oa Missionalia : Southern African Journal of Mission Studies - Images of Isaiah Shembe: An appraisal of the views of Mthembeni Mpanza

Volume 32, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-9507



Isaiah Shembe, founder of the lsanto lamaNazaretha, has been variously interpreted by scholars of African Indigenous Christianity. Some have called him a Zulu Messiah, others have doubted his sincerity and seen him as a false prophet in the tradition of Mlanjeni and Nongqawuse. Following the collapse of the 'post-Christianity' debate started by the likes of G.C. Oosthuizen, more recent scholarship has explained the significance of Isaiah Shembe not only in terms of the religious tradition he formulated, but also the pervasive spirit that continues to perpetuate the Shembe faith.

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