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Abstract

This paper explores the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the religious tourism activities of the four most prominent Independent Apostolic Churches (IAC) operating in Johannesburg, South Africa. This is an interpretive qualitative research study based on data from 15 telephone-based semi-structured interviews with congregants and church leaders of the Zion Christian Church, Zimbabwe (ZCC Mutendi), The Apostolic Church of Johane Marange, The Apostolic Church of Johane Masowe and Apostolic Faith Church, Mugodhi. Thematic content analysis was used for data analysis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the religious tourism activities of all four IACs in the study as they accepted and implemented various aspects of the lockdown regulations. The cancellation of their main annual events and weekly and monthly activities combined with a considerable reduction in contribution from their members resulted in churches’ inability to finance their main activities, i.e. their healing camps. It is evident that the ripple effects of reduced IAC activities in and around Johannesburg has negatively affected the city’s income from churches’ religious tourism activities.

This is the first study to explore the activities of IACs in Johannesburg (and Africa) before and during the pandemic, pointing to churches’ significant contribution to religious tourism in the city.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.21427/ad3x-n065

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