22 November 2022

Land healing, farming and spiritual cleansing in Southern Africa

In their recent work, Marie Curie Fellow, Hans Olsson, and Associate Professor Karen Lauterbach ask what the relationship between religion, healing and farming in Southern Africa could look like? Their chapter explores how contemporary Charismatic Christians in South Africa perceive depleted farmlands as possessed and under influence of evil forces and how staking out land for farming serves to heal the land and remake it fertile. Focusing on a case of Evangelical-Charismatic Christians endorsing farming as a solution to both shortage of food and issues of environmental degradation, the chapter analyses Christian agriculture as an activism of (and for) healing aimed at delivering the land and its caretakers from sin, corruption, and immoral living. Discussing Christian healing as an emerging ecological geo-piety and regenerative agriculture a form of spiritual warfare, Olsson and Lauterbach argue that articulations of faith-based farming open up pathways for assessing how contemporary Christian practices move into contested public arenas and moral debates over how land should and should not be utilized.

The chapter will be published 15 Dec., and is part of a wider conversation around charismatic religious healing published by Bloomsbury; Charismatic Healers in Contemporary Africa, edited by Sandra Fancello and Alessandro Gusman.

The research is part of the FarGo project funded by the European Union, Horizon 2020.