Winning Guinea-Bissau for Jesus

The Guinean Evangelical Minority, from the Origins to the Present


  • Ambra Formenti NOVA University



Guinea-Bissau, Evangelical Christianity, Pentecostal Christianity, modernity, mobility


This article analyses the historical course of the Evangelical minority in Guinea-Bissau, its transformations, its recent expansion and its current engagement with the public sphere. First, I trace the trajectory of the Guinean Evangelical movement from the 1940s to the present, against the background of the process of decolonization and the post-Independence history of the country. Second, I examine the recent impact of Pentecostal and Charismatic forms of Christianity on local Evangelical churches, following the transnational circulation of believers and missionaries, on the one hand, and the arrival of new international churches, mostly from Brazil and other African countries, on the other. Third, I place the current flowering of Evangelical and Pentecostal denominations in the broader context of a general shift to universal religions throughout the country. Within this framework, I argue, this success can be read as expression of a widespread craving for modernity and mobility, both in rural and urban Guinea-Bissau.

Author Biography

Ambra Formenti, NOVA University

Ambra Formenti is a researcher at the Centre for Research in Anthropology (NOVA University, Portugal). She completed her PhD in anthropology at the Institute of Social Sciences (University of Lisbon, Portugal). She did ethnographic fieldwork among African Christians in Italy, Portugal and Guinea-Bissau. Currently she is conducting comparative research on migrations from Portugal to the United Kingdom. Her research interests include religion, mobilities and labour. She has authored articles on Pentecostal and Evangelical Christianity in Africa and in the African Diaspora.


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How to Cite

Formenti, A. (2018). Winning Guinea-Bissau for Jesus: The Guinean Evangelical Minority, from the Origins to the Present. PentecoStudies, 17(1), 54–76.