The East African Revival

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The East African Revival was a renewalist movement that spread during the 1930s from Uganda and Rwanda into Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Congo, and South Sudan. It is known as the Balokole movement from the Luganda word for “saved ones” (wokovu in Swahili). Its members attempted to reform mission-initiated churches from within by emphasizing an internalized Christian faith, high ethical standards, strong bonds of corporate fellowship, and the prominence of lay leadership. Women were able to assert greater moral and spiritual authority within the Revival than had become common outside it. Its vision of a transnational community of Christians acted as a critique to ethnonationalist views current in East Africa in the mid-20th century. The same vision also influenced global evangelical movements. The Revival possessed a number of strands, although a strong mainstream element has influenced the historiography of the movement as a largely unified and cosmopolitan form of evangelical Christianity. The Revival maintained momentum into the 1990s and remains a pervasive influence on the language, morals, and spiritual practice of Protestant churches in East Africa, even as newer Pentecostal movements make an impact on the region.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Research Encylcopedia of African History
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2021


  • revival
  • renewalist
  • transnational
  • evangelical
  • salvation
  • Uganda
  • Rwanda
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania


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