The paper explores two opposing yet simultaneous forces of aesthetics as transformative and constitutive force of Muslim identity politics, religiosity and cultural style in Cape Town The ethnography focuses on Muslim artists in Cape Town, namely Thania Petersen and twin brothers Hasan and Husain Essop, whose artworks embody a ‘social drama’ of a lived experience of Muslims’ ongoing individual and collective active engagement with and appropriation of the plurality of competing discourses that are religious and secular, local and global. The discussion unpacks the ways in which the artworks of Petersen and the Essop brothers serve as a transformative force and as a politic of authenticity to Muslim identity, religiosity, and cultural style. The paper offers an appreciative but critical reading of Talal Asad’s idea of an anthropology of Islam. Taking into consideration the incommensurable diversity and internal contradiction that could be conceived as Islamic discursive traditions, this paper argues that the aesthetics of Muslimness is what inspires coherence within and across diverse, contradictory Islamic traditions.
The use of the mass media has become a contemporary and fast-growing religious phenomenon within Pentecostal and charismatic churches. By drawing implications on the use of modern media technologies, this article presents a popular case of a Charismatic church in Ghana and shows how the idea of branding evolves around the use of the mass media. This article argues that the branding of the leaders’ personality and the church is a marketing strategy aimed at attracting more people into the church.