African Gifts of the Spirit — 2007

Pentecostalism and the Rise of a Zimbabwean Transnational Religious Movement

By David Maxwell

“This is a pathbreaking major work tracing the tangled roots of a significant religious movement in Zimbabwe and beyond.… Richly documented, it explores the relation between social rupture of conversion, and links changes to the movement to historical events from the Great Depression to the rise of independence, and the impact of neo-liberalism. It is a required read.”

David Martin, Professor Emeritus, London School of Economics

“(David Maxwell) should be commended for enriching historical analysis with ethnographic insights and forging a balance between appreciation and critical interrogation.”

Religious Studies Review

“This is a wide-ranging book that succeeds in remaining coherently focused. The author’s beautifully crafted narrative always brings the story back to ZAOGA’s distinctive elements of grass-roots proselytisation and divine healing, and how these aims were served, in chapters that take the reader through a hundred years of global Pentecostalism and African political and social history. Maxwell’s work has (again) set an exemplary standard in the writing of African religious history.”

Canadian Journal of African Studies

Show all quotes

This book considers the rise of born-again Christianity in Africa through a study of one of the most dynamic Pentecostal movements. David Maxwell traces the transformation of the prophet Ezekiel Guti and his prayer band from small beginnings in the townships of the 1950s into the present-day transnational business enterprise, which is now the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God. Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa claims one and a half million members in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa and has branches in other African countries, Europe, and the United States. African Gifts of the Spirit illuminates Africa’s relations with American Christianities, black and white.

David Maxwell, past editor of the Journal of Religion in Africa, is a professor at the University of Keele.

Cover of 'African Gifts of the Spirit'

Downloads & Links