Institute of Social Anthropology
Yannick van den Berg: Religiosity in Everyday Life and the Experience of Church Services in north-central Namibia
Presentation by Yannick van den Berg, PhD student, Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg
A comparative Ethnography of Anglican and charismatic-Pentecostal Churches in Oukwanyama
The presentation revolves around the interest for two distinct forms of religious experience: On the one hand, the liturgically more strictly framed services of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (specifically the services of St. Mary in Odibo and St. Michael in Katutura); on the other, the eventful services of a charismatic-Pentecostal congregation in Oshikango, the True Gospel of Salvation whose services stress spiritual inspiration and deliverance. Three people, their lives and lifeworlds as well as their motivations of visiting these services, stand in the center of attention: Ileni, seeking employment and a way of supporting his family; Ndinah, joining the True Gospel of Salvation in her search of healing and a more promising future; and fr. Ngube, a thriving Anglican priest, who in his services combines many of the older traits of Anglican liturgy with newer ways of worshiping. Thus, the topics of healing and spiritual affliction appear closely intertwined with the many insecurities and existential risks – as well as the successful moments – of modern Namibian life.Familial belonging, personal identity, and financial prospects may provide insights into the need for and the benefits of ritual participation, often enabling personal transformation. It is ritual and a Christian way of life that for these three people shapes their world and the various kinds of existential possibilities they, as a person, may come to live therein.
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