Pentecostalism and the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Thohoyandou, South Africa

Matshidze, Pfarelo Eva (2005-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis examines the role played by Pentecostalism in the lives of people, particularly by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Thohoyandou. The importance of this study lies in its demonstration of how Pentecostalism seems to solve some of the pertinent problems that prevail in society. The change of government in South Africa in 1994 had far reaching implications in the arena of political decisions which also affected the socio-economic aspect of the population. By covering the historical development of Venda and also showing how the democratic government changed the whole set up the study represents how religion, particularly prosperity Pentecostalism, may be used as a weapon to fight against socio-economic uncertainties where youth are the hardest hit. The study is premised on the assumption that the end of youth transition is not simply adulthood but also being part of the global economy. This to most youth, seems to be delayed and this leads young people being delayed to reach full adulthood. Against this background young people today have begun to redefine their identities in relation to the government and thus questioning meanings of success. Besides youth the elderly people who for some reasons feel deprived of their prosperity are trying to seek refuge in Pentecostalism. Some feel they have been robbed of their wealth and, therefore the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God as a coping strategy and a means to recoup what they had in the past. While some view the church in a positive light there are those who see it as encumbered by ill-practices. The thesis examines the above, through chapters entitled: history and functioning of the Universal Church, Youth and the Universal Church, other members of the church as well as the views of non-members of the church. It further opens up space for further research into the whole phenomenon of Pentecostalism as a coping mechanism during time of change.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie verhandeling ondersoek die rol wat Pentekostalisme speel in die lewens van mense, met besondere verwysing na die Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Thohoyandou. Die belang van die studie lê daarin dat dit aantoon hoe Pentekostalisme blykbaar daarin slaag om ernstige sosiale probleme suksesvol aan te spreek. Die verandering van regering in Suid-Afrika in 1994 het verrykende implikasies gehad in die arena van politieke besluitneming wat die sosio-ekonomiese aspek van die bevolking geraak het. Die studie dek die historiese ontwikkeling van Venda en wys hoe die demokratiese regering die hele sisteem verander het. Dit toon aan hoe religie, en met name voorspoed- Pentekostalisme, gebruik kan word as 'n wapen in die stryd teen sosioekonomiese onsekerheid wat die jeug die swaartse tref. Die studie gaan van die veronderstelling uit dat die einde van jeug nie bloot oorgang tot volwassenheid is nie, maar dat dit deelname aan die globale ekonomie insluit. Die meerderheid jeugdiges ervaar 'n oponthoud ten opsigte hiervan en dit lei tot 'n vertraging in die bereiking van volwassenheid. Teen hierdie agtergrond het jongmense begin om hulle identiteit ten opsigte van die regering te herdifinieer, en sodoende om die betekenis van sukses te bevraagteken. Ouer mense wat vir 'n verskeidenheid van redes voel dat hulle van hulle welvaart ontneem is, probeer ook om 'n veilige hawe te vind in Pentekostalisme. Party van hulle voel dat hulle beroof is van hulle rykdom en daarom verteenwoordig die Universal Church of the Kingdom of God vir hulle 'n strategie om die mas op te kom en 'n middelom terug te kry wat hulle in die verlede gehad het. Die kerk word deur sommige mense in 'n positiewe lig gesien, maar daar is ook diegene wat dink dat dit gebuk gaan onder problematiese praktyke. Die verhandeling ondersoek die bogenoemde temas in hoofstukke getiteld: die geskiedenis en werkswyse van die Universal Church; die jeug en die Universal Church; ander lede van die kerk; sowel as die beoordeling van die kerk deur nie-lede. Die weg word geopen vir verdere navorsmg oor die fenomeen van Pentekostalisme as 'n oorlewingstrategie in tye van verandering.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50415
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