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Ecstatic Spirituality in Kigezi, Ruanda and
Western Tanganyika c.1933 – 1940:
Censorship, Control and the Ruanda

UDY, BENJAMIN,JOSIAH,DAVID (2013) Ecstatic Spirituality in Kigezi, Ruanda and
Western Tanganyika c.1933 – 1940:
Censorship, Control and the Ruanda
Masters thesis, Durham University.

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This study concerns the occurrence and subsequent control of ecstatic phenomena in Ruanda and Kigezi during the beginnings of the East African Revival, with particular reference to 1935-1937, and in Tanganyika, 1939-1940. It investigates the spiritual and theological background of the Ruanda Mission (the Anglican Church Missionary Society organisation that operated in Ruanda and Kigezi from 1921) and how their predetermined theologies, inherited from the Keswick Movement and Cambridge University, defined what they expected to see in the spiritual experiences of the mission adherents on their stations. The misinterpretation of what ‘revival’ was led missionaries to ignore many aspects of African spirituality, choosing instead to see them as indicative of ‘heathenism’. When unusual phenomena of an ecstatic nature took place during major Bible conventions (1933, 1935) their belief in the ‘superiority’ of missionary Christianity encouraged a ‘re-interpretation’ of this behaviour through an evangelical belief system, rather than the acceptance of it for what it was. This ‘re-interpretation’ allowed the continued missionary ambivalence towards ecstaticism for a further three years until a major outbreak of ecstatic behaviour in the summer of 1936. The absence of any Bible conventions at this time, the threat of division in the mission and a difficult relationship with the Bishop of Uganda and the colonial government, made worse by the remarkable similarities between this ecstaticism and the politically-charged ‘Nyabingi’ spirit cult, ensured that the decision was eventually taken to control and censor the behaviour. Although censorship was successful from c.1937 the phenomena re-emerged in 1939, this time in CMS stations in western Tanganyika. Pressure from the Bishops of Uganda and Tanganyika, combined with the protective attitude of Dr Church and his ‘party’ of Revivalists toward their message, ensured that external control was applied to bring the phenomena to an end, this time for the last time.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:East African Revival; Ecstaticism; Pentecostalism; Ruanda; Rwanda; Tanganyika; Tanzania; Uganda; Kigezi; CMS; Church Missionary Society; Missionary; Mission; African Christianity; Nyabingi; Joe Church; Keswick; Cambridge; Pentecostalism
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:06 Jan 2014 11:32

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