© 2016

Routes and Rites to the City

Mobility, Diversity and Religious Space in Johannesburg

  • Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon
  • Lorena Núñez
  • Peter Kankonde Bukasa
  • Bettina Malcomess

Part of the Global Diversities book series (GLODIV)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon, Lorena Núñez, Peter Kankonde, Bettina Malcomess
    Pages 1-30
  3. Bettina Malcomess, Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon
    Pages 31-60
  4. Peter Kankonde, Lorena Núñez
    Pages 61-89
  5. Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon, Melekias Zulu, Eric Worby
    Pages 239-271
  6. Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon, Bettina Malcomess, Peter Kankonde, Lorena Núñez
    Pages 307-318
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 319-329

About this book


This thought-provoking book is an exploration of the ways religion and diverse forms of mobility have shaped post-apartheid Johannesburg, South Africa. It analyses transnational and local migration in contemporary and historical perspective, along with movements of commodities, ideas, sounds and colours within the city. It re-theorizes urban ‘super-diversity’ as a plurality of religious, ethnic, national and racial groups but also as the diverse processes through which religion produces urban space. The authors argue that while religion facilitates movement, belonging and aspiration in the city, it is complicit in establishing new forms of enclosure, moral order and spatial and gendered control. Multi-authored and interdisciplinary, this edited collection deals with a wide variety of sites and religions, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism. Its original reading of post-apartheid Johannesburg advances global debates around religion, urbanization, migration and diversity, and will appeal to students and scholars working in these fields.


Migration Super-Diversity Christianity Islam Hinduism Judaism Africa Global South Global City

Editors and affiliations

  • Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon
    • 1
  • Lorena Núñez
    • 2
  • Peter Kankonde Bukasa
    • 3
  • Bettina Malcomess
    • 4
  1. 1.African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS)University of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  3. 3.Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic DiversityGöttingenGermany
  4. 4.Wits School of ArtsUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

About the editors

Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon is a researcher and writer at the African Centre for Migration and Society, University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa.

Lorena Núñez is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa.

Peter Kankonde Bukasa is a doctoral researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany.

Bettina Malcomess is Lecturer in Fine Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa. She is also an artist, writer and curator.

Bibliographic information


“Focusing on the particular global character of post-apartheid Johannesburg, this engrossing collection shows how the mobile bodies, practices, materialities, discourses and images that enact religion and spirituality are also fundamentally constitutive of urban social space.” (Mary Hancock, author, “The Politics of Heritage from Madras to Chennai”)

This book magisterially unpacks the movements and traces of religious practice in Johannesburg's urban space. With its incredible attention to both the visible and the invisible, the evanescent and the more permanent features of urban religious life, it represents a masterpiece of urban scholarship. Through marvellous ethnographies an unseen city emerges in front of us. Highly recommended to students of urban studies and religion alike.” (Marian Burchardt, author of “Faith in the Time of AIDS: Religion, Biopolitics and Modernity in South Africa”, and researcher at Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany)