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Original Research

Similarities in Pentecostal and traditional African culture: a positive potential in a context of urbanization and modernization

R Ingram

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 27, No 1 (2006), 339-360. doi: 10.4102/ve.v27i1.141

Submitted: 21 September 2006
Published:  17 November 2006


This article reflects the findings of a study that was conducted by NOVA (a research organization for the alleviation of poverty) for CDE (the Centre of Development and Enterprise) in 2004 with regard to the potential contribution of Pentecostalism to the socio-economical well-being of people who  are effected by the forces of modernization and urbanisation in South Africa. The case study was conducted among Pentecostal congregations in Witbank with special focus on congregations who serve people who have recently moved from the rural areas to Witbank. We made the interesting discovery that Pentecostal congregations do not serve as a new spiritual and social home for these new-comers by accident, but because their are underlying cultural similarities between Pentecostalism and Traditional African Culture. These similarities pertain to cosmology, social structure, personhood, morality and the value of esthetical experience. Because of these similarities Pentecostal communities create a context in which people who move from the rural areas to the city may feel at home and in which they are protected from the strange and confusing environment that is the city.

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Author affiliations

R Ingram, University of Pretoria, South Africa



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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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