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Conversion and the Problem of Discontinuity in the East African Revival

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 July 2018

School of Historical, Philosophical & Religious Studies, Arizona State University, 975 S. Myrtle Avenue, PO Box 874302, Tempe, Az 85287, USA; e-mail:


This essay focuses upon particular elements of testimonies within the East African Revival in late colonial Uganda, giving analytical priority to the voice-hearing experiences of converts that often precipitated their conversion. While conversion within this movement aligns broadly with recent interest in discontinuity in Christian conversion, this essay highlights the roles of non-Christian spirits in fomenting radical religious change, including conversion to the East African Revival movement. It argues that the very experiences which occasioned these revivalists’ radical breaks with their past ways of life also established metaphysical continuity with them.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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Interviews included in the ‘East African Revival interviews’ series, currently held at the Bishop Tucker School of Theology Library, were conducted in the early 1970s, most likely in relation to Catherine Robins's research for her dissertation, although the interviewer is not specifically listed for each interview.

With special thanks to Professor Richard Fox Young.


1 Erina Rwakatagoro interview, Kitojo-Buyanja, 16 July 1971, East African Revival interviews, folder 3, UCU.

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31 Z. Mateeka and M. Magole interview, Butobere, 22 Feb. 1972, East African Revival interviews, folder 1, UCU.

32 Bruner, Living salvation.

33 [?] Rwamfiizi interview, Muyebe, 29 Sept. 1971, East African Revival interviews, folder 2, UCU.

34 Y. Betsimbire interview, Kyamakandu, 19 July 1971, and Y. Rwakatagoro interview, Kitojo-Buyanja, 16 July 1971, ibid. folder 3.

35 J. Kabarebe interview, Muyebe, 29 Sept. 1971, ibid. folder 2.

36 E. Ruhindi interview, Kamwezi, 27 Sept. 1971, ibid.

37 F. Bugaare interview, n.p., 19 July 1971, ibid. folder 3.

38 Church circular letter, 16 Apr. 1937, JEC 3/1/32.

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