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With reference to specific examples, account for the emergence and growth of independent African churches in West Africa and assess their importance in the region.

Reasons for the emergence and growth: Independent African Churches grew up as a protest against the style of management of mission controlled churches and against certain unpopular aspects of colonial rule. These reasons were the same in every part of Africa. They included the slow speed of Africanisation in mission churches e.g. in the ordination of Africans to the priesthood and in the promotion of Africans within the church hierarchy; the alienation of African land for use by foreign settlers; colonial taxation policies; the use of forced African labour by colonial authorities.

Examples of churches and leaders in West Africa: Majola Agbebi who was associated with several independent churches including the African Baptist Church (1888), the United African Native Church (1891), the African Bethel Church (1901) and was President of the African Baptist Union of West Africa; William Wade Harris, a Liberian Protestant evangelist, who converted many thousands of Africans to Christianity. In 1913 he moved to the Ivory Coast where he enjoyed his greatest successes numerically.

Importance: Although local factors influenced Independent African Churches to some extent, their
importance was similar:

• All were examples of protest against colonialism and foreign control of churches;
• All were, therefore, early examples of African nationalism;
• In W. Africa, the leaders of these churches were against the use of violence to achieve their aims;
• All wanted better education in order to improve living standards and promote justice for Africans;

• All believed that Christianity in Africa must be based on African culture and African personality.
To gain a mark in one of the top 2 bands answers must respond to both parts of the question.
Those which do not refer to specific examples should not expect to get beyond Band 7.

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