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The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God: A Brazilian Church Finds Success in Southern Africa

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image of Journal of Religion in Africa

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, a Brazilian Pentecostal church which in little more than a decade has had considerable success in southern Africa, is analyzed as a new phenomenon in the region's religious world, bypassing the West and straddling existing ecclesiastical typologies. However, its success has been limited virtually to three countries in the region, and the reasons for its appeal in democratic South Africa and post-Marxist Mozambique and Angola are examined. In the Lusophone sphere, its Brazilian cultural heritage and media power have made it a powerful social force; and in the new South Africa (despite the strong contrast in race relations with its Brazilian homeland), it has found a country with similar levels of development and similar inequalities, within which it has been able to fill a niche in the local religious field newly emerged from apartheid, and to begin a process of South Africanization.


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