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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 Three: Kalabari in the nineteenth century



There is a large literature concerning the historical origins, the environment, the socio-economic and religio-political institutions of the Kalabari people of River State, Nigeria, which constitute the ethnic group and birthplace of Garrick Braide, and among whom he first carried out his missionary/revivalistic activities.1 This chapter surveys materials that are directly relevant in helping us appreciate the milieu into which Garrick Sokari Braide and his ministry emerged.

The Kalabari people originated from a small fishing village in the River Niger Delta area before moving to settle on the estuary, which was then known to the Portuguese as the Rio Real River and to later navigators as the Bonny River.2 They were originally known as the Owome people.3 ← 51 | 52 → The nineteenth-century European traders and seafarers knew them as New Calabar.4 Their visitors used the name New Calabar to distinguish them from the people of the Old Calabar trading ports. By the nineteenth century they were organized into a number of competing ‘houses’ (wari). These were trading and military corporations, each capable of equipping and manning one of the great war canoes that so impressed visitors to this part of the coast.5 A ‘house’ consisted of a founder and his successor in office, together with his relatives, slaves and other dependents and their descendants. Anyone, slave or freeborn, capable of amassing sufficient wealth and followership, could establish his own ‘house’, subordinate to the ‘house’ to which he originally belonged. Each ‘house’ had its ancestral shrine...

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