ASCL Seminar: ‘The memory of persecution is in our blood’: documenting loyalties, identities and motivations to political action in the Ugandan Pentecostal Movement

Local church in Uganda. Photo credits: Rod Weddington (via Wikimedia Commons).
This event will be held online. All registrees will receive a link to the online platform one day before the start of the event. 
Much attention has been paid to the growth of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity in Uganda and the way it has shifted over the past decades from being a minority religion to influencing and shaping the Ugandan public and political spheres. Most of the literature, however, associates the Pentecostal-charismatic dynamic public action with their motivation to promote conservative Christian values, especially around issues of sexuality, HIV/AIDS, reproduction and family values. This presentation extends to this literature by providing a fuller explanation for the reasons behind their public transformation and their relation to power, in particular their loyalty to and support for President Museveni. 
Drawing on participant observation and interviews conducted over several years, in this presentation Dr Barbara Bompani (University of Edinburgh) will argue that along with theological and moral explanations, it is important to understand how local and contextual dynamics interplay. Indeed, the uncertainties and memories of the difficult origins of the Pentecostal-charismatic movement and the lack of legal recognition as fully registered churches, still impact on the present and motivate them to be catalytic socio-political actors in need to forge strong connections with centres of power in Museveni Uganda.

Dr Barbara Bompani is a Reader in Africa and International Development at the Centre of African Studies in the School of Social and Political Science, the University of Edinburgh, and a Research Associate at the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Dr Bompani’s work focuses on the intersections between religion, politics and development in Africa and on the way religion shapes the everyday lives of African citizens. For many years her research has investigated the relationship between religious organizations and their activities and socio-political action in post-apartheid South Africa. She has also been involved in a research project looking at Christian churches in Kenya and their role in promoting agricultural biotechnology for development. Since 2012 she is researching the role of Pentecostal-charismatic churches in framing the public and political discourse around morality, sexuality and nationhood in Uganda, while more recently she is leading a project on LGBT Ugandan refugees in Kenya.

Date, time and location

27 January 2022
15.30 - 17.00
Online event