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Journal Article

Confronting “disunity”: Indigenous religions as critics of politics in Africa


Debele,  Serawit Bekele       
Socio-Cultural Diversity, MPI for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Max Planck Society;

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Debele, S. B. (2018). Confronting “disunity”: Indigenous religions as critics of politics in Africa. Journal of Africana Religions, 6(2), 190-207.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-E128-0
In this article, I present visions of political unity as imagined by Faith of Unity from Uganda and the Waqqeeffana Followers Association from Ethiopia. I describe how politics is mobilized through notions of disunity and unity. The organizations’ critique of politics is artic-ulated using the vocabulary of religion, which is central to political dis/unity. Drawing on ethnographic data generated from Ethiopia and Uganda, I show that indigenous religions are, in their own right, spaces for the production of political thought attuned to the time and context of their existence. Their engagement expands the domains of the “political” from its usual confines—for instance, civil society asso-ciations, parties, NGOs, and states. Paying attention to such spaces uncovers more sites in which political subjectivities are formed, shaped, and reshaped.