Zimbabwean migrants and the dynamics of religion and informal support associations in mediating everyday life in Cape Town

Dube, Charles (2017-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This ethnographic study is about Pentecostal spirituality and everyday social life among migrant members of Forward in Faith in Cape Town, South Africa. My focus is on the capacity of the church to reach into and shape individual congregants’ daily lives, through its various doctrines, moral instructions and forms of ‘social surveillance’. The study explores the extent to which individual believers conform to these injunctions in their daily social life both inside and outside the associational and formal context of the church. While much has been written about the effort made by Pentecostals to make a break with relations they had before conversion, and the challenges attendant to those attempts, this literature has not addressed the everyday social relations of believers in multiple and layered public and private spaces. I aim to critically engage contemporary scholarship on religion which assumes that born again Christians enact these church messages and injunctions into their daily lives in ways that influence their definitions and daily practices of social life. Is it possible that individual congregants may find ways to be convivial with non-congregants simply in order to get along with them? What does the church bring to the daily lives of its members? Is there a split or disjuncture between the spaces of the church and everyday life? What do other experiences outside of the church bring to the everyday lives of individual congregants? My findings indicate that in everyday life, people are pragmatic. Since congregants in my study lived in a socially diverse world, how their relations were built outside the church were informed by this diversity. For example, despite the existence of various social media platforms (WhatsApp and Facebook) to share information regarding accommodation, and job opportunities, most church members preferred to share apartments with non-church members. The desire to escape ‘social surveillance’ from fellow church members and leadership was one of the reasons for this preference. While they were aware of the church’s message about the ‘polluting’ world and the dangers of sharing social spaces with non-believers, in daily existence individual congregants arranged their lives and made decisions by themselves. In spaces outside the church, believers and non-believers sat together, ate together, travelled together in public transport and met in other public spaces. Through these mundane daily experiences, they arrived at an everyday ethics of conviviality. This study therefore concludes that, due to the complex social, cultural, economic and political environment Stellenbosch University within which the church operated in South Africa, it was limited in its capacity to influence church members’ daily lives

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Hierdie etnografiese studie handel oor Pinksterspiritualiteit en die alledaagse sosiale lewe onder trekkers van Forward in Faith gebaseer in Kaapstad, Suid-Afrika. My fokus is op die kapasiteit van die kerk om uit te reik na en die individuele gemeentelede se alledaagse lewe te vorm deur middel van sy veelsoortige leerstellings, morele instruksies en fatsoene van ‘sosiale bewaking’. Die studie ondersoek in hoeverre individuele gelowiges konformeer tot hierdie opdragte in hulle daaglikse sosiale lewe hetsy dit binne of buite die genootskap en formele konteks van die kerk geskied. Alhoewel daar vele skrywe is wat handel oor die pogings van Pinksterspiritualiteit om weg te breek van verhoudings wat hulle gehad het voor bekering en die uitdagings rondom hierdie probeerslae, word daar nie in hierdie literatuur oor die daaglikse sosiale verhoudings van gelowiges in veelvoudige en gerangskikte openbare en private ruimtes aangespreek nie. My doel is ʼn kritiese deelname in ʼn hedendaagse religieuse vakgebied wat aanneem dat wedergebore Christene die kerkboodskappe en opdragte voorskryf in hulle daaglikse lewe op maniere wat hulle definisies en daaglikse gewoontes van sosiale lewe beïnvloed. Is dit moontlik dat individuele gemeentelede maniere vind om gesellig te wees met ander nie-gemeentelede slegs om met hulle oor die weg te kom? Wat dra die kerk by tot die daaglikse lewe van sy lede? Is daar ʼn skeur of ʼn gaping in die ruimtes van die kerk en die alledaagse lewe? Wat bring ander ervaringe buite die kerk tot die individuele lewens van die lede? My bevindinge wys daarop dat mense pragmaties is in hulle alledaagse lewe. Aangesien die gemeentelede in my studie in ʼn sosiale diverse wêreld leef, word hierdie verhoudings buite die kerk ingelig deur hierdie diversiteit. ʼn Voorbeeld is dat tenspyte van die verskillende sosiale media platforms (soos Whatsapp en Facebook) om inligting te deel rondom akkommodasie en werksgeleenthede, verkies gemeentelede om woonstelle te deel met nie-gemeentelede. Die begeerte om ‘sosiale bewaking’ van medegemeentelede en leierskap te ontsnap is een van die redes hoekom hulle dit so verkies. Terwyl hulle bewus is van die kerk se boodskap oor die ‘besoedelde’ wêreld en die gevare om sosiale ruimtes te deel met nie-gelowiges, rangskik individuele gemeentelede hulle daaglikse lewe en neem hulle hulle eie besluite. In ruimtes buite die kerk sit gelowiges en nie-gelowiges saam, eet hulle saam, reis hulle saam in openbare vervoer en ontmoet in ander openbare ruimtes. Deur middel van hierdie banale daaglikse ervaringe bereik hulle ʼn alledaagse etiek van geselligheid. Die gevolgtrekking is dat weens komplekse sosiale, kulturele, ekonomiese en politieke omgewing waarin die kerk funksioneer in Suid-Afrika, is die kerk beperk in sy kapasiteit om gemeentelede te beïnvloed in hulle daaglikse lewe

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/102690
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