In this insightful study of local cultural idioms in Hwesaland, two themes dominate: Christianity and chieftaincy. David Maxwell builds upon the work of the Comaroffs, Paul Landau, and others who have studied the impact of Christian missionaries upon Southern African societies. Maxwell reconstructs the African roots of Christianity: how Africans appropriated the symbols, rituals, and ideas of Christianity to found an indigenous form of Christianity. Chiefs played a major role in this process of indigenisation. Far from being reactionary stooges in the service of the colonial or postcolonial state, Maxwell argues that chiefs were key defenders of local interests against the interventions of external agents. The author also questions the standard categories and divisions in the social sciences in the study of African societies and their histories. As such, this study will be of interest to all Africanists, not just those who focus on Southern Africa.