Religious Transnationalism and the Quest for Physical and Spiritual Healing: The Case of Cameroonian Migrants in Cape Town


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


African Centre for Cities


Drawing on qualitative research amongst Cameroonian migrants living in Cape Town, South Africa, this study explores the trans-local and (trans)national interconnections migrants are forging with various religious denominations to seek healing and deliverance in their daily lives and emotional challenges in the host country of South Africa. It focuses on how (trans)national and trans-local religious activities find fertile ground for salvationist Pentecostalism among migrants desperately seeking physical/emotional wellbeing in a challenging host context, and their leaning towards ‘prosperity gospels’ that combined spiritual and socio-economic success. This study examines the under-documented (trans)national religious activities of Cameroonian migrants who are in search of answers to existential problems – illness, sorcery/spiritual attack, challenges of obtaining legal status, prosperity and joblessness, family feuds and marital issues. It questions to what extent are Pentecostal churches in Cape Town relevant to migrants’ everyday lives and how do migrants navigate and negotiate the different religious spheres?