The transformation of an African religious movement: a case of the Akurinu of Kandara Sub-County in Murang’a County, Kenya, 1926-2000
Wanyoike, Simon Murigi
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This study seeks to investigate the history, practices and transformation of the Akurinu movement, a religious group that emerged in Kandara sub-County, Murang’a County in Central Kenya in the 1920s. Its emergence was as a response to the socio-economic, political, and religio-cultural conflict caused by British colonial administration and the teachings of western Christian Missionaries in Gikuyu land. In the colonial period the Akurinu movement became withdrawn from the society and rejected everything that was foreign except the Bible. They adopted an adamant non-cooperation attitude not only to the Europeans but also to fellow Africans. After independence, the Akurinu community adapted themselves to the changing circumstances by initiating transformational changes which boosted their public image, social interactions and upward economic mobility. The study employed theoretical frameworks of Social Movement and Modernization theories with a view to analyze the group’s emergence and the transformational process undertaken. The study covered the period between 1926 and 2000. The study was conducted in Kandara sub-county and covered areas that had large following of the Akurinu under the Kenya Foundation of the Prophets Church. These included Kaguthi, Gathugu, Rwathia as well as Mukurwe and Gacharage .Both secondary and primary data was used. A total of 64 informants both men and women of varying ages were interviewed. Collected data was analyzed through qualitative method, placed under historical interrogation and compared with existing information for authentication purposes. This research established that the emergence of the Akurinu movement was a result of a combination of political, socioeconomic and cultural factors in colonial Kenya. The study also established that this movement had undertaken transformations that have impacted positively to the Akurinu way of life in the larger society.