African Pentecostal churches and racialized xenophobia: International migrants as agents of transformational development?
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Scholarship on Pentecostal potential and practice forms a significant part of the debate on religion and development, not least when the focus is on sub-Saharan Africa. Yet in this debate African Pentecostal migrant communities have scarcely been represented. The article focuses on two such communities in South Africa, arguing that they may be regarded as developmental agents in the context of racialized xenophobia, even if they do not portray themselves as such. The argument is based on ethnographic fieldwork and shaped through employing the concept of transformational development that centers on restoring relationships. The article concludes that the two communities – living in a context affected by racialized xenophobia – contribute meaningfully towards restoring relationships between people and God, one’s relationship with oneself, relationships within the church community as well as relationships between the church community and the neighborhood.