The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

Pentecostal Charismatic Women

This is a Black feminist autoethnographic study, written from the perspective of an insider in both the Pentecostal community and Alexandra township. The book uncovers the daily lives of women in an African Pentecostal community while relating them to Black/African feminist and womanist theory. Thus, revealing the ways in which the Charismatic women of Alexandra build strong bonds with one another in spite of their differences and contest controlling images of femininity even as they sometimes traffic in problematic heteronormative constructions of social life.

This book examines Charismatic discourses that build the gender identities of women congregants. It also observes and records women churchgoers to give insights into their personal perceptions, embodiments and performances of power and agency within the church and the wider societal spaces that they occupy. It is an intervention into anthropological work as much as one on the internalised oppression of women. Rather than stay within the confines of “agency versus oppression” discourses, this book offers feminist imaginaries that expose the complexities and contestations that exist in both sermons and the intimate relations that women have with each other.

Open Access

Product information

Format : 135mm x 216mm (Soft Cover)
Pages : 160
ISBN 13 : 978-0-7969-2639-5
Publish Year : February 2023
Rights : World Rights

Note on Translations


Chapter 1 Constructing Femininities: Becoming Women

  • Pentecostal History: Identity Re/Formations
  • Black Feminist Theology
  • Womanism, Black Feminism and African Feminism
  • Entry Points

Chapter 2: Contested Pentecostalisms: A Review

  • Have You Read the Comaroffs?
  • Upward Mobility, Breaking from the Past and the Prosperity Gospel
  • Mediated Pentecostalism and Shaping “the World”
  • Gendered Ideologies and Identities
  • A Problematic View
  • Conclusion

Chapter 3: Between the Feminised Other and Black Women’s Power

  • Beyond the Feminised Other
  • African Gender Discourses: Religion, Culture and the Law
  • Gender as Performativity
  • Wilful Whispers
  • Conclusion

Chapter 4: This Field I Call Home

Chapter 5: Constructions of Femininity

  • Get Me to the Church on Time
  • When Church Is in Session
  • Living Word
  • Upper Hall Ministries
  • God’s Love
  • Red Sea Ministries

The Sermons

  • The Sound of Wedding Bells
  • Same Bells Different Ideologies
  • Women in the Pulpit
  • Men in the Pulpit

From the Mouths of Babes BomThandazo

  • Desire: Marriage, Heterosexual Love
  • Going 50/50: Definitions of Equality and Gender Roles
  • Prayer Scarfs: Respectability and the Female Fear Factory
  • We Don’t Want to Be Judged
  • Pastor Fuckboys and the Art of Dating
  • Femininity from Their Mothers to Their Churches
  • What’s Love Got to Do with It?
  • Conclusion

Chapter 6: A Question of Difference



About the author


Tumi Mampane is an African feminist PhD candidate at the Department of Communication and Media, University of Johannesburg affiliated to the NRF SARCHi Chair in African Feminist Imagination at Nelson Mandela University. Tumi is also a lecturer at the Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State. Her research interests include cultural and media studies, township femininities, popular culture, African Pentecostalisms, discourse analysis, narrative analysis, ethnography, and feminist theory.

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