Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bling, god and the Black sisters

Religion is a very important cultural practice the world over and many people do not feel complete without acknowledging their god or giving him some sacrifice. Christianity is big business and this is evident in South Africa where there is a mushrooming of charismatic churches all over. In the not so distant past we used to talk about priests but now pastor is the in word. Pastor Macaulay, Pastor Zuma, Pastor Niehaus and Pastor whoever wakes up and finds that he has been inspired to open a church.

Women have always been the devout types that have kept churches going for ages. Men have always been on the sidelines and their involvement has always been in pursuance of some material benefit, be it a powerful position in the church or getting a beautiful woman he has been eyeing for some time.

Young and upwardly mobile sisters are very religious in a new kind of way. Out is the traditional way of worshipping and in is the style where god is hip and happening and is rewarding the sisters abundantly. Traditional churches are losing membership as fast as you can say hi because they were caught napping…and there is a lot of skeletons in their closets. And it is fashionable nowadays to punctuate every conversation with praise to the lord or a need to acknowledge him. Worshipping god in this new kind of way is like newly found success. It is like it’s a new consciousness.

As I said earlier on you will invariably find men as leaders in these churches, no matter how few they are, and women will be the followers. I find this disempowering to women and perpetuating the practice that man shall always lead and women will follow and this permeates society as a whole. I suppose it is an old age practice that keeps reinventing itself. The old apostolic churches are gone and now it’s your chick, charismatic churches where bling is the thing. But there is one constant, the few men that are there are occupying leadership positions or are fighting for those positions and women are taking one side or another in these fights.

Am I bonkers to see this ‘new found’ spirituality in women just as an illusion that helps keeps them subjugated. It is like a makeover where after some time the impurities that you were trying to hide always have a way of showing. That is why the church will always keep reinventing itself in order to be palatable to new ways of life, while keeping their most important constituency, women, firmly in their place – at the bottom of the heap.

Honestly, this new fad of our Black sisters needing to acknowledge god for their fortunes makes me sad and mad. It is like emulating the tannies in the apartheid days who were devout church members but had racism inscribed in their every bone. But then again us black brothers are just like the ooms that used to oil the apartheid wheels. Where there used to be blacks and whites, it is now reach and poor. We have opened a little crack where a few of us can creep in.


  1. So you don't believe in God at all, or you just don't think he should be worshipped?

  2. Moremogolo, it looks like a lot has happened since I've been gone. I believe this piece must be developed further. The church, apostolic or otherwise is just another social formation that emulates the society in which it is located.

  3. @Laura, I do not believe in god at all but I do not have a problem with people who believe in and worship him, if only people can realise how he is at the centre of all the oppression and selfishness that is going on in this world, and here I do not mean the Christian god only.

    @MoA I will certainly further expand on this in my future posts, thanks for the encouragement. We missed you man!