In the Central African Republic, despite the persistence of political violence as a means of acquiring power, new trajectories for success have emerged; however, they have received scant attention from scholars. This article seeks to shed light on these trajectories by exploring the case of a religious entrepreneur associated with the Grace Brethren Churches (Église Évangelique des Frères). Based on field research conducted in Bangui from May to October 2017, it argues that the life trajectory of the Rev. Dr. Augustin Hibaile highlights the need to address two factors influencing religious entrepreneurship and upward social mobility. First, Hibaile has used his skills to continue leveraging the prestige of the religious sphere, even while developing a close relationship with the country's president. Second, Hibaile's rise to national prominence from humble beginnings has relied on a locally constructed understanding of status, based chiefly on international education and the exercise of customary forms of moral authority—an understanding also observed in other African countries.


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pp. 129-149
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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