Because of tectonic shifts in South Africa’s political economy, overlapping, often translocal, systems of exchange, meaning and privilege are transforming the country’s post‐imperial order. In the ‘estuarial’ zones where various demographic and ideational currents converge to create spaces of ongoing flux, religion serves as a mechanism of exclusion and a means of placemaking. In almost all cases, the historical privatization of religion among the country’s black majority has meant that negotiations over difference and belonging take place beyond the sphere of state intervention and policy. The results are forms of horizontal citizenship that are uncertain and impermanent but often involve novel subjectivities shaped by local conditions but without defined territorial boundaries. Religious practices that resonate with migrants’ nomadic impermanence, while hindering the consolidation of hegemonic political or social orderings, are crucial to these formations.