8 April 2020


On the 27th of February Dr. Joel Cabrita of the Stanford University History Department gave a fascinating seminar at CAS on Writing World Christianity: Bengt Sundkler, Titus Mthembu and the Politics of Knowledge Production in Apartheid-Era South Africa. She discussed how Swedish missionary-ethnographer Bengt Sundkler’s classic Bantu Prophets in South Africa (1948) was written and concluded that Sundkler’s assistant Titus Mthembu  played a more significant part in the making of the book than was publicly acknowledged by Sundkler. Cabrita saw this as an excellent example of the politics of knowledge production in Africa in which all credit for the ‘classics’ of African Studies has been given to Western scholars and not to their largely forgotten African assistants. This led to an interesting debate about the necessity of historicizing knowledge production in colonial and post-colonial Africa.

The event was co-organised by the Centre of African Studies and the Department of Church History at the Faculty of Theology, and was chaired by Associate Professor Niels Kastfelt.
Joel Cabrita speaking
Cabrita seminar audience