David Chidester

in Wild Religion

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780520273078
Published online September 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780520951570 | DOI:

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This chapter shows how South Africa has tried to domesticate religion in national heritage sites such as the Freedom Park, a presidential legacy project of Thabo Mbeki. The unleashing of indigenous African religion in this place involved constructing a central shrine to draw the visits of all South Africans, and sending out emissaries from the park to perform traditional rites: the wild religious resources of indigenous healing, cleansing, reverence for ancestors, and community formation. In addition, the place creates an extraordinary historical depth by invoking both fossil records and DNA evidence to embed the origin of South Africa in primordial time.

Keywords: South Africa; national heritage sites; DNA evidence; primordial time; religious resources; Freedom Park; indigenous healing; cleansing

Chapter.  7839 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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