Launch of 'A Church of Strangers'

Wednesday, 18 May, 2016 - 18:00

WiSER and Wits University Press invite you to the launch of

Ilana van Wyk’s new book

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in South Africa

In discussion with Christa Kuljian and David Coplan and chaired by Hlonipha Mokoena.

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), a church of Brazilian origin, has been enormously successful in establishing branches and attracting followers in post-apartheid South Africa. Unlike other Pentecostal Charismatic Churches (PCC), the UCKG insists that relationships with God be devoid of ‘emotions’, that socialisation between members be kept to a minimum and that charity and fellowship are ‘useless’ in materialising God’s blessings. Instead, the UCKG urges members to sacrifice large sums of money to God for delivering wealth, health, social harmony and happiness. While outsiders condemn these rituals as empty or manipulative, this book shows that they are locally meaningful, demand sincerity to work, have limits and are informed by local ideas about human bodies, agency and ontological balance. As an ethnography of people rather than of institutions, this book offers fresh insights into the mass PCC movement that has swept across Africa since the early 1990s.

Ilana van Wyk is an anthropologist and a researcher at the Institute for Humanities in Africa at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.  

Wednesday, 18th May 2016
6:00 - 7:30

WiSER Seminar Room
6th Floor, Richard Ward Building
East Campus, Wits University

Drinks will be served.