The village of Soatanana, 400km south of the capital Antananarivo, in the heart of Betsileo country, is also known by the name “White Village”, after the color of the villagers’ clothes. They belong to the evangelist movement « Fifohazana » (the Revival of God’s Apostles). This branch of protestantism originated in Madagascar, where in 1894, Jesus is said to have appeared in a dream to Rainisoalambo, who was practicing traditional medicine, with plants, divination and rituals. Rainisoalambo was very sick before the apparition and promised as soon as he woke up to abandon traditional medicine. Miraculously, he was healed. Gathering around him a few disciples, he founded the religious principles that would rule the organization of the village itself: sharing the resources, community work in the fields (rice especially), taking care of the sick and poor, Bible study, welcoming of visitors, cleanliness and order for oneself, the home and the village.

Since then, the Revival has spread on the island and has known schisms, notably in 1954, when the north half “Tanana Avaratra” decided to split from the Lutheran Church. They now represent about 80% of the population of the village. As for the “Tanana Atsimo”, the south half, only 5-7% are members.

Every sunday, the adepts gather for a procession and walk through the village while singing, before and after the mass.

[oct. 2014]

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