicy of liberation, this chapter illuminates our understanding of religion as both a hegemonic and counterhegemonic force in economic, social, and political conflicts. The chapter argues that, while AICs played a pivotal liberating role in the fight against colonialism, they failed to separate principles of social justice from regimes and personalities, thus contributing to the legitimation and perpetuation of the ZANU PF regime. The phenomenon remains systematically understudied.
    Originele taal-2English
    TitelReligion in Rebellions, Revolutions, and Social Movements
    RedacteurenWarren S. Goldstein, Jean-Pierre Reed
    Plaats van productieLondon
    UitgeverijRoutledge
    Hoofdstuk9
    Pagina's158-172
    Aantal pagina's15
    ISBN van elektronische versie9781003177821
    ISBN van geprinte versie9781032011523
    StatusPublished - 20-mei-2022

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