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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Patronage, Millennialism and the Serpent God Mumbo in South-West Kenya
Author:Shadle, Brett L.
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:African religions
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3556798
Abstract:This article traces the history of Mumboism, a millennial cult of southwest Kenya, 1912-1934. Mumbo, a serpent god of Lake Victoria, condemned Christianity as rotten and vowed to cleanse the land of white people - colonial offcials and missionaries - and their lackeys - chiefs and converts. It pledged to provide followers with abundant cattle and grain. The article argues that Mumboism gained followers, because it mixed older ideas of patron-client relations with newer ideas of omnipotent, unseen beings, introduced by Europeans as Government and God. Mumbo challenged chiefs and missionaries, struggling to create patronage networks, by attracting clients, and threatened to unmask Government and God as impotent. Chiefs and, to a lesser extent, missionaries directed State power to the repression of Mumbo, eliminating it before it could undermine the very basis of European power. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.