The quest for transformational local community leadership for rural development of the Malawian district of Lilongwe : a theological perspective

Gondwe, Chancy P. S. (2013-03)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In most African communities, local community leadership is highly esteemed and plays a crucial role in community development. Local community leaders, especially in rural areas, have much power and authority over community members and in most cases act as contact persons with development agents. They are key to the development of their communities. However, most communities experience a number of leadership challenges. A number of leaders are corrupt, oppressive, self-seeking and incapable of serving their communities. This hinders transformation in communities. Therefore, this thesis presents the need for transformational local community leadership for community transformation in rural areas, Lilongwe rural (Malawi) in particular. It contends that for community transformation to take place there has to be a leadership that is transformational to guide such change. The local church is deemed as an ideal change agent that can model transformational leadership and reach out to local community leaders because of its nature, call and strategic position in local communities despite its imperfections. To have a deeper understanding of the theme of this research, an empirical study was conducted in “Mgwayi” community in Lilongwe rural, Malawi, using a case study research strategy. An interdisciplinary approach was employed to gather primary and secondary data, which was analysed from a practical theological perspective. The results clearly indicate that the community experiences a number of leadership and general challenges caused by internal and external factors. The local church is playing some significant role in addressing these challenges; however, it can do better. Therefore, this study suggests that there is need for the local church to reclaim both its nature and its call so that it can take its rightful position and role in the community. There is need for the local church to exercise transformational leadership as modelled by Christ Jesus. Development agents can partner and work alongside the local church to empower it towards transformational leadership and being what it ought to be.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In die meeste Afrika-gemeenskappe is die plaaslike gemeenskapsleiers hoog aangeskrewe en speel hulle ‘n belangrike rol in die ontwikkeling van die gemeenskap. Plaaslike gemeenskapsleiers, veral in landelike gebiede, het baie mag en gesag oor die lede van die gemeenskap en tree in die meeste gevalle as kontakpersone op tussen die gemeenskap en ontwikkelingsagente. Hulle is die sleutel tot die ontwikkeling van hul gemeenskappe. Die meeste gemeenskappe ervaar egter ‘n aantal uitdagings t.o.v. leierskap. ‘n Groot aantal is korrup, onderdrukkend, soek hul eie belang en nie in staat om die gemeenskap te dien nie. Dit verhinder transformasie in gemeenskappe. Daarom bespreek hierdie tesis die behoefte aan transformerende plaaslike gemeenskapsleiers in landelike gebiede, in besonder landelike Lilongwe (Malawi). Dit beweer dat daar transformerende leiers moet wees om ‘n gemeenskap te begelei deur verandering vir gemeenskaps-transformasie om plaas te vind. Die plaaslike kerk is die ideale agent vir verandering om transformerende leierskap te modelleer en uit te reik na plaaslike gemeenskapsleiers as gevolg van die aard, roeping end strategiese posisie in die plaaslike gemeenskappe ten spyte van die kerk se tekortkominge. Om ‘n groter begrip te ontwikkel vir die onderwerp van navorsing is ‘n empiriese studie gemaak van die “Mgwayi” gemeenskap in landelike Lilongwe, Malawi, met behulp van ‘n gevallestudie navorsing strategie. ‘n Interdissiplinêre benadering is gebruik om primêre en sekondêre data in te samel, wat van ‘n prakties-teologiese perspektief ontleed is. Die resultate dui duidelik aan dat die gemeeskap ‘n aantal leierskap en ook ander algemene uitdagings ervaar. Dit word veroorsaak deur interne faktore en eksterne faktore. Die plaaslike kerk speel ‘n belangrike rol in die hantering van hierdie uitdagings, maar kan verbeter hierop. Hierdie studie dui aan dat dit nodig is vir die plaaslike kerk om beide sy aard en roeping weer ernstig op te neem sodat hy sy regmatige plek en rol in die gemeenskap kan vervul. Daar is ‘n behoefte vir die plaaslike kerk om transformerende leierskap te modelleer, volgens die voorbeeld van Jesus Christus. Ontwikkelingsagente kan saam met die plaaslike gemeente werk om die kerk te bemagtig tot transformerende leierskap sodat dit die instrument kan wees wat dit behoort te wees.

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