Religion and social transformation : a case study from South Africa

Erasmus, Johannes C. (2005-07)

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Introduction: There are several reasons, from our point of view, why this topic is relevant. In February 2001 the Unit for Religion and Development Research (URDR) was formally founded within the Department of Practical Theology and Missiology at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Stellenbosch. The URDR’s mission is to empower faithbased communities towards achieving self-reliant sustainable development and outcomes through research, theorizing and training. As the name indicates, the agenda for our research activities is both religion and development, especially the nexus between the two concepts. There is a distinct connection between development and social transformation (see Castles, 1999:2ff.) and hence a relation between religion and social transformation, the topic of this paper. Secondly, Transformation Africa,2 a network organisation in South Africa mobilising prayer throughout South Africa and the world, contracted the Unit to conduct research in the Cape Peninsula. It is the mission of this organisation to effect transformation in communities throughout Africa.

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