Emeritus Professor Martin West’s evocative collection of photographs, taken of the Africa Independent Churches in Soweto between 1969 and 1971, show a segment of society hidden to most South Africans.
By the end of the 19th century, two streams of Christianity emerged in South Africa and became the focus of West’s research: the Ethiopian and Zionist movements. This research culminated in his book Bishops and Prophets in a Black City, published in the 1970s.
The young social scientist took hundreds of images, capturing baptisms, sacrificial slaughters, prayer meetings, healing services, and vignettes of everyday life in Soweto.
The site includes scans of the entire book, Bishops and Prophets in a Black City.