Subverting Cosmic Connection in the Gule Wamkulu of Malawi


  • Christopher Schlit


Malawi, commonly known as the “Warm Heart of Africa” and home of possibly the friendliest people on earth, witnesses an uneasy wrestling between the ancient ritual of Malawi’s largest tribe, the Chewa, and Christianity. The conflict pushes to the fore the perennial Malawian missiological question, “How should Christians interact with Gule Wamkulu?” This article is an etic attempt to interpret aspects of the Gule Wamkulu through a Christian interpretive lens utilizing the “magnetic points” and theology of religions from Daniel Strange and J. H. Bavinck. This is a modest attempt by an outsider to theologically interpret one aspect of the Gule Wamkulu, its cosmic relational component, and provide tentative proposals for Christian engagement. The Gule Wamkulu attempts to maintain cosmic relationships in a truncated and misdirected form, and Christians must subversively fulfill its relational longings with the Christian gospel.