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African Prophet Movement

  1. Kehinde Olabimtan

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0016

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Kehinde Olabimtan 2011. African Prophet Movement. The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


An intuitive and spontaneous appropriation of Christianity by African converts to Christianity. Indigenous appropriation of Christianity has been at the roots of the process of evangelization of Africa, beginning among Coptic Christians of 3rd century Egypt. It was also evident in Kongo in response to the Catholic Christianity introduced to medieval Africa by Portuguese missionaries. However, it was in the modern era, beginning in the 19th century, that the process intensified and flourished, and in the 20th century developed into a continent-wide mass movement. The essential dynamics that gave rise to the movement were change and threat to the ordered universe of the people. In their bid to provide anchorage for societies in rapid transition African prophets commended to their followers prayer, penitence, and conversion from sinful practices. At other times they enjoined purification and ablution, proscribing stealing, prostitution, and witchcraft. In methodology the prophet fused the old religion with the new, and vice versa, to achieve a new synthesis of faith intelligible to the faithful and efficacious at transcending present challenges. The new communities they founded became Zion, Israel or Nazareth.


  • african prophet movement;
  • african converts to Christianity;
  • evangelization of Africa;
  • african prophets;
  • purification and ablution;
  • new communities, zion, Israel, Nazareth;
  • aladura prophets, Yoruba christian converts;
  • Simon Kimbangu, of belgian congo