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Approximately 27% of the population adhere to traditional, often animistic African religions. Approximately 72% of the Zambian population professes a Christian religion; the Roman Catholic Church (organised in two archdioceses with seven dioceses) has the most adherents with 27%. The Protestants, totalling 35%, are divided between the Anglican Church and the United Church of Zambia.

The Jehovah's Witnesses (there are currently more Jehovah's Witnesses per capita than anywhere else in the world), Pentecostals and evangelical churches also have a growing following. Approximately 1% of the population is Muslim or Hindu.

Ancestor worship is still widespread in Zambia and continues alongside the officially adhered to religion.

The indigenous African Christian churches are gaining increasing support, of which the Lumpa Church (Lumpa is bemba for: 'better than all the others') was the largest. The movement was founded by the visionary Alice Lenshina (=queen) Mulenga Mubisha, who in the 1950s had visions in which God told her that her task was to banish sorcery. By the end of the 1950s, she had hundreds of thousands of followers.

Her fierce criticism of magic, sorcery and witchcraft was indeed characteristic, but she also disapproved of polygamy and alcohol consumption. She also did not recognise any earthly authority, and this was almost fatal to the movement. They also refused to pay taxes and as a result hundreds of followers were killed in battles with government troops. In 1964, Alice Lenshina Mulenga Mubisha was imprisoned and only released in December 1975.

She died in 1978. She had predicted that the Lumpa movement would never return after her death, but in recent years the movement has been growing again, despite the lack of a clear leader.


Else, D. / Zambia
Lonely Planet

Posthumus, B. / Zambia : mensen, politiek, economie, cultuur
Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen / Novib

The Reader’s Digest

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info