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Title: The Watch Tower movement in south central Africa, 1908-1945
Author: Cross, Sholto
ISNI:       0000 0001 3397 8046
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1973
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The Watch Tower movement was a millennial social movement which was popular in Nyasaland, Southern and Northern Rhodesia, and the Belgian Congo, and in parts of the countries bordering these territories, between the two world wars. It derived its doctrine initially from the writings of Charles Russell, the founder of one of the largest sects of the twentieth century, the Jehovah's Witnesses. The African Watch Tower however was largely independent of the Jehovah's Witnesses, although this body attempted to establish its control in central Africa, and its ideology and organisation changed and developed in accordance with local conditions. While some similarities in the conditions of rapid urbanisation which surrounded the origins of the Jehovah's Witnesses in America, and the Watch Tower in Africa, may be discerned, its political and historical role was a very different one. Spread by labour migrants moving between employment centres and from the village to the urban compound, the Watch Tower contributed to the new forms of association which enabled workers to protest against their conditions of employment, and assisted in spreading a pan-Africanist consciousness which was a significant current in the development of anti-colonial nationalism. It was not only an urban movement, but also selectively influenced the countryside, where external factors and the nature of local social organisations were favourable. It spread rapidly, in a wide variety of forms, and with little formality regarding who was or was not a member, but retained a central core of ideas and an organisational structure, which allows the movement to be treated as a unity.
Supervisor: Hodgkin, Thomas Sponsor: University of Zambia
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society ; Jehovah's Witnesses--Africa, Central ; Jehovah's Witnesses--Africa, Southern ; tower ; bible ; witnesses ; society ; Africa ; tract ; watch ; Jehovah's