PRESERVING BODIES, SAVING SOULS: RELIGIOUS INCONGRUITY IN A NORTHERN MALAGASY MINING TOWN 1 by ANDREW WALSH (Mount Allison University) ABSTRACT This article discusses the manifestation of incongruent religious ideals in a north- ern Malagasy sapphire mining community. It focuses particularly on how mem- bers of an Evangelical Christian congregation and long-time resident animists of the place interpret one another’s practices, and on how these interpretations re ect a fundamental disparity in how they understand the material world that they share. It argues that the con ict that has emerged between them can only be understood in light of this signi cant disparity. Introduction In July 1999 a congregation of ‘Jesus Saves’ ( Jesosy Mamonjy ) Christians built a new meeting hall on the western side of the north-south road that runs through the northern Malagasy town of Ambondromifehy. Covering about 2500 square feet on the banks of the small lake from which the town gets its name, this new hall was much larger and more solidly built than the one it replaced, its well-funded construction tes- tament to the e V ect of a thriving sapphire trade on the town’s expand- ing ranks of ‘saved’ migrant miners. On
Journal of Religion in Africa – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2002
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