Religion and the COVID-19 Pandemic in Southern Africa  book cover
1st Edition

Religion and the COVID-19 Pandemic in Southern Africa

ISBN 9781032147833
Published February 25, 2022 by Routledge
270 Pages

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Book Description

This book investigates the role of religion in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Southern Africa.

Building on a diverse range of methodologies and disciplinary approaches, the book reflects on how religion, politics and health have interfaced in Southern African contexts, when faced with the sudden public health emergency caused by the pandemic. Religious actors have played a key role on the frontline throughout the pandemic, sometimes posing roadblocks to public health messaging, but more often deploying their resources to help provide effective and timely responses. Drawing on case studies from African indigenous knowledge systems, Islam, Rastafari and various forms of Christianity, this book provides important reflections on the role of religion in crisis response.

This book will be of interest to researchers across the fields of African Studies, Health, Politics and Religious Studies.

The Open Access version of this book, available at, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Religion and Public Health in the Shadow of COVID-19 Pandemic in Southern Africa 2. Exploring the Ethics of Ubuntu in the Era of COVID-19 3. Social Distancing in the Context of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe: Perspectives from Ndau Religious Indigenous Knowledge Systems 4. Coping with the Coronavirus (COVID- 19): Resources from Ndau Indigenous Religion 5. Living with COVID-19 in Zimbabwe: A Religious and Scientific Healing Response 6. Religion, Law and COVID-19 in South Africa 7. Tele-evangelism, Tele-health and Cyberbullying in the Wake of the Outbreak of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe 8. The Role of Religion in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic Challenges in Tanzania 9. COVID-19 Containment Measures and ‘Prophecies’ in Kenya 10. Christian Religious Understandings and Responses to COVID-19 in Eswatini 11. Standing together in Faith through the Time of COVID-19: The Responses of Church Umbrella Bodies in Zambia 12. Churches and COVID-19 in Botswana 13. The Coronavirus Pandemic and Persons with Disabilities: Towards a Liberating Reading of the Bible for Churches in Southern Africa 14. The Influence of Health Perceptions on Zimbabwe Muslim Responses to COVID-19 Restrictions over Ramadan, Pilgrimages and Funeral Rites in 2020 15. Repositioning the Agency of Rastafari in the Context of COVID-19 Crisis in Zimbabwe and Malawi 16. ‘When a Pandemic Wears the Face of a Woman’: Intersections of Religion and Gender during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Zimbabwe 17. Religion and COVID-19 in Southern Africa: Implications for the Discourse on Religion and Development

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Fortune Sibanda (DPhil) is a Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Great Zimbabwe University, Masvingo.

Tenson Muyambo (DPhil) lectures in the Department of Teacher Development at Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo, Zimbabwe.

Ezra Chitando (DPhil) serves as a Professor in History and Phenomenology of Religion at the University of Zimbabwe, and Theology Consultant on HIV and AIDS in Africa for the World Council of Churches.