Original Research

A scriptural, theological and historical analysis of the concept of the Zambian Christian nationhood

Simon Muwowo, Johan Buitendag
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 66, No 1 | a327 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v66i1.327 | © 2010 Simon Muwowo, Johan Buitendag | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 August 2009 | Published: 05 July 2010

About the author(s)

Simon Muwowo, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Johan Buitendag, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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The article contributes to an understanding of the notion of Zambian Christian nationhood, which was first officially expressed in a presidential decree. The declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation was made by Fredrick Chiluba, the second President of the Republic of Zambia, on 29 December 1991. In June 1996, an amendment to the Constitution of Zambia Act of 1991, which included the Zambian Christian nation declaration, was effected, from which moment Zambia officially became regarded as a ‘Christian nation’. The current article proposes that a country cannot attain its Christian nationhood by presidential decree, but only by means of cultural determination. However, an extensive evaluation of the culture concerned is needed in order for the task to be theologically feasible. To achieve a comprehensive analysis of the current situation, the article takes into consideration some of the historical paradigms and models of regions which were once Christian, but which have since failed to stand by such principles. The point of the present argument is that religion emanates from the culture of the people and not from a declaration that is made about them. The article also takes into consideration Niebuhr’s fivefold typology of models of the relationship of Christ with culture, to which this article refers as that existing between church and state. The ultimate conclusion is that the declaration of Zambia as a ‘Christian nation’, despite being a unique concept, must be both theologically and ethically sound if, indeed, it is to become more than just a slogan and a single-line entry in the preamble of the country’s constitution.


Africa; nationhood; Christian; government; culture


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