Religion and (Re)negotiation of Belonging among Zimbabwean Migrant Youths in South Africa

Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)


Research on Pentecostalism and social life is often focused on the influence of the church in shaping the moral and associational lives of church members. However, to my knowledge, the everyday social lives of individual church members outside the context of the church is not frequently examined. This ethnographic study explores the extent to which Zimbabwean migrant churches in South Africa may shape the daily social lives of young church members, aged 17–23, outside the associational and formal context of the church. Focusing on Forward in Faith Ministries International (FIFMI), a Pentecostal church spread across more than one hundred countries globally, I seek to extend the study of Pentecostalism, everyday religious sociality and young people’s identities and experiences of belonging beyond a focus on Christianity as a set of ideas and practices that occur in church. The research is significant for bringing out how social, political and economic aspects of human experience inform the ways in which people define religious experiences outside the institutional boundaries of the church. The research also highlights the need for understanding the ways in which diverse personal and social contexts influence Zimbabwean young people’s choices about both long-term and fleeting sociality vis-à-vis church ideologies regarding these.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Great Zimbabwe UniversityMasvingoZimbabwe

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