What is it about?

This paper examines the rise of messianism among the Pokot people of northwestern Kenya during British colonial rule. It tells the story of how the Pokot as agents interpreted different ways of explaining cosmological reality presented to them; the indigenous and the Christian. The end result of this agentic intervention was the formation of a distinctively African Christianity.

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Why is it important?

This paper is important because it offers a revisionist interpretation of messianism in Pokot. Previous scholarship had analysed the rise of a messianic movement in Pokot using theories of nationalism and thus treated it as a nationalistic movement. This paper foregrounds the religious intentions of the movement.


This paper gave me the opportunity as a student of religion to analyse the rise of messianism in Pokot from a religious angle. Historians highlight the nationalistic aspect of the movement without telling us the role of religious agency in the rise of Dini ya Yomot. This paper allowed me to give a different interpretation.

Karani Shiyuka
Kenyatta University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Inscribing Agency in Religious Change, Journal of Religion in Africa, October 2022, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/15700666-12340244.
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