Anyone who’s a regular early morning beachgoer is likely to have seen those curious groups of people dressed in white performing baptisms in the rather choppy Indian Ocean. You might also have driven past those circles of white stones dotted around Durban’s public spaces, and wondered what they mean. Well if you have a curious mind and an interest in the dynamics between religion and colonialism, Joel E. Tishken’s new book on Isaiah Shembe, the founder of the Zulu Nazareth Baptist Church (popularly referred to as Shembe), might make for an interesting read. The book considers Shembe’s perspective on colonialism and puts forward a theory that Shembe believed colonial South Africa, British imperialism and white supremacy were part of God’s cosmic vision to provide atonement and salvation for Africans.
Click here to read a synopsis of the book, Isaiah Shembe’s Prophetic Uhlanga: The Worldview of the Nazareth Baptist Church in Colonial South Africa.