Nollywood on the Pulpit: Performance in Pentecostalism

Nollywood on the Pulpit: Performance in Pentecostalism examines the performative strategies and material forms intrinsic to the expansion of the Pentecostal movement in Nigeria. Although a global phenomenon, Pentecostalism is reimagined locally in ways that reflect its boundless expansive potential. Its explosion in Nigeria echoes a blueprint created by native messianic forbearers who initiated the cult of the prophet, now prevalent in modern Pentecostalism.

Their influence presents a compelling case study for understanding the emergent artistic forms within the movement which serve to both inform and reflect broader popular culture trends. Utilising Nollywood’s melodramatic trope as a framework, Pentecostalism is explored through its key players; the flamboyant preachers, charismatic women worshippers, gay men in the choir and miracle performers in the congregation, looking at how each negotiates space within the church, wielding power through performance.

Scholarship of Pentecostalism is often concerned with critiques of power with emphasis on the proliferation of the prosperity doctrine as a response to dismal socio-economic realities. However, these perspectives neglect the value in what the charismatic movement offers to a contemporary audience – recognising the role of the Pentecostal church as a stage for expression in which performance can be an end in itself.

“Peace’ use of Nigerian parlance and colloquialism brings this story to life, giving this academic work a dramatic edge. Laying out this work in a way that is meaningful, enthralling, and gripping, she excavates revelatory facts and stuns our senses with insightful reflections by making modern linkages between performance, magic and Pentecostalism.”

– Dr Toyin Ajao
Public scholar and founder of iAfrika Centre for Holistic Research and Praxis

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