along the watchtower with the bantu prophets

Posted: September 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

In times of stress, look for the prophets of an earthly paradise….

…The Israelite movement has also been strong in South Africa. About 1910 a native prophet rejected the New testament as a hoax perpetrated by the missionaries, preaching instead a return to the teachings of the Old testament: his followers celebrated the Jewish Sabbath and the Jewish feasts, did not eat pork, and regarded themselves as the chosen people of Jehovah. When the South  African government attempted to disperse the sect and raze its home village, the fanatical israelites fought the troops with spears. Revulsion at the massacre of about one hundred and twenty villagers eventually forced the government to recognize the native israelite churches, and they became well established in South Africa.

Emil Nolde. Child and Large Bird.—In 1921, a group of ‘Israelites’ (a religious sect) refused to leave a squatters’ settlement at Bulhoek (now Whittlesea), near Queenstown in the Eastern Cape. Frustrated White authorities finally resorted to the use of force after the Israelite Sect, had repeatedly refused to move. On 24 May 1921, 163 people were killed, 129 wounded and 113 imprisoned when the South African Police (SAP) opened fire on the charging group of ‘Israelites’. —Read More:

African have also found appeal in one of the most successful millenarian movements in existence today. The Watch Tower movement, better known in the United States as Jehovah’s Witnesses, was founded in 1872 by a white preacher in Pittsburgh, and it now has a membership of millions. About 1925 a Nyasa native introduced the Kitawala ( a mispronunciation of Watch Tower) cult among the miners in Katanga Province in the Belgian Congo. The Africans found the teachings of the Watch Tower much more palatable than traditional Christianity. The Watch Tower preaches the imminent coming of the millennium, when justice will finally reign for all on earth. It denies such Christian tenets as the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, eternal damnation, and immortality of the soul. It condemns both the state and organized Christianity as instruments of the Devil. The Kitawala prophet absorbed these teachings and spread them through central and southern Africa, publicly accusing the missionaries of distorting the Bible. He was accused by the white authorities of having killed “baptized people” ( a euphemism for “white Christians”), and he was ignominiously hanged from the gallows. Such repression resulted only in the movement’s spread with greater vigor into the French, British, and Belgian colonies of Africa.

Emil Nolde. Wildly Dancing Children. 1909 Source: WIKI


(see link at end)….B.G.M. Sundkler explained in his book, Bantu Prophets in South Africa, the formation of independent churches in Africa in the early 1900’s and their theology, with reference to the Zulu people.

“…To the main type belong most of the organizations which call themselves by some of the words “Zion”, “Apostolic,” “Pentecostal,” “Faith” (this word sometimes misrepresented as “Five”, “Fife”, “Fifth”). I describe these organizations as Zionists, which word of course has nothing to do with any modern Jewish movement. The reason for the use of this term is simply that the leaders and followers of these Churches refer to themselves as “ama-Ziyoni”, Zionists. Historically they have their roots in Zion City, Illinois, United States. Ideologically they claim to emanate from the Mount of Zion in Jerusalem. Theologically the Zionists are a syncretistic Bantu movement with healing, speaking with tongues, purification rites, and taboos as the main expressions of their faith. There are numerous denominational, local and individual variations… they may yet combine a general dislike of the Whites as being ritually unclean, with a high esteem of some American Zion Church leaders. John Alexander Dowie, “First Apostle”, and to a lesser degree, W.G.Voliva, are on their way to becoming modern church fathers in Zululand. As far as their attitude to the Zulu heritage …they combat the use of the inyanga’s medicines and they fight against the diviner’s demons of possession. But the weapons with which they fight the struggle belong to an arsenal of old Zulu religion. One strong section of the Zionists is deliberately nativistic, and Churches of this kind in the end become the bridge back to the old heathenism from whence they came” .

“The Ethiopian churches were tribal or nationalistic churches, with many of the founder’s being evangelists, preachers, teachers and lay members of the Wesleyan Church. The first “Ethiopian” church was founded on the “Witwatersrand in 1892.” To some who embraced their theology, it meant the promise of the evangelization of Africa. To many natives, it meant the self-government of the African Church under African leaders.”

Explaining the difference between Zionist and Ethiopian Churches, Dr. Lanternari states:

“The principal difference between the Zionist and Ethiopian churches is in the fulfillment of their messianic hopes: the Ethiopians promise a united Christian Africa ruled by the Lion of Judah, King of Kings, whereas the Zion

look to the Judeo-Christian land of Palestine, to which Moses and John the Baptist will lead them. The Ethiopian churches are governed by men who fulfill the traditional role of king in an aristocratic hierarchy, whereas the Zionists… choose their religious heads from among the preachers, healers, clairvoyants or sworn enemies of witchcraft.” .

“A tenent common to Zionist churches expresses the need for revolt from within against the present status of native society in order to make way for the New Jerusalem.”.

Historian, Dr. Lanternari investigated the cults and churches, which, according to him, have formed in a militant struggle against alien rule and their often-found ‘gospel’ to be a mixture of the Christian and the pagan.

This information, confirmed by other authors, shows that while various individuals have accepted Jesus Christ, many do not desire what they perceive to be, not just a white man’s religion, but oppression and removal of cultural and economic freedom. The well-documented information provides such insights as how “the South African government favoured repression of the autonomous long before the Union was created in 1910,” and “…the Ethiopian preachers had a hand in the Zulu uprisings of 1906 and used the pulpit to incite the people to rebellion.” Read More:

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