South-South Transnational Spaces of Conquest: Afro-Brazilian Pentecostalism, Feitiçaria and the Reproductive Domain in Urban Mozambique

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Brazilian Pentecostals are establishing new transnational Christian connections in Africa. Focusing on Mozambique, this paper examines the specific logic of cultural mixing that is emerging in the South-South contact of African and Brazilian Pentecostals. This South-South connection is based on a particular framing of the transatlantic history in Afro-Brazilian concepts of evil, such as macumba and feitiçaria. The South-South transnational features of Afro-Brazilian Pentecostalism enhance a need to spiritually scrutinize, combat and transcend aspects of ‘African culture’ in the reproductive sphere of marriage, sexuality, family, money and work. Upwardly mobile Mozambican women, who are conquering new cultural positions, are finding this South-South transnational Pentecostal space attractive. Afro-Brazilian Pentecostalism and upwardly mobile women find and reinforce each other in their capacities to challenge and move frontiers in the national sphere around reproductive issues. However, the powerful atmosphere of conquest that South-South Pentecostalism consequently creates has to be carefully manoeuvred by the women to not let their accusations of feitiçaria rise against themselves.

South-South Transnational Spaces of Conquest: Afro-Brazilian Pentecostalism, Feitiçaria and the Reproductive Domain in Urban Mozambique

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  • 5

    See e.g. Paul Freston‘Globalization, Southern Christianity, and Proselytism’The Review of Faith & International Affairs 7 (2009) 3-9.

  • 7

    Freston‘The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God’55.

  • 9

    Birgit Meyer‘ “Make a Complete Break with the Past”: Memory and Postcolonial Modernity in Ghanaian Pentecostal Discourse’Journal of Religion in Africa 28/3 (1998) 316-349.

  • 12

    Freston‘The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God’33.

  • 14

    Cf. Freston‘The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God’33.

  • 26

    Mattijs van de Port‘Bahian White: the Dispersion of Candomblé Imagery in the Public Sphere of Bahia’Material Religion 3/2 (2007) 242-273.

  • 31

    For more on this see Linda van de Kamp‘Converting the Spirit Spouse: The Violent Transformation of the Pentecostal Female Body in Maputo, Mozambique’Ethnos 76/4 (2011) 510-533.

  • 33

    Freston‘The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God’41.

  • 36

    Freston‘The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God’41.

  • 39

    E.g. Afe Adogame‘A Home Away from Home: The Proliferation of Celestial Church of Christ in Diaspora Europe’Exchange 27/2 (1998) 141-160; Clara Mafra Na Posse da Palavra: Religião Conversão e Liberdade Pessoal em Dois Contextos Nacionais Lisbon: Imprensa de Ciências Sociais/Instituto de Ciências Sociais Universidade de Lisboa 2002; Peggy Levitt God Needs No Passport: Immigrants and the Changing American Religious Landscape New York: The New Press 2007; Gerrie ter Haar Halfway to Paradise. African Christians in Europe Cardiff: Cardiff Academic Press 1998; Rijk van Dijk ‘Negotiating Marriage: Questions of Morality and Legitimacy in the Ghanaian Pentecostal Diaspora’ Journal of Religion in Africa 34/4 (2004) 438-467.

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    Steven Vertovec‘Introduction: New Directions in the Anthropology of Migration and Multiculturalism’Ethnic and Racial Studies 30/6 (2007) 961-978.

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    Cecilia Loreto Mariz‘Igrejas Pentecostais Brasileiras no Exterior’Análise Social 44/1 (2009) 161-187.

  • 54

    Interview 28 June 2006. Translated from Portuguese by the author.

  • 62

    Interviews 1 7 and 12 March 2007and conversations in May 2007.

  • 63

    Cf. David Maxwell‘ “Delivered from the Spirit of Poverty?”: Pentecostalism, Prosperity and Modernity in Zimbabwe’Journal of Religion in Africa 28/3 (1998) 350-373.

  • 64

    Interview 13 June 2006.

  • 68

    See also Sasha Newell‘Pentecostal Witchcraft: Neoliberal Possession and Demonic Discourse in Ivoirian Pentecostal Churches’Journal of Religion in Africa 37/4 (2007) 461-490; Daniel Jordan Smith ‘ ‘The Arrow of God’: Pentecostalism Inequality and the Supernatural in South-Eastern Nigeria’ Africa 71/4 (2001) 587-613.

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