Who is Shooting Who in South Africa?

By Duane Jethro Ryan Anderson, writing for the anthropology blog Savage Minds, recently raised the question of the usefulness of authenticity as a methodological tool in the social sciences. Invoking Edward Bruner’s observation that, “authenticity is a red herring, to be examined only when tourists, the locals, or the producers themselves use the term” (Culture on Tour, 2005:5), Anderson argues that authenticity can be constructive in so far as it opens up possibilities for “empirical investigation [into] how different people create and imagine what is and what is not authentic”. Drawing on the controversial case of the Damon Winter’s manipulated photos of American soldiers in the Afghan war, for which the photographer won a prestigious award, Anderson’s post asks us to think about what criteria we should use to evaluate the authenticity of images. Lees verder

“What is This?!” Framing Ghanaian art from the colonial encounter to the present

By Rhoda Woets “Sarenco is mafia,” said painter Almighty God (b. 1950) while he grabbed my arm and pulled me towards a black and white painting in the back of his workshop, “he also cheated other African artists.” We are in Almighty God’s extended open-air workshop at Suame junction, one of Kumasi’s jammed thoroughfares where an unremitting stream of cars and buses head further up North. A strategically positioned painting of a human figure, covered in blood, warns drivers on their way to the junction with the words “drive with care, over speeding kills.” During an enchanting tour among vivid paintings nailed to the white walls, palisades and wooden structures in his workshop, Almighty God told me that Sarenco owed him 4,200 dollars (US). But the contemporary African art “specialist” Sarenco never answered his phone calls; how should Almighty get his precious money back – all the way from Italy to Ghana? To underscore what he had just said, Almighty God pulled out his phone to dial Sarenco’s number in Italy once more. And indeed, no answer. Lees verder

South-South connections: Brazilian Pentecostalism in Mozambique and ‘cultural distancing’

By Linda van de Kamp In 2007, Madam Gracelina (45 years old) was going to open a business with her husband in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. She had managed to rent a nice building for their company at a central location in the city centre and had bought all the necessary equipment. There were also some possible future customers Dona Gracelina was in contact with and she was all ready to start. However, after having dealt with the right government department in Maputo for several months, government officials would not hand over the required licence. She suspected that the officials were waiting for her to pay them an additional sum of money to proceed, but she refused. In the Brazilian Pentecostal God is Love Church that she frequented, she handed over the project file with the company plans and copies of all the papers she had to arrange for the licence to a Brazilian pastor. He would take it with him on his travels until he was back in Brazil where the church’s founder was going to pray for her. During the service it was revealed that an evil spirit stood behind Dona Gracelina and this was following her wherever she went. The pastor expelled the spirit and proposed a programme of prayer, offerings and fasting to defeat the demon.

Studies on religious transnationalism have addressed the role of religion for migrants in maintaining the link between the home and host society. A central question is how transnational religion plays a role in preserving a sense of cultural continuity or in encouraging cultural change in contact between migrants and the new society in which migrants are subjected to a forceful public agenda that usually emphasizes integration. In this context, it has been argued that transnational Pentecostalism encourages stability in situations of mobility and provides for cultural continuity by offering migrants a ‘home away from home’.   Lees verder

An encore for the weakest performer

by Gea Wijers While the European Union is under scrutiny because of the euro-crisis, at the other side of the planet countries are getting ready to intensify their regional cooperation. Next to ASEAN, Cambodia is now involved in the Great Mekong Subregion (GMS) program. As in the case of our European crisis, the resulting greater connectivity here can also be said to have mixed results. Let’s evaluate some opportunities and challenges of cooperation for a developing country.

The GMS cooperation is characterized as based on the increase of connectivity, competitiveness and community. Please note, not necessarily on the cooperation  or even integration that our European Union is based on. Lees verder

Beter lijden dan sterven in Burundi

door Lidewyde Berckmoes Het is lange tijd stil geweest rondom Burundi, in de Nederlandse kranten en ook op Standplaatswereld. De aanleiding van het doorbreken van deze stilte is helaas treurig. Zondagavond zijn er in een bar in Gatumba niet ver van de hoofdstad Bujumbura 36 mensen (laatste telling) vermoord.

Het nieuws bereikte me via Jean-Marie, één van de jongeren uit mijn onderzoek in Burundi. Zondagavond stuurde hij me een mailtje als antwoord op mijn vraag hoe het met hem ging:  “Ik weet niet hoe ik het moet zeggen, zojuist ook, 2 uur geleden, ben ik mijn neef in Gatumba verloren, samen met meer dan 40 andere personen. De situatie is erg.”

“De regering houdt vol: Er is geen rebellenbeweging. Er is geen oorlog. Er komt geen onderhandelingstafel.”

Bubanza, een van gebieden waar de onveiligheid groot is (door Lidewyde)

De aanslag komt in een periode van ‘relatieve vrede’. Verkiezingen in 2005 markeerden het begin van een transitieperiode die het land uit een 12-jaar durende burgeroorlog moest trekken. Vorig jaar, in 2010, vonden verkiezingen plaats die de transitie naar een land in vrede verder moest bestendigen.  De aanslag van afgelopen zondag laat op harde wijze zien dat dat idee te optimistisch was. Lees verder

Gewelddadige bekering: verdediging proefschrift

© Copyright foto's: Rufus de Vries

Op 16 september verdedigt Linda van de Kamp haar proefschrift over de groei van Braziliaanse pinksterkerken in Maputo, de hoofdstad van Mozambique. Het pentecostalisme groeit vooral snel in de stedelijke gebieden van Afrika, Latijns-Amerika en Azië. Waarom zijn pinksterkerken daar zo populair? Deze vraag beantwoordt Linda van de Kamp in haar proefschrift ‘Violent conversion: Brazilian Pentecostalism and the urban pioneering of women in Mozambique’.


“Een belangrijke reden voor bekering is de droom van een mooi huwelijk”

Van 2005 tot en met 2007 verbleef Van de Kamp in Mozambique, waar al snel bleek dat de pinksterkerken vooral sociaaleconomisch succesvolle vrouwen aantrekken. Via participerende observaties en diepte-interviews ontdekte zij dat veel van deze vrouwen de kerkdiensten bezoeken vanwege problematische liefdesrelaties. Braziliaanse pinksterpastors doorbreken lokaal een taboe door openlijk ‘kwade’ geesten te bestrijden die verantwoordelijk worden gehouden voor de seksuele problemen van deze vrouwen en de spanningen in hun relaties met partners en verwanten.

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Sport for development; my South African experience

Photo from documentary ‘Can I kick it?’ (2010)

While studying in South Africa for one semester I was involved in a development project called “Girls and Football South Africa” (GFSA). This sparked my enthusiasm and interest for the use of sport as a tool in development initiatives and inspired me to write my Bachelor’s thesis on this topic.

By Siri Lijfering It was exactly one year ago that I left Amsterdam to go to South Africato do a minor in development studies at the university of Stellenbosch. During my studies there, I became closely involved in the GFSA project that aimed at providing girls from a township between 9 and 12 years of age, the opportunity to develop their football skills, personal qualities and self esteem (www.girlsandfootballsa.com). In the past few years, several ‘sport for development projects’ have been set up in townships, but none for girls, who are considered to be the most marginalized. Due to the parents’ long working hours, the large amount of single-mother households, and the common drug and alcohol abuse by adults, children, and especially girls, are parentalized – having an overdeveloped sense of responsibility for others – at a very young age which often results in social isolation. Hence, providing these girls with a safe space where they can play and talk with peers can prevent this. Lees verder