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Wild Religion: Tracking the Sacred in South Africa by David Chidester

By David Chidester

Wild Religion is a wild trip via fresh South African background from the arrival of democracy in 1994 to the euphoria of the soccer international Cup in 2010. within the context of South Africa’s political trip and non secular variety, David Chidester explores African indigenous non secular background with a distinction. because the religious measurement of an African Renaissance, indigenous faith has been recovered in South Africa as a countrywide source. Wild Religion analyzes indigenous rituals of purification on Robben Island, rituals of therapeutic and reconciliation on the new nationwide shrine, Freedom Park, and rituals of animal sacrifice on the international Cup. no longer regularly within the nationwide curiosity, indigenous faith additionally seems within the wild spiritual creativity of legal gangs, the worldwide spirituality of neo-shamans, the ceremonial exhibit of Zulu virgins, the traditional Egyptian theosophy in South Africa’s Parliament, and the hot traditionalism of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma. Arguing that the sacred is produced in the course of the spiritual paintings of extensive interpretation, formal ritualization, and excessive contestation, Chidester develops leading edge insights for figuring out the that means and tool of faith in a altering society. For someone drawn to faith, Wild Religion uncovers superb dynamics of sacred house, violence, fundamentalism, history, media, intercourse, sovereignty, and the political economic climate of the sacred.

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While the inauguration of Nelson Mandela in 1994 was blessed by a rainbow religious coalition of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu prayers, the inauguration of Thabo Mbeki in 1999 began with an invocation by a representative of African traditional religion before the prayers were heard from the other four religions. Exiled from the city for so long, Mapping the Sacred | 35 African indigenous religion seemed to be establishing a role in urban space—in the home, in the community, and even in the nation—as a religion among religions in the African Renaissance of the twenty-first century.

Erected in 1908, this statue of Rhodes was intended by the architect Herbert Baker to be the spiritual axis of the city, with the city center realigned to radiate out from the “restless spirit” of the archetypal British imperialist. While this statue was placed at the center of the city, a monumental memorial to Rhodes was erected above and beyond the city on the slope of Devil’s Peak. 22 Guarded by two rows of lion-sphinxes modeled on the Avenue of the Sphinxes at the ancient Egyptian Temple of Karnak, the Rhodes Memorial houses two statues.

41 As the cell of Nelson Mandela became a “virtual shrine,” Robben Island attracted tourists from all over the world on pilgrimage to this sacred space that celebrated the triumph of the human spirit over the forces of colonial oppression. In the colonial constructions and counterproductions of sacred space, religious meanings of urban space were generated not only out of Christian, Muslim, or other conventional religious resources but most potently out of the history of the city itself, especially as that city was inscribed in the statue or the monument, the razed neighborhood or the island prison.

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