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ISSN: 1570-0178

Volume 14, Issue 1 (19 April 2013)




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The Jamaa Files

transcribed, translated, and commented by

Johannes Fabian

University of Amsterdam

e-mail: johfabian  [at]



IntroductionText OneText TwoText ThreeText Four Text Five



During visits to Katanga in 1985 and 1986 I pursued three projects: the edition of the Vocabulary of the town of Elisabetville (see Archives of Popular Swahili, vol. 4), encounters with groups of the Charismatic Revival in Lubumbashi (Fabian 2004), and follow-up inquiries on the Jamaa movement in Lubumbashi and Kolwezi/Musonoi. Presented in this volume is a small selection of materials relevant to the third project: five transcribed, translated, and annotated recordings and the scans of several written documents produced by the Jamaa that were made available to me during that period.
By the mid-eighties, the Jamaa movement had gone through transformations which were too complex to be described or even summarized here. The reader should consult the draft of an essay that was eventually published (Fabian 1994). The most visible change I found was that, apart from a Jamaa Takatifu Katolika (JTK), which had submitted to measures taken by the Catholic hierarchy around 1973, there existed a dissident Jamaa. It called itself Jamaa Takatifu mu Afrika (JATAF) and was at the time seeking to obtain legal status from the Congolese (then still Zairean) government. As far as I could determine, neither JTK nor JATAF have been present on the Internet. JATAF is mentioned only in passing in the most recent study of the Jamaa I know of (Balimbanga Malibabo 2009:76 where in note 143 membership numbers for 1983-85 are cited).
Shortly before completing this volume I did manage to locate Nyembo Kayaba Thomas, my principal JATAF interlocutor, via Facebook and we have exchanged email messages. He informed me that his father, Baba Kimuni Kayaba Raymond, died in 1999, followed in 2011 by Baba Lutema Kapiteni.
Twenty years ago, when I was thinking and writing about literacy (in connection with editing the Vocabulaire, Fabian 1993) I made the discovery that I had, as it were, overlooked literacy when I wrote my dissertation although a large part of it (Fabian 1971: ch. 3) was based on a written document, the kitabu of Musonoi. When I decided to present transcribed and translated texts on the Jamaa that were recorded in the eighties, I found myself once again facing the power of an oral bias in "ethnography."  From those two stays I brought back not only recordings but also a collection of substantial documents "published" by the loyal and by the dissident Jamaa. After countless hours of labor and struggle that went into the five texts for vol. 14 (my notes tell me that I started in October 2011) I now begin to realize that, as far as information is concerned, the three conversations and two instructions add little to the published documents. Does this make them redundant? Not at all. In conceptualizing how we produce ethnographic knowledge, information (given and gathered) should be seen as but one pole of a field of activities that stretches between information and performance (Fabian 1990: ch. 1, see also vol. 3 of this archive). It is as a performance, action in shared time and place, that a conversation can become "co-production of knowledge," which is the purpose and the essence of communicative empirical research in anthropology. The texts presented here document performances that occurred in speech events. As such, they are worthy of inclusion in an archive of language and popular culture.


Recordings transcribed, translated, and annotated by Johannes Fabian

Text One is a conversation with leaders of Jamaa Takatifu Katolika,Nkondo Sébastien, Thérèse Kapinga, and Kamanga Simon, recorded on May 11, 1985 in Lubumbashi.
Texts Two and Three are two conversations with leaders of Jamaa Takatifu mu Afrika.
The first one, with Kimuni Kayaba Raymond and Nyembo Kayaba Thomas was recorded on June 27, 1985, the second, with Lutema Kapiteni, Kimuni Kayaba Raymond, and Nyembo Kayaba Thomas, on July 10, 1986, both in Lubumbashi.
Texts Four and Five are mafundisho, instructions in a key chapter of Jamaa doctrine, (bu)muntu, as performed by leaders of Jamaa Takatifu mu Africa. They are included to show continuity and change in form and content compared to the examples of teaching and the commentaries presented in vol. 5.
When I began to transcribe, translate, and annotate the recordings I did not think it would be important to do this in chronological order. Therefore, the footnotes to the one I started with (Text Three) cover many of the issues that came up in the texts I worked on later.


Scanned Documents

Scan 1
Ndala Marcel, Nkondo Sébastien, Kapanda [sic] Damien, Kongolo Raymond, and Paul Gilardeau, PB. Jamaa Takatifu. Mafundisho ya Eklesia Katolika. Lubumbashi. 1975.
Scan 2
Directives pastorales (traduction en Swahili). Lubumbashi, 1973.
Scan 3
Katekismo ya kanisa la Jamaa Takatifu mu Afrika. E.S.AF/J.T.AF. Lubumbashi –Aout 1984.


References cited in the preceding and in notes to the five texts.

Balimbanga Malibabo. (2009). Interkultureller Transfer und Lokalisierung des christlichen Glaubens im afrikanischen Kontext. Würzburg: Echter.

Fabian, Johannes. 1966. Dream and Charisma: "Theories of Dreams" in the Jamaa Movement (Congo). Anthropos 61:544‑560.

______. (1971). Jamaa: A Charismatic Movement in Katanga. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.

______. (1973). Kazi: Conceptualizations of Labor in a Charismatic Movement among Swahili‑Speaking Workers.” Cahiers d`études africaines 13: 293‑325.

______. (1974). Genres in an Emerging Tradition: An Approach to Religious Communication. In: A.W. Eister (ed.), Changing Perspectives in the Scientific Study of Religion. New York: Wiley Interscience, pp. 249‑272.

______. (1979). Man and Woman in the Teachings of the Jamaa Movement. In: Bennetta Jules‑Rosette (ed.), The New Religions of Africa. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex Publishing Company, pp. 169‑183.

______. (1994). Jamaa: A Charismatic Movement Revisited. In: Thomas D. Blakely, Walter E. A. van Beek and Dennis L. Thomson (eds.), Religion in Africa. Experience and Expression. London: James Currey/ Portsmouth: N.H.: Heineman. pp. 257-74.

______. (1990). Power and Performance. Ethnographic Explorations through Proverbial Wisdom and Theater in Shaba (Zaire). Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press.

______. (1993. Keep Listening: Ethnography and Reading. In: Jonathan Boyarin (ed.), The Ethnography of Reading. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 81-97.

______. (2004). Charisma: Global Movement and Local Survival. In: Peter Probst and Gerd Spittler (eds.), Between Resistance and Expansion. Explorations of Local Vitality in Africa. Münster: LIT. pp. 359-87.

Van Avermaet, E.  and Benoît Mbuya. (1954). Dictionnaire kiluba-français. Tervuren: Musée royal du Congo belge.

[Text One]

[Text Two]

[Text Three]

[Text Four]

[Text Five]

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© Johannes Fabian
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Deposited at APS: 19 April 2013
Minor revision: 17 June 2013