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10 Interesting Facts About Balokole Christians in Uganda

interesting facts about balokole
Written by Teresa Mwangi

Staunch religious following tops interesting facts about Balokole in Uganda. This movement easily passes off as the most sacred in Africa and the East African Pentecostal Church is the epicentre of it all.

Its people have for decades challenged other believers, something that stirred the waters in Ugandan Christian circles.  This led to calls in the past to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to ban their religious activities. calls. He said that what appears to be a ‘cult’ in the eyes of the people is just deep Christian faith.

However, he turned down these calls. Museveni asserted that their faith has helped him advance and implement his government’s socio-economic agenda.

Here is more about this unique group of Christians.

What is the Meaning of Balokole?

Balokole is a native Ugandan name meaning ‘saved people.’ This spiritual identity is a major drive for the deeply rooted Christianity in this religious reformist movement.  Although their faith may seem intimidating to other believers, they are good people who take the gospel too seriously.

Their hub of worship is the Pentecostal Church headed by a bishop at the highest level and a pastor at the congregational level.

interesting facts about balokole

An ancient Pentecostal church in Uganda. Photo/

What is the Balokole Movement in Uganda?

The Balokole, as they are known in Luganda, are a model Christian outfit predominantly affiliated to the Pentecostal Church. An African gospel elitist Simeon Nsibambi and an English missionary John Church founded the movement in the mid-1930s.

Among many of the interesting facts about Balokole is their high standards for purity entrenched in individual faith. That’s why they brand themselves as the saved ones or the awoke Christians.

Living strictly by the teachings of the bible raises the threshold of faith, spirituality and morality among Christian believers. Pentecostalism which is the foundation of the Pentecostal Church of East Africa executes its ministry on the hallmarks of holiness, strong faith and morality.

What are the Interesting Facts About Balokole?

Before you get to the interesting facts about Balokole in Uganda, here is a little history. Church and Nsibambi founded this African Evangelical movement in 1930. They enjoyed a huge following from Uganda, Kenya and Uganda in the beginning.

Theologically, Nsibambi and Church read heavily from the revival movement in the West in the 19th century to start their own in Africa. Nevertheless, it is Uganda that embraced the reformist Christian movement the most to date.

Here are amazing facts about this Christian movement.

What is the Balokole Movement in Uganda?

The first Pentecostal Church in Uganda. Photo/Daily Monitor

  1. A Majority of them live in Eastern Uganda, a region surrounding Mt Elgon where there are a lot of Pentecostal Churches.
  2. Major Ugandan cities and towns such as Jinja, Kampala and Mbale equally have a steadily growing portfolio of Evangelical churches. Essentially, it means that the Balokole religious dictates are gaining popularity outside the Eastern zone.
  3. They remain critical of some other churches in Uganda accusing them of hypocrisy and immorality.
  4. The group believes in a brotherhood of equality to help each other spiritually and otherwise.
  5. Purity in all forms; in thoughts and deeds is non-negotiable for them.
  6. They believe in the public confession of their sins as a way to inspire other sinners and non-believers to be born again.
  7. After confessing their sins and being converted to upright followers of Christ, they publicly narrate their conversion experience.
  8. Most of its early followers were from protestant churches such as the Anglican Church. They switched to Pentecostal faith over what was termed as being ‘sleepy’ worshippers.
  9. A spiritual elder must be present in every Sunday service. He/she is a beacon of hope and a pillar of spiritual support to those who slack along the way.
  10. Biblical teachings are their light and they follow it to the letter. Active faith requires intentional deeds which the bible provides.

Where Did the Tukutendereza Come from?

‘Tukutendereza’ is a popular Luganda salutation loosely translating to ‘praise God.’  Historically, early departees from the Anglican Church to the Evangelical Pentecostal Church introduced this phrase that the Balokole quickly embraced. It is now a trademark during church services and is mostly an affirmation of faith in God’s word.


In general, the Balokole refers to a group or movement with an exceptionally strong belief in the gospel. Anglicans make up the biggest number of its first followers back in the 1930s when John E. Church and Simeon Nsibambi. Today, they practice Pentecostalism which is deeper in all spiritual spheres than what present-day Anglicans have.

About the author

Teresa Mwangi

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, loves travelling and telling stories about tour and travel in Africa by every angle.

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