Scholars of New Religious Movements in Malawi (Chakanza 1991; Pauw 1993) have divided the mergence of African Initiated Churches into four phases. The first phase includes churches that were founded by Malawians: in the colonial period, from 1880 to 1964. The second phase is marked by political independence in Malawi in 1964. The third phase is associated with the establishment of interdenominational revival groups. The fourth 'phase was in the'mid 1,980s which saw the rise of Charismatic and Pentecostal interdenominational movements.
The history of women's Christian spirituality can be traced through many ages. The Jesus movement and the early Christian missionary movement, which included female leaders, challenged the prevailing patriarchal order. Jesus not only associated with women, but touched and was touched by them even when they were considered ritually unclean.
African Initiated Churches have grown rapidly during the twentieth century throughout the African continent, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa alone an estimated 6,000 AICs represent between 30 and 40 percent of the total black population and close to 50 percent of Black Christianity. The Zion Christian Church of Bishop Lekganyane, with its headquarters at Pietersburg, grows faster today than any other church in the country.