Christianity’s Role in Dispute Resolution in Mozambique

in Social Sciences and Missions
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Religion is often portrayed as either a source of conflict or as a source of peace and reconciliation. In this article, we explore the role of religion in day-to-day conflicts in different regions of Mozambique – in Maputo and Gorongosa. We analyse the factors that are of importance in determining whether religious mediation, here mainly by Pentecostal Christians, unites or divides people. It appears that pastors who intervene directly between conflicting parties tend to aim at reconciliation, whereas pastors who intervene in an indirect manner tend to sharpen and magnify divisions between people.

Social Sciences and Missions

Sciences sociales et missions (Formerly: Le Fait Missionnaire)




See for example M. Burchardt, “Challenging Pentecostal Moralism: Erotic Geographies, Religion and Sexual Practices among Township Youth in Cape Town”, Culture, Health and Sexuality, Vol. 13 (6), 2011, pp. 669–683; For Mozambique, see V. Agadjanian and C. Menjívar, “Fighting down the scourge, building up the church: Organisational constraints in religious involvement with HIV/AIDS in Mozambique”, Global Public Health, Vol. 6 (sup. 2), 2011, pp. 148–162.


See e.g. J.W. Fernandez, “African Religious Movements”, Annual Review of Anthropology Vol. 7, 1978, pp. 195–234; B.G.M. Sundkler, Bantu Prophets in South Africa, London: Oxford University Press, 1961 [1948]; R. Horton, “African Conversion”, Africa, Vol. 41 (2), 1971, pp. 85–108; J. Comaroff, Body of Power, Spirit of Resistance: The Culture and History of a South African People, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985; B. Meyer, “Christianity in Africa: From African Independent to Pentecostal-Charismatic Churches”, Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 33, 2004, pp. 447–474. For Mozambique see G. Seibert, “But the Manifestation of the Spirit is Given to Every Man to Profit Withal: Zion Churches in Mozambique since the Early 20th Century”, Le Fait Missionnaire, Vol. 17, 2005, pp. 125–150.


E. Morier-Génoud, “Of God and Caesar. The Relation Between Christian Churches and the State in Post-Colonial Mozambique, 1974–1981”, Le Fait Missionnaire Vol. 3, 1996, pp. 1–79. The Protestant churches, where most of Frelimo’s leaders originated from, were closer to the state but they too suffered from the hostile policy towards religion, see T. Cruz e Silva, “Evangelicals and Democracy in Mozambique”, in T. Ranger (ed.) Evangelical Christianity and Democracy in Africa, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, pp. 164.; see also I. Lundin, Negotiating Transformation: Urban Livelihoods in Maputo Adapting to Thirty Years of Political and Economic Changes, Göteborg: Department of Human and Economic Geography, Göteborg University, 2007, pp. 107–108; also P. Pinto, “Jehovah’s Witnesses in Colonial Mozambique”, Le Fait Missionnaire Vol. 17, 2005, pp. 61–124.


L. van de Kamp, “Afro-Brazilian Pentecostal Re-Formations of Relationships across Two Generations of Mozambican Women”, Journal of Religion in Africa, Vol. 42 (4), 2012, pp. 433–452.


B. Meyer, “Christianity in Africa”; M. Engelke, “Past Pentecostalism: Notes on Rupture, Realignment, and Everyday Life in Pentecostal and African Independent Churches”, Africa Vol. 80 (2), 2011, pp. 177–199. See also J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, Contemporary Pentecostal Christianity: Interpretations from an African Context, Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, Regnum Studies in Global Christianity, 2013.


See also P. Freston, “The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God …”, p. 46; P. Birman, “Future in the Mirror: The Media, Evangelicals and Politics in Rio de Janeiro”, in B. Meyer and A. Moors (eds.), Religion, Media and the Public Sphere, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2006, p. 65.


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