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Poverty and Traditional Religious Belief in Limpopo and South Africa

Presenters Name: 
Cameron Haddad
Co Presenters Name: 
Primary Research Mentor: 
Jeanine Braithwaite
Secondary Research Mentor: 
11:00 - 12:15
Time of Presentation: 
2019 - 11:00am to 12:15pm
Newcomb Hall Ballroom
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Social Science
Grant Program Recipient: 
Harrison Undergraduate Research Grant

Although traditional beliefs are important to many South Africans, there is a gap in the literature about how traditional religious belief and use of traditional healing services interact with social welfare/poverty status. Standard poverty assessments have not explored the poverty status of the traditionally religious. We compare our poverty measure to those developed and used by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) and the World Bank. In this paper, we use the South African General Household Survey to determine that the traditionally religious are poorer than average, both in South Africa as a whole, and in Limpopo Province (where we undertook additional fieldwork). We also present preliminaryfindings about the use of traditional healers. While traditional religious beliefs can be held by individuals who at the same time also hold more main-line religious affiliation, no structured survey instruments to date have explored the poverty status of those holding dual beliefs, which is an important area for future research.