The thesis investigates how a sense of self as a born-again Christian is produced and reproduced through ritual practices. The investigation is based on a fieldwork in a Pentecostal-Charismatic community in the former Coloured Group Area of Wentworth, Durban, South Africa. Here I am concerned with how the ritual practices of giving testimonies, prayer, recruiting new members and "memory healing" are used as mediating devices for the production and reproduction of a born-again self.
The analysis is divided in two major parts. In part 1, I treat the ritual practices as identity practices that constantly engage in dialogical encounters with God and the Devil. These encounters occur on the level of individual people in conversion and prayer, and on the level of the church witnessing to the "non-born-again" in Wentworth, constituting a local struggle of identification.
In part 2, I analyse a healing narrative told by a middle-aged woman in the church after she have gone through a process of memory healing that changed her sense of self. In order to understand the significance of this healing as a process transforming identity, I focus on the connections evoked in the narrative between the stated experiences of being Coloured and the pain of remembering the past. This investigation show how the healing of these painful memories, refigured as evil spirits, constitutes an embodied experience of "release". I argue that this experience refigure the meaning attached to and the experiences of being a Coloured into a spiritual device for forming and reforming a sense of self as a born-again Christian.
At last I discuss the key symbolic theme of breaking with the past, prevalent in all ritual practices mentioned above. The discussion is both empirical and analytical. As for the first I argue that an important device for the cultural production of a born-again subjectivity, is the repeated rupture with ones personal past. Analytically I draw on other studies to discuss the potential of time as a comparative category for comparing religious movements in contemporary Southern Africa.