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In: Journal of Religion in Africa
In: Journal of Religion in Africa
Author: Kate Kingsbury

Abstract

Touba, in Senegal, is the equivalent to Mecca for Sufi Mouride Muslims, who embark on an annual pilgrimage called Le Grand Magal to celebrate the founder of their faith, Cheikh Amadou Bamba. When devotees describe their sacred city they frequently compare Touba to heaven, juxtaposing it to the materiality and chaos of other Senegalese cities, as though it was distinct from these lieux. Yet Touba shares many similarities in terms of its economic importance with other metropolises. Mourides despite presenting themselves as a united religious community, have differences of opinion and even praxis. This paper explores the imagination of Touba and the Mouride order by Mourides, positing that the sacred sites of Touba comprise a stage for the performance of piety and the generation of a particular Mouride ontology through which they see Touba, their order and the world.

In: Journal of Religion in Africa
Author: Tom Kwanya

Abstract

Night-runners are perceived as faceless, evil people who run naked in the darkness, thereby wreaking havoc in otherwise peaceful rural villages. This paper investigates the origins of night-running, the mysteries associated with it, the benefits and harms of night-running, and the impact of indigenous knowledge (IK) stigmatisation on this practice. Indigenous knowledge is the body of unique beliefs, attitudes, skills, and practices possessed by communities in a specific geographic setting. In spite of its potential value, scholars point out that indigenous knowledge has been neglected, vindicated, stigmatised, legalised, and suppressed among the majority of the world’s communities due to ignorance and arrogance. Night-running is one of the indigenous practices in Western Kenya that has been stigmatised. Given this, little is actually known about night-running. This study was designed as an ethnographic research through which the views of the residents of Homa Bay County on night-running were investigated, collated, and interpreted as a means of demystifying this indigenous practice. The findings of the study indicate that night-running is intrinsically a harmless practice. However, evil persons such as witches sometimes masquerade as night-runners and can hurt or kill people.

In: Journal of Religion in Africa

Abstract

This manuscript explores the dynamic between religion and rural-urban linkages in northeastern Madagascar. I find that church leaders have coalesced around two competing narratives of ancestors. Catholic churches see some types of migrant linkages (e.g., burial in the rural family tomb and participation in rural ancestral rituals) as being in line with Christian beliefs, while Protestant churches see these same activities as morally questionable or potentially satanic. To some degree Protestant migrants exert agency in the face of these religious teachings, and do not view their religion as an impediment to maintaining rural connections. However, quantitative analysis of rural-urban linkage behavior over a twelve-month period shows that Protestants have weaker rural ties compared to Catholics, even for behaviors that are not the focus of religious prohibitions. I offer several explanations for this finding. Protestant migrants are less motivated to invest in all types of rural linkages due to family conflicts after conversion, uncertainty about burial in the rural family tomb, reduced opportunities to develop affective ties with kin, and economic motivations to reduce rural demands on their urban wages.

In: Journal of Religion in Africa
In: Islamic Africa