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  • Author or Editor: Simbarashe Gukurume x
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Abstract

Drawing on ethnographic research in Zimbabwe, this article examines the ways through which a new Pentecostal-Charismatic Church (PCC), Good Life Church (GLC), engages in charity and redistributive activities in Harare. From the mid-2000s, there has been a remarkable Pentecostal explosion in Zimbabwe. This explosion coincided with a protracted socio-economic and political crisis. This crisis was marked by deepening poverty, skyrocketing unemployment, hyperinflation, and the withdrawal of state welfare. This was worsened by rapid emigration, which dismembered kinship-based social safety nets. In response, new PCCs emerged as new and alternative spaces of welfare provision, redistribution and social security. I argue that GLC’s engagement in acts of charity should be understood within the broader discourse of spiritual warfare against the demons of poverty. By addressing “this-worldly” concerns, GLC attempts to make a holistic contribution to sustainable development by attending to the spiritual and material needs of people. Indeed, a culture of giving is cultivated and habituated in everyday life and practices within the church. I assert that acts of individual and collective charity provision in GLC enable many people to navigate uncertainties and precarities wrought by the postcolonial economic crisis. This article draws on Bourdieu’s theory of practice, and particularly his concepts of field, habitus and forms of anticipation to unpack the acts of charity in GLC. A specific kind of Pentecostal habitus is (re)produced through teachings, rituals, socialities and convivialities forged within the church.

Open Access
In: Religion and Development