The Worldview of the Nazareth Baptist Church in Colonial South Africa. My book’s central contribution to knowledge concerns a rethinking of how scholars view colonized communities. I challenge nationalist and postcolonialist discourses about colonized populations that have viewed empire and its consequences as the prime determinants of colonized individuals’ lives. Instead I argue that the worldview embraced by Shembe and his congregants was prophetically defined and reified. At the heart of the narrative Shembe and church members told of themselves was a sincere and faithful conviction that Shembe was God’s anointed prophet and his followers God’s new chosen people. Therefore, within their understanding of colonial South Africa, British imperialism and white supremacy were part of God’s cosmic vision to provide atonement and salvation for Africans – plans they believed God was prophetically communicating to Shembe. The historical narrative, theology, and identity of Shembe and his parishioners revolved around this prophetically prescribed explanation for the conditions of colonial Africa.
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