n Missionalia : Southern African Journal of Mission Studies - Religion as heritage : traditional shrines and African Initiated Churches in Zimbabwe

Volume 37, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-9507



This article considers African Traditional Religion and African Initiated Churches (AICs) as important elements of African cosmology. It places the lack of attention to AICs in the broader context of the neglect of African religious heritage within the discourse of heritage protection in colonial and post-colonial Zimbabwe. Since the early twentieth century, AICs have increased in numbers and influence in Southern Africa. The activities of these churches have often been tainted by the media, which focuses on negative aspects of some members or sects. This has created a negative image of these churches, thereby challenging their legitimacy. Across Southern Africa, AICs manifest a conspicuous presence in the rural and urban landscapes, under trees, on hills and open spaces. The article describes the various material objects used by selected AICs and considers these artefacts as a crucial link between traditional religion and this form of Christianity.

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