This study is beholden to the cooperation, assistance and friendship of a number of people, whom I want to acknowledge here.
There are three in particular whose contributions in the course of this research have left me deeply indebted. Mika Vähäkangas has been a true mentor and a constant source of encouragement from the beginning to the very end. Apart from his endless work in creating an open and stimulating academic environment in Lund, his deep knowledge of Christian theology in Africa and Swahili has provided guidance, meanwhile forcing me to deeper reflection. His way of building relationships and addressing both academic and practical dilemmas has provided a spur for my future navigations in academia. Alongside Mika, the mentorship of Päivi Hasu been a pleasure that has also engendered important theoretical inputs that have helped shape this work. Her long experience of ethnographic work in Tanzania has been of great help in framing my methodological take on the CCC, and her many insightful comments on drafts of the chapters have encouraged me to sharpen my arguments. Yet, if there is one person who knows the journey involved in finalizing this work better than anyone else, it is Aron Engberg, my dear friend and colleague, with whom I have shared both joy and distress within and outside the academic world. Thanks for being there, sharing the anxieties, pondering ideas and paths, and for all the conversations past (and those yet to come).
I will never be able to repay my debt of gratitude to the leaders and members of the City Christian Center in Zanzibar, who welcomed me and my research project into their church with such warmth. My thanks go especially to all those members who shared their time, thoughts, and feelings in situations of both peace and turmoil, inviting me into their homes or letting me hang around their workplaces. The courage they displayed in opening up and talking about their lives to the stranger I was has been inspiring and a true privilege. With many expressing a longing to narrate their lives as Christians in Zanzibar, it is my sincere hope that I have been able to do their stories justice when telling my own story of the church.
My take on the City Christian Center’s relations with Zanzibar has also been formed in interactions with people outside the context of the church which have all, in different ways, contributed to this study. I would like to thank Mwalimu Ramadhani for shaping my Swahili; Mama Asa and Mama Fatma for their warm introductions to their families and friends and thereby also to Zanzibar culture with all its social and political contestations; the staff at the Zanzibar Interfaith Centre—Lusungu Mbilinyi and especially Hannah and Daniel Nygaard Madsen—for hosting, listening to, and caring for a sometimes confused researcher; and Charles Manyama who helped me set up interviews and worked as an ongoing conversation partner. Appreciation also goes to the Zanzibar Research Committee for granting the research permit and to Abdul Sheriff, at the time the director of the Zanzibar Indian Ocean Research Institute which worked as my local institutional affiliation. The study would not have been possible without the generous financial support of the Nordic Africa Institute, Lunds Missionssällskap, and Stiftelsen Lars Hiertas Minne, all of which contributed to funding the periods spent in Zanzibar.
Thank you to all my colleagues at the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies in Lund; members of the research seminar of Global Christianity and Interreligious Relations; and researchers involved in the project, “Looking for Wholeness in an Enchanted World”. I am also indebted to the Joint Nordic doctoral seminars in Mission Studies and Ecumenism; the Point Sud “Competition and Cooperation in African Religions” doctoral workshops in Bamako and Ouagadougou and a number of conferences and seminars in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, France, the US, Canada, and South Korea. These have all been venues where this work has been shaped during production. I would like to express my gratitude to: Sarah Gehlin, Lotta Gammelin, Martina Prosén, Sandiswa Lerato Kobe, Marjaana Toivianen, Henni Alava, Arne Olsson, Karen Lauterbach, Elina Hankela, Tomas Sundnes Drønen, Michael McClymond, Jonas Adelin Jørgensen, Julie Skovgaard Sommer von Würden, Søren Gilsaa, Paul Gifford, David Westerlund, Jonas Otterbeck, Magdalena Nordin, Anne-Christine Hornborg, Martin Lindhardt, Amos Yong, Josephine Sundqvist, Naomi Haynes, Joel Robbins, Niels Kastfeldt, Anders Lindström, and George Alejeshi. Special thanks go to Magnus Echtler and Martha Fredericks for their careful and critical readings of earlier versions of the manuscript. Furthermore, I would like to thank the editors of the Studies of Religion in Africa series, the editors at Brill, and the anonymous reviewers of the manuscript for their thoughtful comments and suggestions for improving the book. I am also deeply grateful to Marie-Louise Karttunen for her skillful work in improving the text while copy-editing the manuscript.
Finally, the support provided by family and friends during this work has been immense, and something for which I will always be grateful; thanks to my parents for traveling to Tanzania; to the Jönssons for purchasing that lovely hill where stress turned into piles of firewood and vegetable borders; and to Tova and Robert for your endless backing. To my loved one, Anna, who has been a solid rock and wellspring of support during the project, bearing with my absent mind and periods spent away, and giving life to our precious Moa: I love you dearly.
Lastly, I would like to give thanks to my courageous comrade in field, who patiently followed her dad to Zanzibar, spending Sundays in “långkyrkan” and weekday afternoons painting to the soundscape of Swahili narratives of Christian belonging. Saba, I hope that you one day forgive me for only letting you swim in the Indian Ocean once a day and for our island excursion’s turning into playing cards in a hostel as the rain washed the weekend in Pemba away. I will always carry those precious days in my heart.