Hindu Temple Ritual Worship in Durban, South Africa

Researcher:

Tina Ziva Kopecka

Research Area:

A


The project explores a specific religious identity by investigating sources and dynamics of contemporary public Hindu ritual practices in the city of Durban, South Africa. The research focuses on Amman worship with special emphasis on the fire-walking festival and Murugan worship and, in particular, its Kavady rituals, as annually practiced at and mediated by the temples in Durban.


Empirical research analyses the way in which rituals develop within the context of post-colonial and multireligious society, how these rituals are negotiated, appropriated and framed and how they are experienced, remembered and narrated – in other words, how they continue and process the local Hindu tradition by creating the various spaces – physical as well as social and symbolic – where their prestige and legal authority, just like South African Hindu identity, is located, displayed and confronted.


The project aims to contribute to the documentation of the reconstitution of a particular culture – i.e. religious identity in a rapidly changing and multicultural South African environment – while enquiring into the possibilities of linking cognitive and practical theoretical approaches that account for religious and ritual innovation.