Christian missionaries in Kenya are finding a new source of converts among the immigrant Chinese population that came to the country to build infrastructure. Kenyan evangelists, some of whom speak fluent Mandarin, are discovering even though their religion and cultural backgrounds are completely different from those of the Chinese, they are nonetheless breaking through with a biblical message.
Although Kenya’s Christian community is extremely diverse, one group, in particular, appears to be having considerable success in converting Chinese migrants. Nairobi-based journalist April Zhu published a story in the South China Morning Post Sunday Magazine about how Jehovah’s Witnesses are attracting ever-larger numbers of Chinese converts.
April joins Eric from Beijing to discuss her report and what the implications are for those Chinese who do become Jehovah’s Witnesses and then later confront the reality of going back to China where practicing their religion is against the law.
- South China Morning Post Magazine: In Kenya, Chinese arrivals are targeted by Jehovah’s Witnesses speaking Chinese by April Zhu
- The China Africa Project: The Unintended Religious Consequence of Chinese Investment in Africa by Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
- UnHerd: How Africa is converting China by Dr. Christopher Rhodes
April Zhu (朱萸) is a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. Her work focuses on gender, cities, and land. More recently, she is interested in “China in Kenya” as seen from the margin.
Her byline has appeared in the CS Monitor, The New Humanitarian (formerly IRIN News), Broadly (VICE), BRIGHT Magazine, and The Elephant. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Studio Art from Wellesley College and speaks Swahili and Mandarin.
She is an artist and still occasionally shows work in Nairobi. Design work pays some bills.
You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and @aprzhu.