Zionist South AfricaThis is a featured page

Map of South AfricaIntroduction

Racial Group
: Africans
Denomination: Zionist Movement
Region of the World: South Africa

The goal of history and of this brief study of South African Zionism is to offer an unbiased and accurate account of events without ‘the authority to interpret into the interpretation” (Ashcroft, Griffiths & Tiffin 2006, 317). In order to understand the current state of affairs in South Africa, specifically related to Zionism, it is important to look at the rich and sometimes uncomfortable history of the nation. Settler colonies tend to find it difficult to define oneself as a nation because national identities tend to be based upon commonalities, i.e. religion, language or racial unity. Settler colonies are faced with their “mosaic’ reality” and are illustrations of “the constructedness of nations” resulting from western nations carved up the world (Ashcroft, Griffiths & Tiffin 2006, 117). As a result of colonialism, it is now impossible to separate any identity or thought as original or separate from colonial powers because colonialism has shaped the way South Africa views its history, religion and even self. After a brief overview of the history of South Africa and Zionism, several aspects of South Africa today will be explored and how they have some bearing on Zionist Christianity.

It is important to realize that, despite claims that African Zionism began as a uniquely African movement, in reality it owes a great deal to its western influence during its early years, yet was able to continue to grow and find its own identity. Zionism in South Africa has effectively blended traditional African religions with Christian practices. Robin Horton, asserts that African Christianity is not the result of effective conversions by the western missionaries, but rather should be viewed as “expressions of African nationalism” (Viswanathan 2006, 521). In agreement with this Allan Anderson believes that the rapid growth of African Pentecostalism is rooted in “the spiritual hunger that needed to be assuaged in a truly African expression of Christianity” (Anderson 2000, 56).


Zionist South Africa - Church in Mission @ FTS
Universality are ideas which are assumed by the majority culture, if not all, but few are completely agreed upon. This is due to the fact that people assume their worldview and life experiences are the norm for all humanity. Typically though, cross-cultural experiences vary in significant ways. For example, people groups generally believe that their experience and expression of the idea of love to would be expressed universally regardless of culture, gender, race, etc. However, this is usually not the case.
Zionist traditional form of worship
The Zionist Church in South Africa is no exception and, just as any other people group, it holds to certain particular life experiences which are consistent throughout the culture. (Photo is the front cover of: Pobee, John S., and Gabriel Ositelu II. African Initiatives in Christianity. Geneva, Switzerland: WCC Publications, 1998.)

Related to this, syncretism also seems to be a universal belief in that the Zionist church incorporates indigenous religious practices such as ancestor worship and African dance. This type of syncretism is a key component to the Zionist Church. The church strives to maintain an “orthodox” faith while also still engaging their cultural traditional practices. Engenas Lekganyane, the leader of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC), clashed with white leaders over his use of his African expressions of worship. For example, some disapproved of Lekganane’s practice of polygamy and the acceptance of it in the church. Others disapproved of the use of external symbols (ie. use of staffs in worship and wearing robes).

The lack of distinction between the secular and sacred realm is a universal belief in the Zionist Church. Zionist’s believe that sickness, injury, and evil all revolved around spirituality. The use of modern medicines does not appear to be common within this tradition. Faith healings demonstrate a tangible example of the understanding that everything is sacred or spiritual.

Other universal beliefs with the he Zionist Church include the belief that baptisms should be done in rivers, often referred to as “Jordan baptisms”, in a three-fold immersion symbolizing the trinity and are reserved for adults only. The idea behind this tradition is to fully imitate the baptism of Jesus in order to receive the Holy Spirit as Christ did. Also, a large population of the church also believes in avoiding particular types of foods and beverages. Many of the members hold to a belief that certain foods are taboo. The ZCC, specifically, is characterized by an emphasis on divine and faith healing, purification rites, dancing, night communion, river baptism, the holy spirit, and prophesying.

Since the church has been under native leadership from its foundation in the 19th century it would be easy for a Westerner to misinterpret some of the churches practices and theological convictions. Many outsiders claim that the church exemplifies a form of heresy and not a true expression of Christianity. People observe the churches interaction and inclusion of indigenous practices and immediately declare them unorthodox or heretics. Outsiders may also look to the church as being exclusive for black Africans. Though, the church was not founded to be exclusive to any particular race the apartheid in South Africa has contributed to the homogeneous look of the church.

The Zionist Church does hold to a handful of universal beliefs. However, their convictions are not too different than other traditions. Although they distinguish themselves while attempting to blend the native practices with their faith, they stand fast as a part of the universal church.


Zionism is a Pentecostal denomination, a branch of Christianity, which is prominent in the Third World and is a part of the AICs, which can interchangeably stand for African Independent Churches, African Indigenous Churches, African Initiated Churches, or African Instituted Churches. Of the thousands of AICs which exist today, 10,000 are in South Africa alone. The AICs are the largest and possibly the most important religious group in South Africa, and are more present in South Africa than elsewhere in the continent.

South African AICs are split up into three types: Ethiopian, Apostolic, and Zionist. The Zion Christian Church (ZCC) being the most popular of the Zionist category comprising around 80% of the AICs and at least two thousand churches in South Africa include Zion in their name (Venter 2004, 28).
ZCC Emblem
South African Zionism is sometimes mistaken for a Zulu creation and beginning with prophets. Instead it began with missionaries and this was reflected in its doctrine and liturgy. However, African Zionism was not as concerned about literacy as the founding missionaries, but instead focused on healing, full immersion baptism of adults, and Christ’s imminent Second Coming. The theology of African Zionism is also not as formulated as other Western and Pentecostal denominations.

ZCC Emblem
AICs also tend to emphasize the Holy Spirit, at times even more so than God the Son. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are manifested in a visible and charismatic manner that include the ability to perform exorcism, to have visions, and to speak in tongues. The AICs do not typically involve themselves into political affairs directly as a group, but rather seek to avoid conflict or confrontations with the law or the authorities.

There are a number of reasons why the AICs broke off from the mainline churches. Some of these reasons include the church being seen as a nationalistic institution; to escape the colonial and slavery themes and practices of the ‘White Christianity’; and a desire to worship freely by singing, dancing, shouting, laughing and also crying. In addition, the Zionist Church provides an alternative, holistic spirituality to the poor. It would be quite impossible and every complicated to rejoin the AICs with mainline Christianity and Protestantism now. Interestingly, despite the separation from the Western forms of Christianity the members of the AICs did not embrace negative feelings towards the whites, but instead love and prayers. Interestingly enough, Western Pentecostals are not at times open with including Zionists in the definition of Pentecostalism.

The continual growth of the AICs is a result of a number of factors. Firstly, they have a great ability to combine Western Christianity and African traditions. Secondly, they are a bridge the rural-urban elements of the people in South Africa. Thirdly, they provide protection from evil, sorcery, superstitions, and sickness. Lastly, they have a strong emphasis on evangelism (2004, 28-29; Anderson 2000, 125).

Representation and Resistance

Representation is often characterized by a production of information from a European framework which usually depicts the non-European’s culture as lacking or heathenish. “Such texts...were not accounts of different peoples and societies, but a projection of European fears and desires masquerading as scientific/objective/knowledge” (Ashcroft, Griffiths & Tiffin 2006, 85). This information is then represented to the colonized people through education by the ruling empire. This cycle of misinformation results in skewed views of the indigenous people by the rest of the world and themselves.

The first depictions of South Africa were given by explorers, colonizers, western scholars, western media, and the popular press. Africans were generally depicted as irrational, backwards, pagan, and as children who were unaware of modern life. African societies appeared to Europeans to be stateless, lacking structure, and dominated by tribal conflict. However, the Africa depicted by explorers was used to explain and justify its colonization pursuits. Europeans postured themselves as proponents of civilization and carriers of Christian salvation. It is important to note that South Africans had no say in the way they were portrayed to the rest of the world. It was out of this worldview that the Zionist Church in South Africa was established.

Resistance is characterized by opposition to colonial representations and can come through any number of avenues. The Zionist church represents a form of cultural resistance in the struggle of the black working class, “...the Zionist apostolic churches are a response to, and simultaneously a form of protest against, the alienation of the black working class” (Hofmeyr and Pillay 1994, 216). The economic situation in the 1940’s led to an influx of rural black Africans looking for work in urban areas. As this group continued to grow, they were increasingly alienated and impoverished because the majority of them were uneducated and unskilled (Hope & Young 1981, 191). Many of these found a home in the Zionist church whose primary concern was the welfare of its members and it validated and celebrated black African traditional culture. From this context, “resilience, rather than mere acculturation” (1994, 216) becomes a form of resistance. Thus, the impact of the Zionist Church on society comes in providing a sense of hope and a vision for the future to a dispossessed people. With the increase in secularization of the state, religion was able to flourish in the private sector without governmental influence. The people found the church greatly lacking in their ability to provide and turned to the church for those needs. Ogbu Kalu, in his book African Pentecostalism believes that African Zionist theologies enabled a critique of inherited political systems and remained a dissenting voice against the apartheid system (Kalu 2008, 37).

The formation and growth of the Zionist church represents a form of religious resistance against historical African Christian churches. In these churches, blacks were often marginalized as in the Dutch reformed Church which supported segregation. “For them the church in South Africa has been and continues to be part of the oppressive system. Christianity was used as a means to colonize, suppress and alienate blacks...They view every white man’s institution as an instrument of oppression -- his industry, his education, and his Christianity” (Elphick 1997, 385). In South Africa, the nature of the political climate should have evoked reaction and protest from African historical churches. However, the failure of “white churches” to confront racism in any effective way “produced an under-current of disillusionment and even cynicism among some black activists” (1997, 384). Furthermore, the lack of understanding and sometimes strict rules of missionaries led to many breaking away from colonial mission churches to join the Zionist Church (Daneel 1970, 11). Therefore, the Zionist church as an indigenous movement led primarily by black Africans which operates from traditional black African culture sets itself against a oppressive white ruled social structure.

In the arena of political resistance, the Zionist church can be characterized as a sleeping giant. In the midst apartheid, one of the world’s great injustices, and a history of civil rights abuse and political oppression since its inception, the Zionist church was apolitical. As the struggle against apartheid mounted and member churches of the SACC became its greatest opponent, the Zionist church remained in the periphery. “A haven from white political domination and economic exploitation, it was essentially separatist, avoiding confrontation with the state, and posing no direct threat to apartheid structures” (1997, 389). In 1985, at one of the church’s vast annual gatherings, President Botha congratulated the church for keeping religion and politics separate and for dutiful obedience to the state. With members so ingrained in the oppression and violence of apartheid it is hard to reason why the Zionist Church remained voiceless.

A hope for the Zionist church would to offer resistance on the political front. Many Zionist members live in a system of poverty where they are excluded from the sociopolitical structure. Though the Zionist Church is characterized by small loosely affiliated gatherings, becoming organized into a political force would give its members a voice in creating a better life for themselves.

Nationalism, Education, History

In Philip G. Altbach’s article “Education and Neocolonialism” he sees education as a form of neo-colonialism because western forms of education are mimicked in nations around the world and viewed as a remnant of the colonial era (Altbach 2006, 381). Although there is some truth in this statement, a more balanced view should be taken into account. Consistent with this, Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin believe that “Education should not been seen as wholly wrong because although it was used by colonial powers as a form of social control it also created an environment that allowed for “the most potentially fruitful routes to a dis/mantling of colonialist and neocolonial authority and of bringing different cultures into contact on the basis of exchange…” (Ashcroft, Griffiths & Tiffin 2006, 373). Once again it is necessary to admit indebtedness to the colonial past and yet still offer a critique of the current educational system.

Charles Loram, when looking at the South African educational system in 1917, stated that “the history of Native education in south Africa is the history of South African missions, for it is due entirely to the efforts of the missionaries that the Native of South Africa have received any education at all…” (Loram 1917, 46). Western Education was first brought to South Africa by missionaries of the Dutch Reformed Church which centered on biblical teachings necessary for confirmation. This practice was continued when the British took control under the London Missionary Society as they continued to focus more in rural areas. This posed a problem in South Africa because of an issue of language. Should education be taught in English, the language of the ruling power, in Afrikaans, a derivative from Dutch rule, or in a local tribal dialect? On this issue colonialism left an indelible mark in South Africa as this issue has yet to be resolved.

Other negative influences of colonialism on the education system which persist in the system today include an emphasis on technical skills over “socially aware individuals” and colonial forms of education often emphasized inequality in education, with an emphasis on education for urban areas (Altabach 2006, 381). In the twentieth century, the education system assumed economic importance as it prepared young Africans for low-wage labor and protected the privileged white minority from competition. From the 1950s to the mid-1990s, no other social institution reflected the government's racial philosophy of apartheid more clearly than the education system. Because the schools were required to both teach and practice apartheid, they were especially vulnerable to the weaknesses of the system. The Bantu Education Act of 1953 was particularly crushing for any hope of equality in education. According to the Library of Congress on South Africa, Verwoerd, then minister of native affairs and one of the biggest supporters of the act, stated that black Africans “should be educated for their opportunities in life”, and that there was no place for them “above the level of certain forms of labor”.

school children in South AfricaAn inequality between blacks and whites still persists today in South Africa. In 2002, only 4,637 of the 19,765 students who received passes in national math exams were black. Another study showed that only 5% of black students received a high school certificate and were able to enter university in 2003, compared with 7% colored, 41% Indian and 36% white; these statistics are similar to ones received ten years prior (Economist 2006, 9).

South Africa guarantees free basic
education to all school aged children

How will this inequality ever be overcome? Altbach ends his article by stating, “only when an adequate understanding of modern neocolonialism in its many facets is achieved will it be possible to change the domination of West over East to a more equitable arrangement in an increasingly interdependent world” (Altbach 2006, 384).

Hybridity, Indigeneity

"Whenever Christianity, unencumbered by its various cultural expressions, encounters another living
religion, a transformation takes place. This transformation takes place in both directions. The Christian
message challenges, confronts, and changes what appears inconsistent with tis proclamation and what
seems inadequate in the other religion. At the same time, the other religion transforms and enriches the
Christian message so that it is understandable and relevant within the worldview in which it is
submerged" (Anderson 2000, 215).

In general, it is easier to talk about hybridity in relation to other areas, such as feminism, globalization, language, etc., than as a subject of its own. The Zionist South African Church, however, does have many evidences of hybridity in its practices. While its roots lie predominantly in Western Pentecostalism, it was a church started by Africans for Africans. They have never been led by Westerners nor have they sought to conform to Western standards of Christianity in regards to theology or practice. Their practices of speaking in tongues and their emphasis on healing are similar to Pentecostal churches in the United States, but they elaborated on these practices and currently use different tools and methods for most of their healing sessions than their Western Pentecostal counter parts.

The Zionist Church was strongly influenced by the Christian Catholic Apostolic Church in Zion of Chicago, Illinois. The founder of this church, John Alexander Dowie, taught that divine healing, baptism of adults by immersion, and belief in the imminent return of Christ were all primary foundations of the faith. He encouraged his followers to abstain from alcohol and tobacco and to set themselves apart from the modern world. When one of Dowie's followers, Daniel Nkonyane, went to South Africa to spread Christianity he incorporated many of these practices into his church. The Zionist South African Church as we know it was born out of this movement.
Over the years the church members have made the practices they have learned from these and other Western or Western influenced groups increasingly more African. Some examples of this include: baptism my immersion in the river (not just any water), divine healing by means of intercession through ancestral spirits or sacred tools (such as holy sticks), and the incorporation of group dancing into worship practices. As one historian has said, "both groups had in common the intentions to resist the ills of modernity (Albright 1995, 99)", but their means of doing so doesn't always look the same.

Ethnicity, Race

The Zionist Church is predominantly African initiated and African led, although the history of Africa Zionism remained intertwined with white Pentecostal for some time (see History for more information on the development of African Zionism). Pieter Le Roux along with other white missionaries founded the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM). Despite initial efforts to maintain racial unity in the Zionist movement, soon after being founded, the AFM began segregating baptisms. Africans within the AFM were left with no legal status for 75 years. As a result, in 1917, Elias Mahlangu broke away to form the Zion Apostolic Church of South Africa. Additionally, in 1925, Engenas Lekganyane, a former disciple of Le Roux, broke away from the AFM to found the Zion Christian Church (ZCC), to be led solely by Africans. The decision to split arose from increasing tensions between blacks who felt they were being denied leadership in the church by the predominately white leadership; as well they felt they were denied full expression of traditional African beliefs.

The Zionist church has always faced the issue of race because it has been described as the church for the marginalized of society. Only in Zionism can the marginalized receive power and recognition. As a result of apartheid, there was a greater proliferation of AICs; the more people were marginalized the more people sought out faith in God in an attempt to maintain human dignity. The apartheid system with its racism and enforced segregation within early South African Pentecostalism drove many Africans into rejecting European forms of Christianity and resulted in the mushrooming of African independent churches.

Within the Apostolic Faith Mission, this was not the case though. Throughout apartheid until 1994, racism remained a common practice within the church and denying leadership to non-whites. According to Allan Anderson, “Pentecostalism acquiesced in the society of its day and became a bastion of apartheid.” (Anderson 2000, 109). They have been charged with accepting the status quo rather than fighting the system as their fellow AICs were doing. One African man stood out amongst the inequality and fought for what was right.

Frank Chikane
Frank Chikane was born in 1951 in Soweto, South African which was considered the hub of political activity. As a member of AFM, he knew that it had favored segregation and white leadership since 1910. He was forced to reconcile his faith with his politics and as a result was regularly accused of not being a Christian or worse a communist. Despite this, Chikane fought for what was right. He stated that, “The misuse of the Word of God to justify the status quo…that white form of Christianity, was nullifying Jesus’ work on the cross…To me the most serious sin was this sin of subverting the very mission of God in this world by creating a situation where millions of Blacks would fail to believe” (Anderson 2000, 94). After years of fighting to reverse the status quo and obtain leadership for black Africans, in 1996 Chickane was elected as the vice president of the AFM.

A dream for the future of the Zionist movement would be that it would continue to be a voice for the marginalized and always have men and women like Chikane who would be willing to stand and fight against the status quo.

For more information regarding race during apartheid, check out this article "A Crazy Game of Musical Chairs" Time Magazine Mar. 9, 1987
: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,963680,00.html

History, Place

The definition in The Post-Colonial Studies Reader of "place" is of “a complex interaction of language, history and environment” (Ashcroft, Griffiths & Tiffin 2006, 345). In order to understand the current state of affairs in South Africa, specifically related to Zionism, it is important to look at the rich and sometimes uncomfortable history of the nation.

South Africa, although originally intended to be a trading center for the Dutch East India Company, quickly developed into a settler colony by 1652. The Dutch did not immediately take a segregation stance with the so-called “natives”. The two main ethnic groups, of whom both were migratory herding tribes, which were present at the time of Dutch colonization were the Khoikhoi and the San peoples. The Dutch realized that they did not have the manpower to enslave the people so they began a trading relationship which quickly turned hostile. The Khoikhoi had several conflicts in 1659 and later in 1673 to 1677 which had a damaging effect on the population. By the time small pox was introduced in 1713, these tribes were never able to regain strength as a powerful force. They were then forced into enslaved labor and lost their rights to the land. This is a small glimpse of what would become common practice in the colonial era.
Zionist South Africa - Church in Mission @ FTS
The British took control of the Cape Colony in 1795 and after years of vacillation during the Napoleonic Wars, it was finally sold to the British in 1814. The British continued the policy of the Dutch toward the indigenous population, never enslaving the people yet still ensuring that they remain powerless. In 1809, the British instituted the Hottentot Code which required all Khoikhoi and other free blacks to carry passes stating where they lived and who their employers were (Hottentot was a derogatory term to refer to the Khoikhoi people). Persons without such passes could be forced into employment by white masters. As a result of pressure from the missionaries, this Code was repealed in the 1820s and gave way to Ordinance 50 which won the right for equal freedom and protection for all indigenous population. This was one catalyst which led to slavery being abolished in all British colonies in 1834. Despite the rhetoric, Africans continued to be treated as second-class citizens.

Picture is from "page vi" of: Elphick, Richard, and Rodney Davenport, eds. Christianity in South Africa: A Political, Social, and Cultural History. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997.

The African Zionist movement traces its origins back to Wakkerstroom in Mpulmalanga where the first indigenous expression of Pentecostalism began when as many as 141 Africans were baptized and converted (Anderson & Pillay 1997, 229). These converts began to identify themselves as Zionists, thus separating themselves from traditional Pentecostalism, although a strict differentiation is not quiet clear. Zionism is also indebted to the Christian Catholic Church in Zion (CCCZ) in Zion City, Illinois led by their charismatic leader, John Alexander Dowie. Zionism was brought to South Africa by several American missionaries including John G. Lake and Daniel Bryant, both who studied under Dowie and later went to South Africa to baptize followers of the Zionist movement. It was Daniel Byrant who preformed the baptisms at Wakkerstoom. In 1908, Lake, along with other Zionist, founded the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) with the coverts of Wakkerstoom. The AFM later was led by Pieter L. le Roux who was also baptized there.
Zionist South Africa - Church in Mission @ FTS
Despite initial efforts to maintain racial unity in the Zionist movement, soon after being founded, the AFM began segregating baptisms. Africans within the AFM were left with no legal status for 75 years. As a result, in 1917, Elias Mahlangu broke away to form the Zion Apostolic Church of South Africa. Additionally, in 1925, Engenas Lekganyane, a former disciple of Le Roux, broke away from the AFM to found the Zion Christian Church (ZCC), to be led solely by Africans. The decision to split arose from increasing tensions between blacks who felt they were being denied leadership in the church by the predominately white leadership; as well they felt they were denied full expression of traditional African beliefs. For example, some disapproved of Lekganane’s practice of polygamy and the acceptance of it in the church. Others disapproved of the use of external symbols (ie. use of staffs in worship and wearing robes).

John Alexander Dowie in his traditional robes


The concept of Feminism in the Zionist Churches of South Africa is a relatively new and untapped subject of research. This is primarily due to the fact that, until recently, the church and nation as a whole had been struggling so much for freedom and equality that gender issues were pushed to the background. As one South African feminist author said, "which is more important, which comes first, the fight for female equality or the fight against Western cultural imperialism (Ashcroft, 235)?" While many people in South Africa are still struggling for equality, enough ground has been covered for at least some people to begin the conversation of gender equality, both within and outside of the church.

Women in the Zionist churches of South Africa have played a vital role in its services and growth ever since its creation in the late 1800's- early 1900's. The church was founded by men and its earliest followers were predominantly male (Elphick 1997, 218). However, women in the church were at least given more freedom than they were outside of the church. Their involvement was primarily through manyanos, or women's organizations, where they came together to talk, pray, and discuss their frustrations. In the early 1900's the women were only allowed this freedom within their own spheres and they were taught (primarily by the white missionaries) that their main objective should be to "consolidate Christianity among the folks (Elphick 1997, 256)" and to raise godly children. The African women did not take to such a view and by the middle of the century women were taking on more and more leadership roles within the church, generally as prophets or evangelists. By this time, the percentage of women had increased to such an extent that the ratio of women to men was approximately 3 to 1, a percentage still holding to this day.

There is little information available on the percentage of female to male prophets or any clarification on what jobs are considered predominantly male or female, but by the 1990's most AIC's were allowing women to be ordained. While this is evidence of some ground being made for the women of Zionism, it is safe to say that many of them still only dream of their equality with men being fully recognized, of being seen as more than back-room prayer warriors or dutiful mothers.

For a great resource on feminism in South Africa, click here.

Production and Consumption

The post-colonial theme of “production and consumption” refers to the production and consumption of cultural products, both textual and material, within a society.
The production of these cultural products is underpinned by power – in the case of colonialism, the cultural products of the more politically powerful colonizer were distributed in the world of the colonized. The creation of cultural products is based on the power and resources available for its production. In the post-colonial context of limited resources, it is often the case that the most dominant cultural products (literary texts especially) are not those of the post-colonial subject, but those of the colonizer (Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin 2006:397-398).The cultural products of the colonized are limited because often there aren’t enough power or resources to produce them (Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin 2006, 397-398).

In post-colonial study, material commodities are said to represent social forms and distributions of knowledge. One example of this is the advertising and consumption of soap promoted by Britain in its colonies. Soap, according to Anne McClintock, is representative of Britain’s “civilizing mission” in its promotion of purification (“moral and economic salvation”) and in the way its entry into markets was facilitated by the powers of the British Empire (McClintock 2006:413-416).

In the context of the South African Zionist Church, the colonizer was primarily made up of people of British and Dutch descent (A short history of South Africa). However, it can be said that the major cultural power holders at the founding of the church were primarily Dutch and American missionaries. While they did not wield national, political, or economic power, they did hold power to influence the politics and culture of the first Zionist church (Christianity in Africa South of the Sahara: Zionism).

The Zionist Church has found ways to either adapt Western forms of cultural production to their context or outright reject them. There are certain cultural forms that the Zionist Church has accepted into its own tradition and appropriated for its own purposes.
The name, "ZION", for example, is a cultural production of the West, for it was originally extracted from Zion City, Illinois, from which came John Alexander Dowie, the assumed founder of the Zionist Church (Kalu 2006:206). The adoption of the name “Zion” for the emerging African Zionist Church was not out of compulsion or paternalism, but rather out of a spiritual conviction of freedom that the African members themselves attached to the name. Another cultural product adapted by the Zionist Church is the white robes donned by its clergy and members, signifying those who are part of Zion. While the white robes were said to originate from a vision witnessed by Michael Ngomezulu, an early leader, it is also known that a white robe was worn by the American founder John Alexander Dowie (Sundkler 1976:48).

Despite the acceptance of certain Western cultural products, it can be said that the Zionist Church produces and consumes predominantly African products.
One among many examples is the communal worship style used by the Zionists. In comparisons between the worship styles of the Zionist Church and the Lutheran Church in South Africa, Bendt Sundkler’s assessment was that “the Zionists also score heavily because of their form of worship. Their catchy songs and rhythm are more attractive than the slow-moving and difficult hymns of European hymns.”(Sundkler 1976:263). Along with “catchy songs and rhythm”, the Zionist form of communal worship involves distinctly African forms of expression such as “orality…the use of indigenous knowledge, symbols, and ritual resources.” The Cambridge History of Christianity terms the Zionist Church as having achieved a “liturgical revolution…by bringing traditional worship style into the church through song, dance, choruses, and indigenous instruments.” (Kalu 2006:208). In African culture, the leader of a homestead keeps a staff at his house. In the Zionist Church, staffs are used by the prophets and bishops as weapons that provide protection from evil because they are prayed over. They are also used as substitutes for the laying on of hands for prayer. There are different types of staffs made of wood, metal, or bronze (Maboea 1999:104-106). Flags that have been prayed over by the leaders of the church are used for various purposes: protection from evil spirits, as a symbol of the power of the Holy Spirit, to be placed at the houses of new members as motivation (Maboea 1999:112-113).

The use of certain commodities by the Zionist Church reflect “complex social forms and distributions of knowledge” as described in post-colonial study (Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin 2006:417-420).
The importance of “blessed water” in the healings of the Zionist Church, along with demonstrating a conflation of Biblical symbols and African beliefs, characterizes the spirituality in the Zionist culture. In cases of healing, members have been asked to drink water and then vomit it out, as a way of expelling the sickness from their bodies. This approach reflects the influence of traditional African religion on the Zionist Church; in traditional healing methods, “a patient must expel the 'death' that is in the stomach to be healed. The vomiting is believed to remove not only physical sickness but spiritual defilement also. The water is seen to represent purification from evil, sin, sickness and ritual pollution, concepts carried over from traditional thought."(Anderson 2000:194).The use of water in the act of healing informs the neutral observer not only of the influence of traditional African religion on the Zionist Church, but also the holistic worldview of the Zionists, who perceive sickness and healing to be have inextricably linked physical and spiritual dimensions.

Members of the Zionist Church reject modern medicine and instead use prayed-over ash and water for healing. Ash is considered to be clean and pure, becoming an agent for healing and protection from evil spirits after it has been prayed over. After being mixed with water, ash is drunk, used for baths, or posted on door posts and window frames. It is seen as symbolic of the power of G-d to heal. Other substances used during the healing process are lime, blue stone, epsom salts, milk, and blue soap (Maboea 1999:107-108). Like water and ash, tea and coffee which has been prayed over or specially made is used for healing purposes. The Zion Christian Church is known to produce special teas for healing, labeled in Sesotho as tea ya bophelo ("tea of life"). A member of the Zionist Church testifies that his child was healed from a deformity when the child was given the special tea mixed with special water (Anderson 2000:298).

  • A dream for the Zionist Church is for cultural products, such as songs, music, and other forms of worship and church life, to be developed and used within the church. A potential challenge is the loss of appreciation for uniquely Zionist cultural products by younger generations, especially as they are exposed in larger South African society to other, Western-influenced cultures. This problem can be mitigated through educating children on the cultural products specific to the Zionist Church. Similarly, there is a possibility that younger generations growing up in increasingly modern environments will lose the strong sense of physical-spiritual interdependence currently espoused by the Zionists. The continual exposure of younger generations to the healing practices of the Zionist Church will serve as a reminder to them of specific Zionist cultural beliefs.

  • Globalization, Environment, Religion

    Globalization is a process whereby individual lives and local communities are affected by economic and cultural forces operating world-wide. The rhetoric of globalization similarly focuses on the economic ‘backwardness’ of the 3rd world and the benefits these countries can achieve by being associated with the 1st world. The Zionist church, in the conservation and recapturing of indigenous religious practices, stands as a religio-cultural antithesis to globalization. Members of the Zionist do enjoy the positive features of globalization such as access to technology, information, services and markets that benefit their community. However, Zionists' resistance to globalization may be viewed as a consequence of the low economic status of most members, leaving them in many respects beyond the reach of globalization. Being unscathed by the influence of globalism has allowed the Zionists to form an almost purely indigenous religion.

    The Zionist Church in South Africa is an African church, with both African founders and leaders, and with no Western control (Anderson, 48). It is considered an African Initiated Church (AIC) that has successfully contextualized Christianity in the African context. Nonetheless, the Zionist Church still considers the Bible to be their governing authority. Allan Anderson says, “One of the central features of many of the Zionist and Pentecostal churches described here has been the rejection of key elements in traditional religion, particularly traditional divination and ancestor commemoration…” Anderson then refers to M.L. Daneel, who suggests that contextualization is not a "simplistic adaptation to traditional thought" but it is rather "an adaptation that, while displaying parallels with traditional religion, essentially implies a continuing confrontation with and creative transformation of traditional religion and values.” (Anderson, 309). While adapting aspects of traditional religion and values, the Zionist Church considers the Bible to be the “ultimate and absolute authority for faith, practice, and ethics.” (Anderson, 132).

    In ways similar to the reading of the Bible alongside other texts demonstrated in this section, the South African Zionist Church has found ways to relate traditional African religion, or texts so to speak, to Christianity. Two ways this happens is in the belief in ancestors and evil forces. In traditional African religion, ancestors play an important role in the daily lives of people. They are said to be benevolent, to provide guidance, and to give power to people so that they can pray (Anderson, 180). In this context, the belief the Zionists' belief in the Holy Spirit has great significance and is said to have taken over some of the functions of ancestors in traditional African religion (Anderson, 198). Also in traditional African religion is the strong belief in the presence of evil spirits (tokoloshe) beyond the control of human beings, sorcery, and witchcraft. This traditional African belief is met in Christianity by the belief in Satan and demons, and believers are comforted by the belief that Christians have been given authority over evil forces (Anderson, 216).
    The conservation of the environment has become a key issue in world politics. Though the West has been particularly responsible for the destruction of much land and countless numbers of species, neo-colonialism has brought about a new found environmentalism. Western environmentalists have often accused poor Africans in their struggle for survival as being insensitive to the environment (Ashcroft et al. 2006, 6). Zionists, in opposition to Western ideas of conservation, view themselves as integral parts of their environment and therefore entitled to equal participation in it. Furthermore, many of the Zionist religious practices involve the worship of nature. Though Zionists differ from Western environmentalists in their view of humanity's participation in the environment, it is not a part of their culture to encourage the degradation of the environment.

    Diaspora, Place

    Diaspora can be defined as “the combination of migrancy and continued cultural affiliation that characterizes many racial, ethnic, and national groups scattered throughout the world” (Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin 2006, 425). Post-colonial discourse explores the pain, dislocation, and positive cultural identification associated with the experience of diasporic peoples, who by living through both homeland and residence cultures, are said to be constantly reconstructing their identities. Diaspora can be said to be a certain type of “place”, which does not refer to a physical location, but rather to “a complex interaction of language, history, and environment.” (Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin 2006, 345).

    Because the traditional concept of “diaspora” has as a central feature the movement of people from one place to many places, it does not accurately describe the Zionist Church in South Africa and in other parts of southern Africa. The expansion of the Zionist Church did not occur primarily through the relocation of people, but through the conversion of people. It is true that leaders and missionaries of the Church moved to new places, but it was largely through conversion that the Church expanded in other parts of southern Africa. The introduction of Zionism from South Africa to Swaziland, for instance, is said to have had as its stimulus the conversion of Johanna Nxumalo, a Swazi in South Africa, and her invitation of Daniel Nkonyane, a prominent South African Zionist leader, to Swaziland (Sundkler 1976, 108). It is said that most converts to the Zionist church come from traditional African religious backgrounds, rather than from traditional mainline churches. Conversion is the primary means of growth, even more than biological growth through children, who often desert the church (Grundmann 2006, 257).

    Despite the lack of “dispersion” in its history, the Zionist Church can be said to be a diaspora based on a definition provided by Stuart Hall: “common historical experiences and shared cultural codes which provide…frames of reference and meaning”, yet within which there are differences (Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin 2006, 435) .
    There are in fact many differences between Zionist churches. Some Zionist churches believe in ancestors, while others throw out this cultural tradition. Yet the common historical experience of these churches is in their origin with P.L. Le Roux, a missionary previously with the Dutch Reformed Church but later with the Zion church (Sundkler 1976, 42). The common experience of the Zionist Church is also in the discrimination endured during apartheid. Zionist churches were not recognized by the Government, partly because they were in many cases poor and illiterate and unconnected to power, and significantly because they were Black-led rather than White-led churches (Sundkler 1976, 287).

  • Along with a common historical experience, the Zionist churches in South Africa have developed a distinct cultural code, distinguishing them greatly from other African-led churches. The Zionists are known for their emphasis on the healing experience, for their use of healing objects, for their white robes, and for various other cultural codes such as the prohibition of alcohol, pork, and tobacco (Anderson 2000, 137). In their sharing of a common historical experience and cultural code, the Zionist Church can be said to be a diaspora. The Zionist Church can also be said to be part of the larger “diaspora” of African Initiated Churches (AICs).

  • An AIC is described by one of its leaders as an “African Independent or Indigenous Church means a purely black-controlled denomination with no links in membership or administrative controls with any non-African church…the AICs are churches that have completely broken the umbilical cord with the western missionary enterprise.” (Elphick and Davenport 1997, 211).

    Statistics on the AIC Diaspora:
    Graph Zionist South Africa
    • In 1900, only about 0.3% (15,000) of South African Christians belonged to AIC churches. By 1970, the percentage rose to 20.9% (4,607,156) and in 1995 to 45% (16,966,992). (Grundmann 2006, 257).
    • The AICs are known to be the largest church denomination in South Africa, claiming 45% of the Christian population; within this grouping, the Zionist Church is known to be the largest (Grundmann 2006, 257).
    • Types of AIC churches (Grundmann 2006, 257-258):
      • "Ethiopian": these churches are fully African in origin, hierarchy, and church government. They are said to have a "pointed African agenda" but are shaped in structure according to historic European mission churches.
      • "Messianic": in these churches is an African "messiah" who is seen as bringing liberation from bondage.
      • "Full Gospel" or "Apostolic Faith Mission": offsprings from Pentecostal initiatives
      • "Churches of the spirit": the Zionist churches fit into this category, which emphasize prophets and healing.
    • It is difficult to count exactly the number of Zionist churches, because of their diversity and with regard to their official recogition status. However, it is known that there are at least 10,000 Zionist congregations in South Africa. (Grundmann 2006, 257).
    • The Zionist Church is also the largest component (80%) of all African Initiated Churches in Africa (Grundmann 2006, 257).
    • The Zionist Church exists not only in South Africa, but also in other countries of southern Africa, such as Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe (Grundmann 2006, 257).
    Within the “diaspora” of AICs, the Zionist Church has a dominant “place”, based on its large numbers. This means that the Church has the power to define the identity of indigenous African churches, and to have a tremendous impact on their future. Within the “diaspora” of African Christianity, the Zionist Church has created a new and indigenous identity. In its adaptation of Christianity to African religious belief, the Zionist Church has, among African churches of a Pentecostal nature, been deemed to have “departed most radically from Western Christianity.” (Anderson 2000, 32). This departure has led to the alienation of the Zionist Church from other churches; some Pentecostal churches see the Zionists as “needing to be saved.” (Anderson 2000, 37).

  • The Zionists have succeeded in creating for themselves a new “place” in the spectrum of African Christianity. Some have praised the South African Zionist Church in its contribution to African theology: “Contextualization…is not 'a simplistic adaptation to traditional thought', nor is it 'accommodation in the Roman Catholic sense of the word', but it is rather 'an adaptation that, while displaying parallels with traditional religion, essentially implies a continuing confrontation with and creative transformation of traditional religion and values.'” (Anderson 2000, 309).

  • A dream for the Zionist Church is that it will remain faithful to the Christian faith, considering its enormous influence over indigenous African churches. Faithfulness to Christianity will mean that the Zionist Church, while adopting components of African religion, will not prioritize tradition over faith.
    Another dream is that the Zionist Church would expand into other parts of Africa, increasing the dimensions of its “diaspora” and bringing the gospel message to many other Africans who have resisted the Christian faith because of Western versions of Christianity that have been forced upon them or their communities. The Zionist Church is in an influential position to spread the message of Christ to people that are otherwise inaccessible to mainline Western-connected churches.

    Language, Body & Performance

    Zionist South Africa - Church in Mission @ FTSThe effects of the colonial language on the colonized of South Africa has left a myriad of confusion that exists even to this day. The entire continent has seen itself enveloped with conflicts of one ethnic group rising against each other due to language differences and ethnic cultures. It must be known in this post- colonial discourse that while language should be addressed, the need for lasting peace may likely be illusive at this point. Great damage has been enacted by colonizers, as well as by foreign missionaries, who collectively viewed and treated the African people and their language as inferior.
    However, work of the mission in the 21st century has to be sensitive to the impact of language in Africa and other parts of the world. Language is a fundamental site of struggle for post-colonial discourse because the colonial process itself begins in language. The control over language by the imperial power achieved it’s goal by displacing native languages, by installing itself as a 'standard' against other variants which are constituted as 'impurities', or by planting the language of empire in a new place which became the potent instrument of culture control. Language provided the terms by which reality was constituted; it provided the names by which the world had to be known or may be 'known'. “Its system of values - its suppositions, its geography, its concept of history, of difference, its myriad graduations of distinction - becomes the system upon which social, economic and political discourses are grounded.” reference?
    Today most Africans cannot be certain of their own history because their history is told in a language that has no connection to their own tongue. The entire continent has the name “AFRICA”, which has no historical significance to the Africans themselves because it is a name given by and known from the colonialist. South Africa and the Zionist movement have suffered this same fate.
    Most states in South Africa are known by their Dutch or English names, even the name South African was given by the colonial language of the British. The original name of Azania is no longer a reality, the only reality is true the prism of the colonial baggage.
    The Zionist movement went from its original apostolic name to an imperialist name of identity from Zion City, in Chicago. (Sugitharajah 2006, 211)

    Zionist Doctrines

    Their main emphases include: (1) commitment to faith-healing; (2) baptism in the river or sea; and (3) the gift of tongues (Hastings 1994, 499-500). Their dedication to faith-healings by the power of the Holy Spirit led to their condemning of folk medicine as witchcraft. Their baptisms include full immersion (Makhubu 1988, 37), and they disapprove of infant baptism (Elphick 1997, 224).
    The duality of spiritual warfare – namely between good vs. evil, and Jesus vs. Satan – is also a prominent theme among the Zionists, as with other Pentecostals. Zionists also affirm the Pentecostal tenets of the imminent return of Jesus and “the pre-eminent values of the nuclear family,” the latter disfavoring of feminism and homosexuality (Morris 2006, 187).
    The Bible is interpreted as a guide for daily life of the Zionist members, who consider themselves closer to the Bible than other denominations (Elphick, 224). They relate the Bible directly to their troubles (Anderson 2000, 138).
    Most of the African Independent Churches (AICs) respect and honor their ancestors. They do believe in ancestral spirits but most of them do not worship them (Makhubu 1988, 60).

    The Zionists have a number of symbols that are significant in their religion. One is a Holy Mountain, where one can feel closer to heaven. Another symbol is water, a symbol of cleansing and purification (Isichei 1995, 314). Other symbols include trees, stones, and candles (Elphick 1997, 224). Like some other prophetic-type churches, the Zionists also have a ‘Holy City’ (an earthly Zion) (Isichei 1995, 313).

    Most of the churches are founded by a prophetic man or woman who ends up functioning more of as a healer than a preacher (Isichei 1995, 313). They tend to be charismatic and at times have supposedly performed miracles (Elphick 1997, 222). Due to the intertwining emphasis on religious leadership and musical ability, the church leaders are expected to lead the congregation with their musical abilities (Kitshoof 1996, 175). Most of the Zionist church leaders have strong voices and musical ability that is used to lead the congregation to higher levels of spiritual empowerment through worship (Kitshoof 1996, 178).

    The church services are lively affairs that include the wearing of uniforms, extravagant prayers, dancing, and the usage of drums and symbolic instruments (Elphick 1997, 224). Sermons are based upon what the Bible directly or implicitly teaches (Anderson, 131). In the Zion Christian Church, several men usually preach during the service (Anderson 2000, 129).

    Soweto Gospel ChoirMusic – specifically singing – plays a major part in the church service. There are two types of singing: spiritual singing (ukucula kukamoya) and general congregational singing (ukucula nje okujwayelekile). The spiritual singing is led by the senior people in the church; that is the priests and church mothers. The evangelists, preachers, and young adults lead the general congregation singing. Songs are usually not led by new members or children (Kitshoof 1996, 173).
    The spiritual singing is considered the highest form of worship and takes on a slow tempo and thus is very emotional (Kitshoof 1996, 173-174). Actions include yawning, speaking in tongues, prophesying, sweating, crying, and laying low to the ground (Kitshoof, 174). It is at this climactic time that a number of healings take place, although not at every service. Hymns are sung during the church services and also at funerals (Makhubu 1988, 71-72).

    One of the most popular church functions is the healing ceremony, which is public to both members and non-members of the church. The ceremony is organized to cure someone any kind of problem; be it social, psychological, or physical (Kitshoof 1996, 165-166). The religious leaders perform the healing in the ceremony after the best course of action has been determined (Kitshoof 1996, 166). Singing and dancing are also part of the ceremony (Kitshoof 1996, 165). The specific elements used in the healing ceremonies include water, seawater, ash, salt, white vinegar, bluestone, olive oil, and girdles and sashes (Makhubu 1988, 78-84).
    In addition to the healing of humans, the Zionists also believe that the environment can be healed; even at the same time as the person (Elphick 1997, 224). Cleansing ceremonies also happen near rivers or the sea (Makhubu 1988, 10).

    Zionists often wear robes that are white (purity), blue (water), or green (vegetation) all of which symbolize group identity and the wilderness of human life (Isichei 1995, 313). Other robe colors include khaki (dust) and red (blood of the Lamb) (Elphick 1997, 224). Star and moon-shaped ribbons or patches can sometimes be found on the back of the robes (Makhubu 1988, 10). Crosses are often worn or carried by members (Elphick 1997, 224). Zionists can also be seen carrying a bundle of sticks tied together by wool cords (Makhubu 1988, 10). In an attempt to look like the Biblical prophets, men typically do not shave their facial hair (Makhubu, 10).

    Although at the present moment there are no in-depth studies which have been undertaken to examine the healing function of African Independent Churches, the fact that they are accessible to members of the community puts them in a much stronger position. They have “special powers” but are still part of the community. They share joys and sorrows of their so-called patients. Although they have faith in God, they still uphold cultural teachings. For them the world is an integrated whole. (Kitshoof 1996, 168) Zionist congregations, which easily and often transform to reach this level of Christian expression, grow numerically and spiritually, because the ultimate aim of Zionist Christian worship is to understand man’s relationship to man and to God and Christ. It is also to solve the daily problems of the church members and make them understand life more clearly. People identify with congregations which match with these ideals. (Kitshoof 1996, 175)

    The African Pentecostal and Zionist churches provide Africans with the same sort of holistically relevant religion, meeting daily existential needs in similar ways to their traditional folk religions. In fact, this new form of African Christianity went even further towards providing answers to these needs, filling the vacuum left by Western, imported
    types of Christianity.
    (Anderson 2000, 127)

    The belief in the truth of the Bible is a very important part of the faith of Pentecost and Zion.
    A ZCC member, for example, said that the Bible was God’s message and a map of our lives. Everything about us was revealed in the Bible. The purpose of the Bible was to teach about God and what God was saying today. Another ZCC member said that the Bible was a book that gave us ‘God’s words’. Yet another commented that the Bible was a guide of how to live. (Anderson 2000, 128) One member statedthat the Bible strengthened and helped a person encountering problems. Another Zionist said that the purpose of the Bible was to teach people the word of God, and to reveal the good and the bad things in life so that people could choose for themselves how to live (Anderson 2000, 130). ZCC members are taught how to give to the church; and it is one of the strongest self-supporting indigenous churches in the country.

    In Zionist churches members also perceive the church to be based on the Bible. Preachers use it to exhort people to love one another and be faithful to the church and, in some cases, to confront both the traditional religion and other churches (Anderson 2000, 131).


    • A William Branham Double Anointing. 2008. In The Voice Blog: The Voice Magazine.
    • A short history of South Africa. 2008. The International Marketing Council of South Africa [cited November 9 2008]. Available from http://www.southafrica.info/about/history/history.htm.
    • "African Initiated Church." Wikipedia. (cited November 8, 2008). Available at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Initiated_Church
    • Anderson, Allan. 2000. Zion and Pentecost : the spirituality and experience of Pentecostal and Zionist/Apostolic churches in South Africa, African initiatives in Christian mission;. Pretoria: University of South Africa.
    • Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin, eds. 2006. The Post-Colonial Studies Reader. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.
      Christianity in Africa South of the Sahara: Zionism. 2008. Bethel University (cited November 8, 2008). Available at:http://www.bethel.edu/~letnie/AfricanChristianity/SSAZionism.html.
    • Daneel, M.L. 1970. Zionism and Faith-healing in Rhodesia: aspects of African independent churches. 's-Gravenhage: Mouton.
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    • Grundmann, Christoffer H. 2006. "Heaven Below Here and Now! The Zionist Churches in Southern Africa". International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church. 6 (3):256-259.
    • Hastings, Adrian. 1994. The Church in Africa 1450-1950. New York: Oxford University Press Inc.
    • Hofmeyr, JW and G.J. Pillay, ed. 1994. History of Christianity in South Africa. Pretoria: HAUM Tertiary.
    • Hope, Marjorie and James Young. 1981. The South African churches in a Revolutionary Situation. Maryknoll: Orbis Books.
    • Isichei, Elizabeth. 1995. A History of Christianity in Africa: From Antiquity to the Present. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
    • Kalu, Ogbu U. 2006. African Christianity: from the world wars to decolonisation In The Cambridge History of Christianity, edited by H. McLeod. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Kitshoof, M.C., ed. 1996. African Independent Churches Today: Kaleidoscope of Afro-Christianity. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press.
    • Maboea, Sello Isaiah. 1999. The Influence of Numinous Power in the African Traditional Religion and the Zionist Churches in Soweto - A Comparative Study, School of Religion and Culture, University of Durban-Westville.
    • Makhubu, Paul. 1988. Who are the Independent Churches?Johannesburg: Skotaville Publishers.
    • McClintock, Anne. 2006. Soft-Soaping Empire. In The Post-Colonial Studies Reader edited by B. Ashcroft, G. Griffiths and H. Tiffin. London: Routledge.
    • Morris, Brian. 2006. Religion and Anthropology: A Critical Introduction. New York: Cambridge University Press.
    • Sundkler, Bengt. 1976. Zulu Zion and some Swazi Zionists London: Oxford University Press.
    • Sugirtharajah, R.S.Voices from the Margin. New York: Orbis Books, 2006
    • Venter, Dawid. 2004. Engaging modernity:methods and cases for studying African independent churches in South Africa. Westport : Praeger Publishers.
    • "Zion Christian Church." Wikipedia. (cited November 8, 2008). Available at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zion_Christian_Church

    Supplemental Resources:

    Informational video on South African Zionist Church
    Zionist South Africa - Church in Mission @ FTSZionist South Africa - Church in Mission @ FTSZionist South Africa - Church in Mission @ FTS

    Zionist South Africa - Church in Mission @ FTSZionist South Africa - Church in Mission @ FTS

    Zionist South Africa - Church in Mission @ FTS

    Zionist South Africa - Church in Mission @ FTS

    Data is from:
    Venter, Dawid, ed. Engaging Modernity: Methods and Cases for Studying African Independent Churches in South Africa. Westport, CT: 2004.

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