The Scriptures of the AmaNazaretha of EkuphaKameni


144 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-895176-33-6
DDC 289.9




Edited by Irving Hexman
Translated by Londa Shembe and Hans-Jürgen Becken
Reviewed by Gildas Roberts

Gildas Roberts is the author of Gander Snatch.


Over 30 percent of Black South Africans, and perhaps a majority of Black
South African Christians, are members of indigenous (or independent)
churches—Christian churches that have been shaped by the African soul.
The largest indigenous Black Christian church in South Africa is the
Zion Christian Church, which has a membership of five million. This
volume is concerned with the inspired holy writing of the EKuphaKameni
amaNazaretha, 500,000 strong and sometimes called the Zulu Baptist

One would never realize from reading editor Irving Hexman’s
introduction, with its extreme anti-white bias, that the Zion Christian
Church royally received, in the 1980s, the then State-President P.W.
Botha and his wife at its annual Easter celebrations in its holy city of
Moria in the Northern Transvaal. To be fair, Hexman does make the valid
point that while the indigenous churches were in large measure
quietistic, we should not confuse “the rhetoric of liberation theology
for real liberation and therefore undervalue the actual contribution of
the Independent Churches in freeing their members from psychological and
economic domination by Whites.”

Following Hexman’s introduction is Professor G.C. Oosterhuizen’s
truly masterly essay on the theology of Londa Shembe and the
amaNazaretha of EKuphaKameni; the scriptions of the amaNazaretha
EKuphaKameni, written by the founding Prophet, Isaiah Shembe, and
translated for the first time into English by his grandson, the late Rt.
Rev. Londa Shembe, the third Prophet; and the hymns of Londa Shembe,
translated into English by Dr. Hans-Jьrgen Becken. Hexman stresses that
“for hundreds of thousands of Africans these works are as important
as, if not more important than, the Bible.” It is for this reason that
annotated translations must be gratefully and reverently received not
only by Christians but also by those who wish to understand the forces
shaping the new South Africa.


“The Scriptures of the AmaNazaretha of EkuphaKameni,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 24, 2024,