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Women, Religion and Landscape

Reimagining Traditional Religious Spaces of the Shembe Church from Afrocentric Notions of the Female Body

Entering the fields. Peta, S. Unit 15X. 2021.
Entering the fields. Peta, S. Unit 15X. 2021.

Sanelisiwe Peta

MArch 2021

Unit Leader: Dr Finzi Saidi
Unit Leader: Jabu Makhubu
Unit Tutor: Dickson Adu-Agyei
Unit Tutor: Mathebe Aphane
Unit Assistant: Nomalanga Mahlangu

UNIT 15X︎︎︎
Toxic [Urban] Landscapes
This thesis explores and speculates how the church as an institution and its customs, can serve as a toxic landscape for black African women. Moreover, it reveals how the black female body is objectified through: the fertility of the land being dependent of the fertility of the female, ‘ukuhlola’ or virginity testing, ‘isithembu’ or polygamy, ‘ukuthwala’ or the abduction of young women who are then forced into marriage, ‘ukulobola’ or dowry and the significance given to females remaining pure or ‘itshitshi’ within the toxic landscape of traditional and religious ritual practices in the church. This argument then begs the question, what options do black African women who still want to occupy spaces for religious and cultural activities have? How can we possibly reimagine existing ritualistic and religious spaces such as that of the Shembe Church from a black Afrocentric feminist perspective?

The research aims to critically dissect traditional modes of spatial configurations of sacred spaces. Secondly, it encourages divergent religious acts and rituals. This investigation will primarily reference the Derridean theory, as a methodology, of deconstructivism. This theory and the research I will be conducting is taking a confrontational stance to existing systemic architectural and religious methods. (Tschumi, 1991).

Women, Religion, Landscape, Afrocentric

Contact Sanelisiwe Peta:

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