African-initiated religious groups in colonial time have been discussed in different contexts. Scholars stressed their impotance as „a place to feel at home“ (Welburn) in a period of deep economic, political and social changes, their ways of developing anticolonial protest and their opportunities in opposing white missionary cultural arrogance. The proposed paper will deal with a religious group in terms of its social, political and religious meaning as well, but also with its function as a space to produce and an vehicle to transport popular culture. The Dini ya Msambwa was founded in Western Kenya in the 1940ies. Its founder Elijah Masinde was a young man and a famous former football-player. Masinde received the order from God to create a religion to which polygynists, men and women, young and old alike could belong to. Furthermore Masinde was told, that he himself was the new black Messiah and that all Europeans would soon leave the country. The message soon found many followers, especially among young people. Members of the movement, dressed in special uniforms, preached on market places to spread the message. Their songs became very popular. Belonging to the movement was connected to certain ways of cooking, eating, dressing, healing and cleaning, often resuscitating traditional manners. Masinde attributed great importance to traditional custums giving thereby himself and his religion a certain legitimacy. Tradition was connected to the refusal of everything European, including European colonial power in Africa. At the same time the movement appropriated Christian and Islamic symbols, rituals and ideas, put them in new contexts of meanings and created a new religious culture. Considering the remarkable number of members belonging to the circumcision group of Elijah Masinde and the young members in general in the 1940ies, it can be argued, that Dini ya Msambwa was not only a religious movement but also a youth movement. In creating their own signs and norms they developed a counter-society (Buijtenhuijs), which can be understood as the creation of a youth culture, separating the Dini ya Msambwa from their outsiders. Dini ya Msambwa is not only an example for the close relation between religion and culture. It also shows the importance of such movements to make und hold precolonial culture and history valued and popular while creating a hybrid culture of appropriation and protest. -- Religion, Protest and Culture in Western Kenya by Christiane Reichart-Burikukiye.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Check this out.
I saw this photo on Drudge and was fascinated. Who is it that all these folks are praying to? I mean, it doesn't have to be the God of Abraham and David. Some of the most fervent praying I've ever seen was in a casino in front of slot machines. So I did some research and maybe I have a candidate: