The Pentecostal Church in Burundi and Political Development during the 1960s


  • Gunilla Nyberg Oskarsson The Institute for Pentecostal Studies



Pentecostal, Burundi, Independence, politics, ethnic tensions


In 1962 Burundi got its independence as a constitutional monarchy. This article discusses the political role of the Burundian Pentecostals during the 1960s, when most of the Pentecostals in Burundi went from having a positive view of being engaged in political matters, and active in local and governmental elections, to being politically quiescent. Burundian Pentecostals, with a certain formation or a certain position in society, were very politically active when their country approached independence and during the first years post-independence. They were eager to get leading positions in society, positions up to then held by Catholic chiefs and sub-chiefs. Most of these politically active Pentecostals were Hutu. The growing conflict between Hutu and the Tutsi groups in power during the 1960s was the main reason why most of the Pentecostals left the political area and became more or less politically quiescent. The development in the country influenced strongly the development within the Pentecostal Church. There was then only one Pentecostal denomination, founded by missionaries from Sweden and Congo. The thrust of this article is to discuss the political role and the political opinions of the Burundian Pentecostals and the Swedish missionaries in the 1960s. It also aims at describing an increase of ethnic conflicts within the Pentecostal church.

Author Biography

Gunilla Nyberg Oskarsson, The Institute for Pentecostal Studies

Gunilla Nyberg Oskarsson (PhD, Uppsala University 2004) is now retired. She was formerly a researcher at MissionsInstitutet PMU, Stockhom and a lecturer at Pingstörelsens Teologiska Seminarium, Uppsala. She is still an affiliated researcher at the Institute of Pentecostal Studies, Uppsala. She has written three books and a number of articles. Her research interests are today focused around the empirical study of Pentecostalism in Burundi, Rwanda and Eastern Congo, and especially the relationship between the churches and the surrounding societies.


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How to Cite

Oskarsson, G. N. (2016). The Pentecostal Church in Burundi and Political Development during the 1960s. PentecoStudies, 15(1), 70–96.