https://www.ajol.info/index.php/jsr/issue/feed Journal for the Study of Religion 2021-03-29T12:26:54+00:00 Dr Johannes A Smit smitj@ukzn.ac.za Open Journal Systems Journal for the Study of Religion is published twice a year in March and September by the Association for the Study of Religion in Southern Africa as a forum for scholarly contributions of up to 6000 words on topics of contemporary significance in the academic study of religion, in the form of articles, responses to articles, review articles and shorter book reviews. https://www.ajol.info/index.php/jsr/article/view/205269 The role of the London Missionary Society and Church Missionary Society in the abolition of <i>oozhiyam</i> (bonded labor service) in Kerala 2021-03-29T12:26:29+00:00 Ayyappan Balakrishnan balakrishnana1000@gmail.com <p>Bonded labor is the most widespread form of slavery in the world. It is at once the most ancient and most contemporary face of human servitude. In India, ‘labor’ is more a social category than economics, where the division of labor and laborer is defined according to the caste. The caste system is not a scientific division of labor, which is, after all, necessary for the efficient functioning of any economy. It is an arbitrary, birth-determined hierarchy in which different types of laborers are graded one above the other and subject to a descending scale of civil disabilities that have nothing to do with efficiency or productivity. It is not a division based on choice, as individual sentiment, preference, or even actual skill, have no place in it. Caste slavery was an oppressive, discriminative, and exploitive system which existed in Kerala from an early medieval period onwards. In the social structure of Kerala, the bonded or forced labor system was an unavoidable factor of slavery. As the system of bonded labor was associated with feudalism, land-based social relations were formed in the state. The <em>oozhiyam</em> or bonded labor system, therefore strictly connected with the caste oriented slavery in Kerala. Under the system of <em>oozhiyam</em>, the economically under-privileged servants were obliged to render bonded services on all days of the week as required by the government officials and the higher castes. The main force behind this system was the coercive authority of the government and the privileged class. Nobody dared to evade the services demanded by the government. Only on the days of the <em>oozhiyam</em> services, the laborers received a minimum quantity of food to keep their body and soul together. This essay mainly focuses on the ameliorating activities of the Christian missionaries, such as the London Missionary Society (LMS) and Church Missionary Society (CMS), among the oppressed sections of the society of Kerala. In addition to the social legislations of the government, the intervention of Christian missionaries also helped in the permanent abolition of the system of <em>oozhiyam</em> in Kerala.</p> 2021-03-29T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) https://www.ajol.info/index.php/jsr/article/view/205270 South Africa’s weekly media: Front-page reporting 9/11, preventing Islamophobia 2021-03-29T12:07:26+00:00 Muhammed Haron HARONM@UB.AC.BW <p>New York’s twin tower bombings, popularly referred to as 9/11, are regarded as a watershed period in world affairs. It happened at the cusp of the new century and its impact, since then, has been enormous, for it radically changed many aspects of human life. Both the print and the electronic media were pivotal in these changes. Besides shaping the way that communities perceive others, it also influenced the manner in which communities are dealing with one another. Since a radical Muslim group was blamed for this dastardly deed and since Muslims were implicated for this reprehensible act, the secular media expectedly placed the Muslims – in majority and minority settings – around the world under the spotlight. The media’s negative portrayal and reporting about Muslims did not only contribute towards a tendentious relationship between the media and the Muslims but it also contributed towards the spread of Islamophobia. This thus caused Muslims in both majority and minority settings to adopt a skeptical view of the role of the secular media. Considering these developments, this essay’s focus turns to the South African print media that reported and analyzed their reporting of this event during that period. Since it is beyond this essay’s scope to look at all the country’s daily and weekly tabloids, it restricted itself to two widely circulated South African weekly newspapers, namely the Sunday Times and Mail &amp; Guardian. It first describes and discusses their front-page reports as they captured the tragic 9/11 event, before it reflects on their editorials – columns providing one with insights into the respective editors’ understanding of this event and their perceptions of Muslims nationally and globally. Being a purely textual study, it conceptualizes Islamophobia as the essay’s conceptual frame.</p> 2021-03-29T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) https://www.ajol.info/index.php/jsr/article/view/205271 Religious associational life amongst black African Christian students at Howard College Campus, University of KwaZulu-Natal 2021-03-29T12:16:32+00:00 Anthonia O. Ishabiyi paduatonia@yahoo.com Sultan Khan khans@ukzn.ac.za <p>Historically, religion has played a key role in the destiny of human beings. It has provided reasons for its existence and shaped the social, cultural, economic, and political behavior of individuals and society. Specifically in the 21st century, the globe has become a multi-faith space with diverse religious philosophies, ways of religious expressions, norms, and values. For the young university students, it provides a space for critical reflection, awareness of one’s self and an environment in which one’s values and norms are tested and perhaps reshaped. Given the abstractness of the university environment and exposure to a vast range of beliefs and practices, it may challenge the religious belief structure of students to an extent that one may go on to question long held religious beliefs and practices. It is against the background of this context that this article tests the nature of religious associational life of on-campus black African Christian students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus. The methodological approach to the study embraced both qualitative and quantitative data gathering tools. Semi-structured self-administered questionnaires were used to gather data. A total of 123 respondents, selected purposively, participated in the study. The results of this study suggest that on-campus, religious associations play an integral role in reinforcing the religious and spiritual identity of students. It impacts both their personal and academic life. Additionally, the study highlights that although religious tolerance featured in the study, there was a need for inter-religious dialogue, given the diversity of faith groups in the country.</p> 2021-03-29T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) https://www.ajol.info/index.php/jsr/article/view/205273 Islam, Muslims, and the coloniality of being: Reframing the debate on race and religion in modernity 2021-03-29T12:20:02+00:00 Iskander Abbasi alex.abbasi8@gmail.com <p>This article aims to more thoroughly intersect the figure of the Muslim into the framework of the coloniality of being, and into the narrative of race and religion in modernity. Two areas of concern are investigated: First, how Islamophobia aided in forming the coloniality of being in ways that decolonial scholarship – namely that of leading Latin American decolonial thinker, Nelson Maldonado-Torres – is seemingly unaware of or downplays, and second, how a rereading of a number of the key events and figures that define a decolonial discourse on race and religion, such as the Valladolid debates (1550-1551) and the figure of Christopher Columbus, help to more rigorously conceptualize the figure of the Muslim in relation to the coloniality of being.</p> 2021-03-29T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) https://www.ajol.info/index.php/jsr/article/view/205274 Book Review 2021-03-29T12:22:33+00:00 Idowu A. Akinloye idakinloye@gmail.com <p>Van Coller, H. 2020. <em>Regulating religion: State governance of religious institutions in South Africa.</em> Routledge: London. 246 pages. ISBN: 978-1-138- 29871-2 (hardback).</p> 2021-03-29T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c)