In search of a family : the challenge of gangsterism to faith communities on the Cape Flats

MacMaster, Llewellyn L. M. (2010-03)

Thesis (DTh (Practical Theology and Missiology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Gangsterism, as described in this study, is a serious problem. It has deep historical roots in Cape town has developed into a kind of ‘resident evil’ that rears its ugly head time and again, despite several efforts by state organs to crush it. The study was not attempted as a thorough and in-depth research on gangs as such. The main research question was: How do faith communities, in particular Christian churches, respond to the challenges of gangsterism on the Cape Flats. The research gives an overview of gangsterism as a global phenomenon and how it specifically manifests and presents itself within the context of the Cape Flats of Cape Town. The discussion of gangsterism deliberately wanted to dispel the notion that there are quick-fix solutions to gangsterism. People of faith should guard against superficial analyses and over-simplification of social issues, including gangsterism, poverty and unemployment. With this in mind, the research has traced the historical origins of gangsterism in Cape Town, highlighting various socio-political, economic as well as cultural and personal factors that contributed to the formation and establishment of street gangs. It was also noted how some of these factors still exist in postapartheid South Africa and continue to provide fertile ground for gangsterism to continually raise its ugly head in communities on the Cape Flats. It was important to note that many gangs have evolved from ordinary street gangs to sophisticated, high-profile crime syndicates that have built strongholds in poor communities. This furthermore underlines the fact that there are not quick-fix solutions to gangsterism as if it is only a few youngsters causing trouble that should be sorted out [Chapter 2]. Faith communities on the Cape Flats have come a long way themselves. These communities have shown an incredible resilience in the face of many challenges as a result of socio-political factors. It is therefore important to discuss some of the elements that contributed to this resilience as the research explores the nature of the ecclesiology that has developed over a period of time. What transpired is that the ecclesiology under discussion is dynamic, not static in nature. The type of ecclesiology on the Cape Flats may be called a social-systemic ministry of inter-contextual presence. It is responsive to the social context, and is kept alive by the context with a huge emphasis on orthopraxy rather than orthodoxy. The situation on the Cape Flats requires a missional ecclesiology as faith communities are challenged to continuously involve themselves in the mission dei. While reaching out to the world, faith communities are also called iv upon to be open, practicing hospitality as they welcome gangsters and ex-gangsters into their spaces of worship [Chapter 3]. The next question to explore is: What kind of pastoral care is needed when faith communities on the Cape Flats have to deal with the challenge of gangsterism and other social phenomena like poverty, unemployment and substance-abuse? In order to answer this question, it was necessary to trace back the development of pastoral care and counseling over many centuries. Learning from these historical developments, a communal-contextual paradigm for pastoral care was chosen as a base theory. This choice indicates a move away from individual care with a focus on the human “self” to a hermeneutics of systemic, public care and compassionate presence. Some of the elements of this kind of care is discussed which include contextuality, as well as the eco-systemic, hermeneutical, anthropological, relational and public nature of pastoral care. It is also important that pastoral care operates and is practiced inter-disciplinary in order to provide the best possible help to care-seekers. The final question that is posed is: How different is the care that faith communities provide from the care of any other welfare agency or non-governmental organization (NGO)? In order to link an eco-systemic and social hermeneutic paradigm to the theology of presence of God within communal and contextual systems, a pneumatological approach to theory formation in pastoral care is proposed. Pastoral care has to offer more than behavioural and social sciences, because we believe that the salvation and grace it offers are good news to people. Pastoral care offers not only comfort and consolation, but also transformation (change and growth) and the fostering of a mature faith and spirituality by means of Scripture, prayer and the sacraments within the communion sanctorum, the familia dei.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Gangsterisme, soos dit in hierdie studie beskryf word, is ‘n ernstige probleem. Dit het diep historiese wortels in Kaapstad, wat met die verloop van tyd ontwikkel het in ‘n tipe ‘plaaslike euwel’ wat gereeld kop uitsteek, ten spyte van talle pogings deur staatsorganisasies om dit uit te roei. Die studie is nie aangepak met die doel om ‘n deeglike en in diepte navorsing te wees op bendes as sodanig nie. Die hoof navorsingsvraag was: Hoe reageer geloofsgemeenskappe, meer spesifiek Christelike kerke, op die uitdagings van gangsterisme op die Kaapse Vlakte? ‘n Oorsig word gegee van gangsterisme as ‘n wêreldwye verskynsel en hoe dit spesifiek manifesteer en voorkom in die konteks van die Kaapse Vlakte van Kaapstad. Die bespreking van gangsterisme stel ten doel om die idee te verwerp dat eenvoudige oplossings te vinde is vir gangsterisme. Gelowige mense moet waak teen oppervlakkige ontledings en oorvereenvoudiging van sosiale aangeleenthede, insluitend gangsterisme, armoede en werkloosheid. Gedagtig hieraan, het die navorsing die historiese oorsprong van gangsterisme in Kaapstad nagetrek, met klem op die verskeie sosio-politiese, ekonomiese sowel as die kulturele en persoonlike faktore wat bygedra het tot die vorming en vestiging van straatbendes. Melding was ook gemaak van die feit dat sommige van hierdie faktore steeds bestaan in post-apartheid Suid-Afrika en voortgaan om ‘n geskikte milieu te skep vir gangsterisme om voortdurend kop uit te steek in gemeenskappe op die Kaapse Vlakte. Dit was belangrik om te vermeld dat bendes ontwikkel het van gewone straatbendes na gesofistikeerde, hoë profiel misdaadsindikate wat hulle ingegrawe het in arm gemeenskappe. Dit bevestig verder dat daar geen eenvoudige oplossings is vir gangsterisme, asof dit slegs ‘n paar jongelinge is wat kwaad aanvang en uitgesorteer behoort te word. Geloofsgemeenskappe op die Kaapse Vlakte het self ook ‘n lang pad gestap. Hierdie gemeenskappe het ‘n ongelooflike weerstand getoon in die aangesig van menigte uitdagings as gevolg van sosio-politiese faktore. Gevolglik is dit belangrik om sommige van die elemente te bespreek wat bygedra het tot hierdie weerstand in die lig van die bespreking van die aard van die ekklesiologie soos dit met die verloop van tyd ontwikkel het. Dit het geblyk dat die ekklesiologie onder bespreking dinamies en nie staties van aard is. Die ekklesiologie van die Kaapse Vlakte kan na verwys word as ‘n sosiaal-sistemiese bediening van inter-kontekstuele teenwoordigheid. Dit reageer op die sosiale konteks, en word aan die gang gehou deur die konteks, met meer klem op ortopraksie eerder as op ortodoksie. Die situasie op die Kaapse Vlakte vereis ‘n missionale ekklesiologie soos geloofsgemeenskappe voortdurend uitgedaag vi word om hulle te betrek in die mission dei. Wyl hulle uitreik na die wêreld, word geloofsgemeenskappe ook opgeroep om toeganklik en gasvry te wees teenoor bendelede en gewese bendelede deur hulle in hul midde in plekke van aanbidding te verwelkom. Die volgende vraag om te ondersoek is die vraag na die tipe pastorale sorg wat nodig is wanneer geloofsgemeenskappe op die Kaapse Vlakte te doene het met die uitdagings van gangsterisme en ander sosiale verskynsels soos armoede, werkloosheid en dwelmmisbruik. Om hierdie vraag te kan beantwoord, was dit nodig om die ontwikkeling van pastorale sorg en berading oor die eeue na te speur. Gegrond op hierdie historiese ontwikkelinge, is besluit op ‘n gemeenskaplik-kontekstuele paradigma as basis teorie vir pastorale sorg. Hierdie keuse dui op ‘n wegbreek van individuele versorging met die fokus op die menslike ‘self’ na ‘n hermeneutiek van sistemiese, publieke sorg en medelye teenwoordigheid. Sommige van die elemente van hierdie tipe sorg word bespreek, wat kontekstualiteit insluit, sowel as die eko—sistemiese, hermeneutiese, antropologiese, relasionele en publieke aard van pastorale sorg. Dit is verder ook belangrik om kennis te neem dat pastorale sorg interdissiplinêr werksaam is en uitgevoer word om die bes moontlike sorg te bied aan diegene wat om sorg aanklop. Die laaste vraag wat gestel word: Hoe verskil die sorg wat deur geloofsgemeenskappe voorsien word van die sorg van enige ander welsynsorganisasie of nie-regeringsorganisasie (NRO)? Om ‘n eko-sistemiese en sosiaal hermeneutiese paradigma te verbind met die teologie van teenwoordigheid van God binne gemeenskaplike en kontekstuele sisteme word ‘n pneumatologiese benadering tot teorie vorming in pastorale sorg voorgestel. Pastorale sorg het meer om te bied as die gedrags- en sosiale wetenskappe, want ons glo dat die verlossing en genade wat dit bied goeie nuus is vir mense. Pastorale sorg bied nie net bemoediging en vertroosting nie, maar ook transformasie (verandering en groei) en die kweking van ‘n volwasse geloof en spiritualiteit deur middel van Skrif, gebed en die sakramente binne die communion sanctorum, die familia dei.

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