Seminar: Religious business and the violation of human rights in Africa today

Vote for JesusThe growing pauperization of the lower classes in Sub-Saharan Africa is giving birth to new religiosities; notably, a Christianity of misery, characterized by countless unemployed and street-smart individuals striving for survival. Such people have learned to exploit the socio-political liberalization of the ’90s and they try their luck by proclaiming themselves to be prophets or chosen by God. They combine the Pentecostal rhetoric of ‘prosperity gospel’ with shamanic practices to sell ‘miracles’ to desperate and gullible people. The current and unprecedented ‘religious’ fervor has produced over 3000 prophets and prophetic assemblies in countries such as Cameroon, Nigeria or Congo-Kinshasa, where religious entrepreneurs are rapidly growing in influence among the poorer classes. At times this religious entrepreneurship goes along with criminal drifting, murder cases and offences to human dignity. How are these new figures of power becoming violators of human - civil, political, social and economic - rights? And how much of their existence is the result of corrupt governance?

Dieudonné ZognonHe was born in 1969 in Galim, Cameroon, and received his PhD from the University of Yaoundé I. Currently he is an Adjunct Lecturer in Ethics and Moral Philosophy at this University. From 1 September 2014 to 30 June 2015 he is a Scholars at Risk Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) in Wassenaar. Recently he published Le christianisme outragé : la misère religieuse en procès, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2014.


Date, time and location

28 May 2015
15.30 - 17.00
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room 5A37 (5th floor)