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Title:'Catch the Cockerel before Dawn': Pentecostalism and Politics in Post-Colonial Zimbabwe
Author:Maxwell, David J.ISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:Baptist Church
Church and State
Religion and Witchcraft
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1160818
Abstract:This article examines relations between Pentecostalism and politics in postcolonial Zimbabwe through a case study of one of Africa's largest Pentecostal movements, Zimbabwe Assemblies of God, Africa (ZAOGA). The Church's relations with the State changed considerably from the colonial to the postcolonial era. The movement began in the 1950s as a sectarian township-based organization which eschewed politics but used white Rhodesian and American contacts to gain resources. In the first decade of independence (1980-1990) the leadership embraced the dominant discourses of cultural nationalism and development but fell foul of the ruling party, ZANU/PF, because of its 'seeming' connections with the rebel politician Ndabiningi Sithole and the American religious right. By the 1990s, ZAOGA and ZANU/PF had embraced, each drawing legitimacy from the other. However, this reciprocal assimilation of elites and the authoritarianism of ZAOGA's leadership are in tension with the democratic egalitarian culture found in local assemblies. These alternative Pentecostal practices are in symbiosis with radical township politics and progressive sources in civil society. Thus, while Pentecostalism may renew the process of politics in Zimbabwe, it may itself be renewed by the outside forces of wider Zimbabwean society. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.