Despite the considerable volume of material produced by scholars in recent times on the political and social relevance of Africa’s religious revival, policy makers and development workers continue to pay only scanty attention to religion in their work. In cases, where some attention is paid to religion, the focus has been on institutions and public-spirited religious personalities. Most policy makers and development workers seem more comfortable to deal with these than the core religious elements such as rituals. Based on discussion of data drawn from a study of the Corinthian Church of South Africa (CCSA), this paper argues that aspects of religion such as beliefs and rituals, which are often ignored in development work constitute an important “spiritual capital” that can enrich social capital; and that if these are taken account of in social policy crafting, they will provide a new vista to some of the developmental challenges of Africa.
Christopher Candland, “Faith as Social Capital: Religion and Community Development in Southern Asia,” in Social Capital as a Social Policy Resource, eds. John D. Montgomery and Alex Inkeles (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001), 130.
James S. Coleman, “Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital,”American Journal of Sociology94 (1988): 95–120; Partha Dasgupta and Ismail Serageld, eds., Social Capital: A Multifaceted Perspective (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 1999); Robert D. Putnam, “The Prosperous Community: Social Capital and Public Life,” American Prospect 13 (1993): 35–42.
Stephen Ellis, “Young Soldiers and the Significance of Initiation: Some Notes from Liberia,” (paper presented at the Africa Studies Centre, University of Leiden, 24 March 2003), online: http://www.ascleiden.nl/pdf/conference24042003-ellis.pdf (accessed on 15 June 2014); see also Lydia Polgreen, “A Master Plan Drawn in Blood,”The New York Times, 2 April 2006.