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Na God

AEsThETIcs oF AFrIcAn chArIsmATIc PowEr Photography Andrew Esiebo Edited by Annalisa Butticci Foreword by Harvey Cox Introduction by Annalisa Butticci Essays by Afe Adogame Asonzeh Ukah Birgit Meyer Enzo Pace Kwabena Asamoah Gyadu Matthews Ojo Nimi Wariboko Grafiche Turato Edizioni

Pubblicato con il contributo del Dipartimento di Filosofia, sociologia, Pedagogia e Psicologia Applicata dell’Università degli studi di Padova

Progetto di Eccellenza Fondazione cariparo La Diaspora pentecostale africana in Veneto tra creatività e sopravvivenza

Dipartimento di Filosofia, sociologia, Pedagogia e Psicologia Applicata P.zza capitaniato, 3 – 35139 Padova

copyright 2013 Grafiche Turato Edizioni via Pitagora 16/A - rubano (PD) t. +39 049 630933


IsBn: 978-88-89524-84-8



Foreward Harvey Cox


Transnational Pentecostalism Afe Adogame


Introduction Annalisa Butticci


Pentecostal Aesthetics of Persuasion Birgit Meyer




Prosperity Theology Asonzeh Ukah


Historical Overview of Christianity in Nigeria Matthews A. Ojo




African Pentecostalism: A Kinetic Description Nimi Wariboko


Healing and Deliverance in African Christianity J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu


Charisma Enzo Pace


4 Nigeria, 2011

NA GOD. Aesthetics of AfricAn chArismAtic Power

Introduction Annalisa Butticci, Harvard Divinity School, USA. Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Na God is an expression in west African Pidgin English that means ‘It’s God!’ when people unexpectedly hear good news, experience a miracle, receive a gift, or when something right or remarkable happens, that is when we might hear nigerians and Ghanaians say ‘na God.’ The expression is much more than a mere exclamation; it is part of a way of experiencing the world, acknowledging the presence of supernatural powers, and communicating and mediating experiences of daily living. Na God is part of the aesthetics with which African Pentecostals reiterate their link with God and with their community, and within it contains a piece of the story of nigerian and Ghanaian Pentecostalism and their way of navigating and responding to colonial inheritances of language and religion. The images in this collection provide a catalog capturing the essence of the aesthetics of contemporary African Pentecostals in both nigeria and Italy. Their subjects include people’s faces and bodies in prayer, the ritual of anointing, deliverance from evil spirits, photographed at the events celebrated in the nigerian and Ghanaian Pentecostal churches in Italy or in nigeria along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway to the Prayer city of the mountain of Fire and miracles ministries, at the prayer camp of the redeemed christian church of God, or at the headquarters of the mountain of Fire and miracles ministries in onike, Yaba and the oshodi stadium in Lagos, during rehinard Bonnke’s fiery crusade. This work derives from a remarkable collaboration between the worlds of photography and academic research, and seeks to answer a number of questions that Andrew Esiebo and I were asking ourselves around about the same time, while I was studying the nigerian and Ghanaian Pentecostal diaspora in Italy,

6 Nigeria, 2006

and Andrew was in Lagos, nigeria, observing the local Pentecostal churches’ emotional force, materiality, and use of languages, objects and images. I discovered Andrew Esiebo’s work while surfing the web for images of Pentecostalism in nigeria and Ghana. The first of his photographs to utterly compel me was titled “Divine Enlargement.” It is an image of a young man with his head thrown back and supported by one hand, while with the other lifts his Bible skywards. There is a sticker on the cover of his Bible bearing the words “my Year of Divine Enlargement.” his mouth is open, as if he were shouting, his facial muscles are contracted, and he is leaning backwards. he is not alone, but in the midst of a crowd. Behind him we see the faces of other people and another man with his arm raised upwards. It is nighttime and there are two large spotlights behind the crowd. The image was taken in 2006 at rehinard Bonnke’s fiery crusade at the olympic stadium on Apapa-oshodi Expressway, in Lagos, nigeria. The young man was among the one and a half million people who took part in the event. here is how Andrew Esiebo described his picture: “I was in front of the altar taking photographs of the crowd. I saw the young man through my camera lens and was struck by his zeal and the energy of his prayers, and especially by the ‘Divine Enlargement’ sticker on his Bible.” what impressed me most in this photograph was the expression on the young man’s face and his Bible with its sticker reaching towards the heavens, as if to grasp ‘something’ from above, or from the altar. “Divine Enlargement” reflected the emotions that I witnessed every time I visited nigerian and Ghanaian Pentecostal churches in Italy. These churches are usually located in industrial sheds on the outskirts of cities, or in places provided by catholic parishes, where the African Pentecostal diaspora creates a world of emotions, passions, bodies prayer and motion, materiality, color and elegance-- an elegance that I have always found incredibly fascinating. Entering an African Pentecostal church in Italy meant passing from the nakedness of Italian industrial zones into spaces invested with an explosion of colors and sensations. In all this, there is a wholly particular aesthetic sense, a way of perceiving and understanding the world. Be-

yond mere adornment and decoration, these aesthetics engage the body and the senses, providing a way of experiencing the supernatural and the holy spirit in all its presence and power. African Pentecostals invoked this power with intensity and passion, through prayers that are animated, sometimes desperate, and with gospel singing and hymns, in spaces decorated with color, flowers and carpets. The altars, in particular, have a remarkably powerful impact, and so do the very bodies of the Pentecostals, which are transformed into the medium for reaching out to the power of the spirit in battling against the physical and social afflictions of daily life. holy oil, holy water, and other objects such as handkerchiefs and cloaks, can mediate this power. with its corporeality and materiality, the supernatural becomes natural, the transcendent imminent. what would Pentecostalism be without its emotional charge, its materiality, its objects, bodies and gestures? what would it be without the crowds gathering to pray and the bodily and spatial practices through which African Pentecostals experience the supernatural? Finally, what would Pentecostalism be without the men and women whose charisma and style to reveal the possibilities of another world? If we were to eliminate all this, very little would be left of this particular form of christianity, the power of which is entirely expressed in its message of salvation and the means it uses to convey this message. The collection of photographs in this volume thus share an important facet of Pentecostalism’s force and appeal, as expressed through its materiality, corporeality and sensuality. with an intimate and intense gaze, Andrew Esiebo interprets the adoration, the ecstasy and the charismatic power of Pentecostalism. The images are typical of Esiebo’s style; rich in details, close-ups, and portraits that go directly to the heart of the very intimate moments of these people and communities gathered in prayer. when we look at these photographs, we can identify the various details that combine to form the fabric of the Pentecostals’ emotional world: the altars with their different flags, pulpits with Bibles, containers of olive oil, bells that announce the end of the prayers, sacred images, quotations from the Bible, and musical instruments. we can see the style of dress, ankara fabrics, and the


NA GOD. Aesthetics of AfricAn chArismAtic Power

colorful and elegant religious garb of the pastors of both genders; and we can see the explosion of emotions, the sensuous gestures made during prayers, and the energy of the crowds coming together around their leaders and preachers. Esiebo and I worked side-by-side for 18 months in nigeria and Italy, sharing our fieldwork, research interests and impressions. what we present here in this volume is the final ‘word,’ entrusted to Esiebo’s images. Andrew Esiebo is the first African photographer to photograph the African diaspora in Italy1 and his gaze has certainly been influenced by his own personal experience as an African in Italy, where he too was a part (albeit only briefly) of that diaspora. he has witnessed the daily challenges that African people face in Italy and his photographs seem to convey something of his experience, together with his determination to restore to Africa and its people a dignity that has been undermined by the abundance of lurid images in circulation of an Africa subdued and oppressed.2 The story of the African people living in Italy sadly cannot avoid being influenced by this market of images. The faces of the African diaspora in Italy are often associated with drugs, prostitution, exploitation and poverty. Pictures of African immigrants in Italy tend to reinforce the perception of blacks as ‘the radical other,’ often second-class citizens, and black people’s experiences in Italy confirm this strong impression. As Pastor sola, who has lived in Italy for 20 years and is the national chair of Deeper christian Life in Italy, poignantly put it, “ordinary Europeans think that in Africa people are living in trees!” however, while the racism, marginalization, and suffering of black migrants in Italy are real and their severity should be recognized, they should not be the only or predominant as-

1. other photographers who have focused their lenses on the African churches in Italy include Francesco cocco, Filippo massellani, matteo Danesin, Aldo sodoma, marco Ambrosi, Thomas Pololi.


2. “most photographers who come to Lagos want to go to the slums and do stories looking only at the problems […] poverty, war, crime and starvation. I’m interested in other stories.” Andrew Esiebo in Lens: Photography, Video and Video Journalism, The new York Times, June 19, 2003, http://

pects of the narrative. what we present in this volume is a different story that emphasizes very particular facets of the African diaspora and of urban life in Lagos, nigeria that reveal the charismatic power and aesthetics of Pentecostalism. All who view this catalog are free to see these photographs from their own unique perspective. The images are presented without commentary; only the place and year of each image are provided. we have deliberately left the observer free to explore the pictures we are under no illusions that these photographs are objective. This would be impossible for any photographer or researcher. In her reflections on photography, susan sontag dismissed any illusion of objectivity in the photographer’s gaze and the act of immortalizing a piece of the world and its history when she wrote, Despite the presumption of veracity that gives all photographs authority, interest, seductiveness, the work that photographers do is no generic exception to the usually shady commerce between art and truth. Even when photographers are most concerned with mirroring reality, they are still haunted by tacit imperatives of taste and conscience. [Photographers] would take dozens of frontal pictures of one of their sharecropper subjects until satisfied that they had gotten just the right look on film - the precise expression on the subject’s face that supported their own notions about poverty, light, dignity, texture, exploitation, and geometry. In deciding how a picture should look, in preferring one exposure to another, photographers are always imposing standards on their subjects.3

Photography and academic research both stem from interests and passions that are in themselves the expression of subjective views of the world, personal ideas and experiences. The collection of photographs in this volume are the re-

3. susan sontag, On Photography, Picador, 2001, p.7

ANNAlIsA BuTTICCI, introduction

sult of several processes of selection which retain only what caught our attention or, as roland Barthes would put it, our punctum,4 what – to our minds - could provide a succinct account of a long and complicated story made up of personalities, events, landscapes, and surprises. The observer is invited to ‘read’ these stories and decide their own ending, but not before they have scrutinized every image and discovered the infinite detail it contains, unraveling the different chapters of a story told by many voices, in which each appears radically similar but different at one and the same time. These photographs will arouse different reactions depending on how familiar the observer might be with the African Pentecostal diaspora in Italy, and with Pentecostalism in nigeria and Ghana. They will have a different aura, as walter Benjamin would say, i.e. a different “ability to look back at us.”5 william J. T. mitchell, art critic and historian, wondered in one of his works what photographs aim to achieve.6 he was interested in what the images wanted and loved. Like roland Barthes, walter Benjamin and susan sontag, mitchell also saw photographs as being capable of speaking and challenging the person observing them. so, what do the photographs in this collection aim to achieve? what do they want? Probably, what Esiebo’s photographs want is to be considered on their own terms, understood and situated in the stories and the settings in which they were taken. It is from this starting point that people looking at them can begin to draw their own narrative from these images. If the last word goes to these images, it is up to those observing them to listen and think, allowing themselves to be guided by the voices that emerge from each detail captured in these pages of the history of Pentecostalism in nigeria and Ghana, and its diaspora in Italy. sontag wrote

4. roland Barthes, Camera Lucida, hill and wang, 2010.

The camera makes reality atomic, manageable, and opaque. It is a view of the world which denies interconnectedness, continuity, but which confers on each moment the character of a mystery. Any photograph has multiple meanings; indeed, to see something in the form of a photograph is to encounter a potential object of fascination. The ultimate wisdom of the photographic image is to say: ‘There is the surface. now think - or rather feel, intuit - what is beyond it, what the reality must be like if it looks this way’7

This collection is not organized into sections and the photographs it contains are in no particular order. This means that observers are free to find their own story in each picture. The volume nonetheless contains essays by scholars of religion and Pentecostalism that will provide food for thought. matthews ojo introduces the evolution and diversity of Pentecostalism in the context of the history of christianity in nigeria. From the early christian missions to today, the expressions of christianity in nigeria have become organized into various denominations and have interfaced in various ways both with Islam and traditional nigerian religions. Despite the massive presence of Pentecostalism in the public arena ojo reminds us that Pentecostalism lives side-by-side with the mainline churches like the roman catholic church and the methodist and Baptist churches (the latter two are still the two main denominations in nigeria today). nimi wariboko describes the kinetics of Pentecostalism and the aesthetics of its prayers and forms of worship, as well as the historical and social context that, in nigeria and elsewhere in the world, has made this expression of christianity a source of vitality, significance and dignity. Asamoah Gyadu discusses two important practices of Pentecostalism: deliverance and healing. with a description of the African worldviews, and of the sources of affliction

5. walter Benjamin, A Small History of Photography, trans. Edmund Jephcott and Kingsley shorter, London: nLB, 1979, p. 518. 6. william mitchell, What Do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images, University of chicago Press, 2005.

7. sontag, On Photography, p. 23.


NA GOD. Aesthetics of AfricAn chArismAtic Power


of Africa’s peoples and societies, Gyadu sets the stage for these practices in contemporary nigerian and Ghanaian Pentecostalism. Enzo Pace develops the concept of charisma and power that has often been associated with those male and female pastors who succeed in bringing hundreds of thousands of people together. These leaders are the bearers of special gifts, a charisma and a message. They are men and women with a mobile personality capable of reaching bodies and spirits in constant motion. Afe Adogame opens up the transnational horizon of the nigerian and Ghanaian Pentecostal churches. The mobility that seems to characterize their leaders also reflects the capacity for movement of these churches. Using existing social networks and various means of communication technology, these churches are capable of existing and resisting in various parts of the planet. Large-scale missionary activities have been launched from the headquarters of the nigerian and Ghanaian mega-churches, which can now count on a transnational presence that enables them to spread abroad their messages of salvation and redemption, moving both people and capital. Birgit meyer describes the aesthetics of Pentecostalism with regard to its capacity for persuasion. Thanks to the way in which it involves the body and the senses, Pentecostalism is capable of generating sensations and power. It has its own unique way of feeling and perceiving the power of the sacred, making it real and present. Its bodies and spaces, materiality, style of prayer, and gathering in the presence of the sacred are all part of these aesthetics of power and persuasion. Asonzeh Ukah looks at one of the more controversial aspects of Pentecostalism, i.e. its relationship with well-being and money. Pentecostals are strongly convinced that economic well-being is a fundamental condition of every believer, whose prosperity and wealth bear witness to the power of God in their lives, so they are seen as some of the most desirable signs of his presence. There is no specific doctrine concerning the gospel of prosperity, but what appears remarkably similar in the various denominations that are making the history of Pentecostalism is the style of their pastors and preachers whose magnificence and wealth appear to be the most evident sign of their success.

Acknowledgment This work would not have been possible without the support of the cariparo Foundation, which generously financed our research with its cariparo Project of Excellence. It would have likewise been impossible without the support of our coordinator, Enzo Pace, who received this combination of academic research and photography with enthusiasm, mobilizing all the resources needed to enable our intensive field study to be conducted. The catalog was developed in three countries: Italy, the U.s. and nigeria. In Italy, the sociology Department (now FIsPPA) and the multimedia and Elearning centre (cmELA) of Padua University, helped us to prevent our creative spirit from being ensnared in the net of bureaucracy. In the U.s., Jacob Kehinde olupona at harvard Divinity school hosted this project and gave us the opportunity to benefit from discussions with the students and faculty of the harvard community. our deepest appreciation goes to Adrienne miller, editor and creative mind, for her critical observations and invaluable editing suggestions. In nigeria we could count on the assistance and collaboration of Dr. Daniel Kolawole olukoya, General overseer of the mountain of Fire and miracles ministries. without Dr. olukoya’s trust and support we would have been unable to capture on film these important pieces of the history of nigerian Pentecostalism. our gratitude goes to him, his pastors and church members. our gratitude goes to Afe Adogame, Asonzeh Ukah, Birgit meyer, Enzo Pace, Kwabena Asamoah Gyadu, matthews ojo and nimi wariboko who wrote the essays included in this catalog. special thanks goes to harvey cox for his encouragement and precious guidance. Finally, our warm thanks go to all the pastors and members of the nigerian and Ghanaian Pentecostal churches in Italy. The welcome they gave us was a precious gift, not only for us, but also for all the people who will see this collection of photographs. we are very grateful for the opportunity they gave us to bear witness to their presence and their world, in Africa and in Italy.

ANNAlIsA BuTTICCI, introduction

11 Nigeria, 2011

AsONzeH uKAH, ProsPerity theology

81 Italy, 2011



Abiodum, Emmanuel christian, 15 Accra, 67, 77 Adambo, 31 Adelaja, sunday, 53 Adogame, Afe, 55 Adoration, 7, 22, Aesthetics, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 21, 22, 66, 67 Africa, 5, 6,8,9, 19, 13, 14, 23, 29, 30, 32, 53, 54, 55, 78 African Independent churches, 5 African leadership, 14 African worldviews, 9, 29 Akan, 30,31,32 Akom, 31, 32 Akomfo, 31 Aladura chruches, 14, 15, 30, 31, 32, 77 Altars, 5, 7, 21 America, 5, 13, 23, 30, 31, 32, 53, 55, 77, 78 Anglican church, 13, 15 Anointing, 6, 21, 29, 30, 79 Apocalyptic 23, 43 Architectures, 66 Asamoah, Gyadu, 23, 30, 79 Ashimolowo, matthew, 53, 78 Asia, 5, 53, 55, 77 Attanasi, Katherine, 79 Ayaresa, 31 spirit-baptism, 22 Baptists:13; church, 13, 14, 15 Barthes, 9 Bediako, Kwame, 31, 32 Belief, 5, 29, 43, 45, 53, 54, 77 Beetham, Thomas, 14 Benin, 13, 78

Benjamin, walter, 9 Benjamin, ray, 30, 31 Bethel ministry, 79 Bible, 7, 53, 66, 77, 78, 79 Blessings, 22, 65, 66, 79 Blood of Jesus 44, 78 Body-ies, 6, 7, 10, 21, 45, 55, 65, 66 Born again, 22, 65, 66, 67, 77 colonialism: inheritance 7; British administration, 14 capital 1, 66, 77 catholic: 22, 77; parishes, 7; roman mission 55; cathedrals 67 charisma, 5,7, 8, 10, 21, 29, 30, 43, 44,45, 66, 79 charismatic renewal, 5 charismatic-neo, 77 charismatic: spirituality 5, Power 8; person 21; churches 29, 65, 66; pastors, 29; leaders 43, 44; figures 44 china, 5 christ Apostolic church, 15 christ Embassy, 77, 78, 79 christianity: 4, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 29, 30, 31, 32, 43, 53, 54, 55,65, 77, 78, 79; African, 3, 15, 22, 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, 39, 41 church missionary society (csm), 13 church of God mission International Incorporated, 78 church of nigeria, 14 church of scotland, 13 civil society, 53 class, 2, 22, 23 commercial: enterprise 78,

capital, 77 community, 5, 7, 10, 43, 44, 53, 54, 55, 65, 67 corten, AndrĂŠ, 30 crowd, 5, 7, 8, 21 crusade, 6, 7 culture, 5, 14, 22, 45, 66 Deities, 21 Deliverance, 6, 9, 22, 23, 29, 32, 78 Demonic: oppression, 30; possession, 30; stronghold, 30; forces 66; spirit 66; influence 30; doorways 30; Demons, 30, 31, 78 Diaspora: 53, 54; African 8; Pentecostal 6, 7, 9 Dress, 6-7 Dronen, Thomas, 79 Durkheim, Emil 67 Economic: and moral development, 22; well-being, 10; and social transformation, 15; growth, 22; and social turbulence, 77 Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God church of all nation, 53 Emotion, 7, 8, 21, 30, 44 Enlightenment, 31, 32 Ephirim, Anthony, 31 Europe, 5, 13, 23, 53, 54, 77 Ewe, 31, 32 Faith, 5, 14, 22, 31, 53, 65, 66, 77; based organization 44 Feelings, 49, 51 Film, 8, 10; industry, 29 Financial: prosperity, 22; acquisition, 78; withdrawals, 78; success, 78

Folk religion, 5 Freeman, Dana, 23 Fulani, 14 Gaze, 7, 8 Gender, 8, 22 Ghana, 7, 9, 10, 15, 30, 31, 32, 53, 54, 65, 77, 78 Gifford, Paul, 79 Gyekye, Kwame, 30 Globalization, 65 Gospel, 8, 27, 50, 61 Grace, 32, 43 harrist churches, 15 healing, 15, 20, 21, 23, 25, 28, 37 health, 5, 15, 29, 30, 31, 32, 66, 77, 78 holy: Ghost, 21; spirit, 7 21, 30, 53, 6567-77; water 5,7 ; oil 5,7; household of God church, 78 Idahosa, Andrew Benson, 78 Identity, 44, 53, 54 Igboland, 13 Images, 7-9 Immigrants, 8; 54, 55; African 53 Indigenuous: christian prayer, 31; christian churches, 14; African Pentecostal churches, 5, 55; belief system, 76; leaders, 13; prophets 15; Pentecostals denominations, 29; christianity, 30 International central Gospel church, 77 International monetary Fund, 22 Islam, 5, 9, 14 Isichei, Elisabeth, 15 Italy, 5-27, 34-41, 46, 47, 50-52, 56, 58, 59, 62, 63, 72, 73, 74, 75, 81, 81 Jehovah witness, 77

Joshua, Temitope, 78 Kalu, ogbu, 23 Kinetic, 9, 22 Kingsway International christian center, 53, 78 Lagos, 6-9, 14, 77 Language, 5, 7, 45 Latin America, 30, 32, 56 Lighthouse chapel, 67, 77 Living Faith church worldwide, 77 marshall, ruth, 30, 32, 65, 67 materiality 7, 10 material: culture 14; world, 31, 66; video, 54, 66; resources, 55; mcLuhan, marshall, 44 media, 15, 29, 53, 54, 66 medicine, 29, 31 medium, 7, 31, 44 mega-churches, 10 meyer, Birgit, 31 methodists, 9, 13, 14 miracle, 6, 10, 44, 53 miracle center Parish, 53 mission: missionaries, 9, 16; christianity 21, 29; statement, 39; Protestant 55; catholic, 55 mitchell, J. T., 9 mobility, 9, 39, 40, 52 modernity, 23, 31, 32 mohammed, 29 money, 9, 21,64 moses, orimolade, 15 mountain of Fire and miracle ministries, 6, 9, 38 music, 7, 15, 50, 51

muslim, 16, 62 nigeria, 6-11, 13, 20, 27, 30, 33, 34, 38, 39, 42, 45, 46, 47, 49-56, 61-64; Eastern, 13, 14; northern 13,14 nogueria, Godsey, 79 oduyemi, Gabriel, 64 Ogyee, 31 ojo, matthews, 15 okonwko, mike, 79 okotie, Kris, 78 onitstha, 14 oritsajafor, Ayo, 79 oyakhilome, chris, 66, 78, 79 oyedepo, David, 79, 78 Pace, Enzo, 45 Pastor, 8, 10, 22, 29, 66, 78, 79 Paul of Tarsus, 43 Pentecostals: 22, 21, 23, 55, 65, 77 Pentecostal: spirituality, 5; churches, 7, 23, 31, 53, 55, 65, 66; African Diaspora, 7; emotional world, 7; charismatic movement, 15; aesthetics, 21, 67; preaching, 21, 22; spirit, 23; denominations 29, 53; healing, 31; belief, 53; material culture, 66; capital, 77 Pentecostalism: 5, 6,7, 9, 22, 29, 31, 53, 55, 66, 67, 77, 78; nigerian, 6, 8,10; Ghanaian 6, 8, 10; African, 5, 7, 9 Performance, 21, 78 Photographs, 5, 6-9 Pidgin English, 6 Political: process, 13; changes, 13; force, 15; geo-political configuration, 15; awareness, 22; leaders 23; socio-po-

litical redemption, 23; oppression, 23; life 29; missiological import, 56 Portugal, 13 Post-Pentecost , 29 Poverty, 8, 22, 23, 67, 77, 78 Power, 5, 6-10, 14, 21-23, 29-31, 44, 45, 65-67 Praise, 5, 22, 66 Prayer, 6-10, 21, 22, 29-32, 54, 66, 77 Preachers, 5-9, 21, 22, 44, 78, 79 Presbyterians, 14, Presence: of God, 10, 30, 66; of the sacred 10, 65; of supernatural power, 7; commanding, 21; divine, 65, 66, 67; of the holy spirit, 65, 66, 67 Private jet, 78, 79 Prophecy, 5, 15, 53 Prophet 43-45 Prosperity, 5, 10, 22, 23, 31, 66, 77, 78, 79 Protestant: denominations, 14; churches, 15; mission,13, 55; Public space, 53 race, 22 racism, 5, 8 ranciere, Jacques, 67 redeem christian church of God, 5, 15, 53, 67, 69 redemption: 10; socio-political, 53 rehinard Bonnke, 7 reverse mission, 55 ritual: of anointing, 6; practice, 21 sabbatarianism, 14 salvation, 7, 10, 45, 78 sensations, 5, 7, 66, 67 seventh Day Adventist church, 14, 77 shrines, 30

sierra Leone, 13 slaves, 13 sokoto caliphate, 14 sontag, 8 9 speaking in tongue, 5, 22, 66, 77 spirit, 21, 22, 30, 53, 65, 66, 67, 77 spiritual: warfare, 29; intervention, 29; potency, 29: remittance, 55; eyes and hand, 65 spirituality, 21, 29, 30, 66 Technology, 10, 54 Theology, 13, 21, 22, 31 Tithes, 78 Traditional: religiosity, 22, 30; culture, 22, 30; systems of belief, 43, 45 Transnationality, 54-56 Tumi, 31 Turner, howard, 15 Ukah, Asonzeh, 79 Ukraine, 53 UsA, 14, 53, 54, 55 wariboko, nimi, 23 warri, 13 wealth, 10, 22, 66, 77, 79 weber, max, 44 wesleyan methodist missionary society, 13 witchcraft, 29 world miracle Bible church, 77 world of Faith Bible church, 53 worship 9, 21, 22, 53, 66 Yoruba, 13, 15, 31 83

Harvey Cox

e 15 ISBN: 978-88-89524-84-8

Na God AEsthEtics of AfricAn chArismAtic PowEr

Annalisa Butticci, Ph.D., is currently a marie curie fellow at harvard University in the U.s. and Utrecht University in the netherlands. her research interests include: religion, African cultures and societies, African Diasporas, and photography and visual culture. she is the author of several articles on African Pentecostalism both on the continent and among the Diasporas; and is the co-director and co-producer with Andrew Esiebo of the film “Enlarging the Kingdom: African Pentecostals in italy” (2013). she is the curator of the multimedia collective exhibition “Black motion: Diasporic Bodies, identity and Emotions” (Venice, 2010) and “na God :Aesthetics of African charismatic Power” (Padova, 2012).

it is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. if this is true, then the present volume is equal to an entire library shelf of books about one of the most interesting and important matters in the current – and future – history of religion: christianity in Africa, especially in its Pentecostal expression.

A. EsiEbo - A. butticci

Andrew Esiebo (Lagos, 1978) started out in photography by chronicling the rapid development of urban nigeria as well as the country’s rich culture and heritage. over the years, Esiebo matured a deep interest in the humanity’s struggle for equality, freedom and happiness. Through an intimate gaze and close-up details of daily life in urban Africa, he focuses on and celebrates human experiences of empowerment, as manifested in the diverse strategies of creativity and survival of African people. over the last few years, he has produced multimedia narratives which combine audio, video and still photography about African aspirations of social justice, human rights, solidarity and dignity. he is the co-director and co-producer with Annalisa Butticci of the film “Enlarging the Kingdom: African Pentecostals in italy” (2013). his work has been exhibited at the Biennale cuvee, Linz, Austria; Photo Quai biennials in Paris france; sao Paulo biennials, Brazil; the Guangzhou triennial in Beijing, china; the chobi mela V Photo festival,Bangladesh; noorderlitch Photo festival, netherlands; African Photography Encounters, Bamako, mali; Lagos Photo festival, nigeria. his works have been published in books, magazines and websites such as new York times, financial times,, time out nigeria, mail & Guardian online, GeoLino, and African style magazine Arise. Esiebo is the winner of the 2011 musee du Quai Branly Artistic creation prize. he is based in nigeria from where he works around the world.

Na God

AEsthEtics of AfricAn chArismAtic PowEr

Na God is an expression in west African Pidgin English that means ‘it’s God!’ when people unexpectedly hear good news, experience a miracle, receive a gift, or when something right or remarkable happens, that is when we might hear nigerians and Ghanaians say ‘na God.’ The expression is much more than a mere exclamation; it is part of a way of experiencing the world, acknowledging the presence of supernatural powers, and communicating and mediating experiences of daily living. Na God is part of the aesthetics with which African Pentecostals reiterate their link with God and with their community, and within it contains a piece of the story of nigerian and Ghanaian Pentecostalism and their way of navigating and responding to colonial inheritances of language and religion. Annalisa Butticci

Photography Andrew Esiebo Edited by Annalisa Butticci

Na God. Aesthetics of African Charismatic Power  

African Pentecostalism, African Diaspora, visual and material culture of African Pentecostalism, religious emotions, Gender and Pentecostali...

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