Accepted paper:

Mama's Luanda: feminine religious trajectories in Luanda

Author:

Natalia Zawiejska (Jagiellonian University)

Paper short abstract:

The religious feminine networks are important part of Luanda’s everyday life experience. Women church departments play relevant role in (re)mapping and (re)shaping of the city space but also extend official activities on private life grounds infiltrating intimate women's psychological and corporal experience.

Paper long abstract:

The proposal is based on the fieldwork conducted in Luanda between December 2013 and February 2014. According to latest estimative the population of Luanda is reaching the level of 7 million of inhabitants. The city centre has capacity to shelter merely few percent of Luanda's population pushing most of the city dwellers to suburban or rural style quarters, with high level of informal human-space relations. Most of suburban districts lack city planning and mapping, what imposes on inhabitants numerous (re)mapping activities, depending on various social and group belongings. During the last two decades Luanda has also experienced tremendous growth of churches and places of worship which are deeply marking the city life experience. Most of Angola's population adheres some religion and the number of declared atheists is very low and insignificant turning Luanda a religion saturated city. Religious life and experience is in Luanda strongly marked with women presence and activities. Women departments, organizations and ministries are crucial for most of the denominations. Even though in some of the religious movements, denominations and churches women are not able or allowed to benefit all offices and accumulate religious charisma, women constitute the most active and powerful force within the church society group. This influential presence is visible at the institutional level in organizing numerous activities on the level of congregation, municipality and province but also transgresses administrative framework infiltrating family, kin, work group and reaching feminine psychological and corporal experiences. Women religious networks extensively participate in (re)mapping of Luanda at the same time (re)formulate and (re)shape everyday city life experiences.

panel P105
Intimate collaborations and gendered spaces in African cities