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Rise Up & Walk (1983)

This acclaimed film shows how members of a variety of independent African Christian churches interpret and live the Christian faith in the context of their own pre-Christian cultural traditions. These independent churches have been formed by Africans themselves, often in opposition to churches founded by European and American missionaries. For African Christians, the world of the sacred is real and living, and their leaders are considered priest-healers who possess a special knowledge of the sacred realm. They tell of the divine manifestations that have inspired the forming of these self-sufficient communities of faith, and they reveal their bitterness toward those missionaries who failed to understand them.


-For the Harrists of the Ivory Coast, Bibles replace fetishes as sacred objects of power.


-In Kenya’s Africa Israel Church Nineveh, uttering the name of Jesus can protect a person from sorcery.


-The priest healer Elijah Vilakazi draws upon Swazi tradition for the dizzying dance called “Siquqo,” in which his followers enter other states of consciousness transcending space and time to become one with the Spirit.


-The Messiah of Mario Legio, Simon Ondeto, passes on to his priests the ability to exorcise evil spirits with a crucifix and the laying on of hands.

Rise Up & Walk (1983)

  • Duration: 55 minutes

    Directed by John Ankele


  • Where to Rent/Buy

  • Awards

    • Cine Golden Eagle Award

  • Screenings

    • Museum of Modern Art

    • Margaret Mead Film Festival

    • Smithsonian Institution

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