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The Life and Ministry of Prophet Garrick Sokari Braide

Elijah the Second of Niger Delta, Nigeria (c. 1882-1918)

Chinonyerem Chijioke Ekebuisi

This study investigates the life and activities of Garrick Sokari Idikatima Braide, an African prophet, missionary and revivalist, in the evangelization of the Niger Delta area of Nigeria from 1890 to 1920. The book focuses on Braide’s revival movement and its impact on the mainstream churches and the grassroots spread of Christianity, which reached over a million people in an area where the progress of Christianity had been very slow. Overall, the book reinterprets reports and publications on Garrick Braide in order to highlight African initiatives in the Christian evangelization of Nigeria. It also traces the chronological developments in Braide’s ministry and the reasons behind his conflict with the Niger Delta Pastorate Board and his persecution by the colonial administration. The book further contributes to the debate on the reasons for the mass conversion of the Igbo to Christianity in the early decades of the twentieth century and the African origin of Pentecostalism in general.
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Chapter One: Introduction

Extract

CHAPTER ONE

In 1916, three prominent British newspapers featured the activities of an obscure man from Africa in their editorials, an act which generated much discussion across the media landscape. Discussions on this man appeared twice in the London Times1 and three times in the Liverpool-based African Mail.2 The London Times was the first to publish with the caption, ‘A False Prophet in Nigeria: Dangerous Pseudo-Christian Movement’. The paper wrote:

News has been received from Nigeria regarding the rise and spread of a pseudo-Christian movement among the Negro tribes in the southern part of the Protectorate. The movement is described as [being of] a dangerous character and inimical to the Government. At the head of the movement is a negro, a false teacher, who, having a knowledge of the Bible, has proclaimed himself Elijah II, and claims among other miraculous gifts, to be able to raise the dead, and retails his bath water as an infallible panacea for all ills … The movement, which is a kind of Negro mahdism, has affected trade, and threatens Government authority and Christian influence, while the fanatics have made a holocaust of a great number of juju articles, including valuable ivory.3 ← 1 | 2 →

Eight days after the London Times publication, the African Mail published sensational editorial news with the caption, ‘Mahdism in Nigeria’. The paper held forth on the issue, proclaiming that:

The news which has come through from Nigeria anent [concerning] the native fanatic who dubs...

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