Emma Wild-WoodDec 25, 2022
The Mission of Apolo Kivebulaya
Religious Encounter and Social Change in the Great Lakes C. 1865-1935
James Currey 2020
The Mission of Apolo Kivebulaya: Religious Encounter and Social Change in the Great Lakes c.1865-1935 (James Currey, 2020) is a vivid portrayal of Kivebulaya's life that interrogates the role of indigenous agents as harbingers of change under colonization, and the influence of emerging polities in the practice of Christian faiths. Apolo Kivebulaya was a practitioner of indigenous religion and a Muslim before he became in 1895 a Christian missionary from Buganda to Toro and Ituri. He is still admired as a churchman and missionary in the Anglican churches of Uganda, Congo, Tanzania and Kenya, and is a significant civic figure in school curricula in Uganda. This book provides insight into religious encounter in the Great Lakes region of Africa, in which individuals like Kivebulaya remade themselves through conversion to Christianity and re-ordered social relations through preaching a transnational religion which brought technological advantage.
In re-examining Apolo's life the author reveals the historic social processes and the cultural motivations which provoked religious and socio-political change in colonial east Africa. She explores the processes of his religious adherence, his travels and church planting, his commitment to Bible translation and its role in developing national sensibilities, and his engagement with missionaries, the Ganda political elite, and the peoples of the Ituri forest, as well as British and Belgian colonial polities. Kivebulayautilized Christian repertoires of memory-making - the Bible, hymns, prayers and fellowship - in creating communities of disciples, and was instrumental in creating new forms of Christian identity in the region, fashioned by levelsof acceptance and resistance. By focusing on the role of indigenous agents as harbingers of change, the author offers a new perspective on the history of the northern Great Lakes region of Africa.
Byung Ho Choi is a Ph.D. candidate in the History and Ecumenics program at Princeton Theological Seminary, concentrating in World Christianity and history of religions. His research focuses on the indigenous expressions of Christianities found in Southeast Asia, particularly Christianity that is practiced in the Muslim-dominant archipelagic nation of Indonesia. More broadly, he is interested in history and the anthropology of Christianity, complexities of religious conversion and social identity, inter-religious dialogue, ecumenism, and World Christianity.
Sun Yong Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History and Ecumenics, studying World Christianity and history of religions at Princeton Theological Seminary. Her research interests center on the history of Christianity in East Asia, Korea in particular. She is especially interested in women’s experiences in their mission encounters and their participation in the formation of Christianity and social changes. Her research expands to social theory of religion and indigenous religions.