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Abstract

Drawing on ethnographic research in Zimbabwe, this article examines the ways through which a new Pentecostal-Charismatic Church (PCC), Good Life Church (GLC), engages in charity and redistributive activities in Harare. From the mid-2000s, there has been a remarkable Pentecostal explosion in Zimbabwe. This explosion coincided with a protracted socio-economic and political crisis. This crisis was marked by deepening poverty, skyrocketing unemployment, hyperinflation, and the withdrawal of state welfare. This was worsened by rapid emigration, which dismembered kinship-based social safety nets. In response, new PCCs emerged as new and alternative spaces of welfare provision, redistribution and social security. I argue that GLC’s engagement in acts of charity should be understood within the broader discourse of spiritual warfare against the demons of poverty. By addressing “this-worldly” concerns, GLC attempts to make a holistic contribution to sustainable development by attending to the spiritual and material needs of people. Indeed, a culture of giving is cultivated and habituated in everyday life and practices within the church. I assert that acts of individual and collective charity provision in GLC enable many people to navigate uncertainties and precarities wrought by the postcolonial economic crisis. This article draws on Bourdieu’s theory of practice, and particularly his concepts of field, habitus and forms of anticipation to unpack the acts of charity in GLC. A specific kind of Pentecostal habitus is (re)produced through teachings, rituals, socialities and convivialities forged within the church.

Open Access
In: Religion and Development

Abstract

Over the past few years, China–Africa engagements have intensified, manifesting in an escalation of Chinese small-scale entrepreneurs investing in African countries. Nevertheless, there is little research on everyday workplace encounters, management styles and labour dynamics in these businesses. This study fills this lacuna by examining labour and management practices in Chinese-owned SME s in Zimbabwe, and how local employees experience and perceive Chinese management styles and practices. We employed an ethnographic qualitative methodology, conducting interviews and informal conversations. Secondary data came from newspaper and civil society reports. The findings revealed that workplace regimes in Chinese SME s are complex and ambivalent, marked by precariousness, conflict, contestation and conviviality. The findings also highlighted meagre salaries, job insecurity, long working hours and unfair dismissals. We argue that the socio-spatial context of work in Chinese SME s in Zimbabwe is imbued with complex power dynamics driven by divergent cultural interpretations of work and being a worker.

In: Africa Review

Abstract

Spiritual warfare is an important part of everyday life and rituals in Pentecostal churches in Africa and beyond. In Pentecostal parlance, the world is constructed and construed as a battleground between born-again Christians and Satanic forces. This article examines the ways in which Pentecostal Charismatic Churches in Southern Africa adopt and utilise military metaphors and trope in their everyday rituals and practices of spiritual warfare. Drawing on qualitative ethnographic fieldwork and in-depth interviews among three Pentecostal churches in Zimbabwe and South Africa, we argue that militarised metaphors are deployed as important symbolic and material weapons in the spiritual warfare against the devil and demonic forces. In the fight against the demonic, Pentecostal prophets and pastors cast themselves as the commanders, general and majors, leading an army of Christ. This army’s role is to defeat Satan and his demonic forces and expand the kingdom of God before the second coming of Christ.

Full Access
In: Journal of Religion in Africa