The role of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) as a pioneer of social development through education in Ovamboland (1870-1970) : a church historical study

Nangula, Eino M. (2013-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study is a historical investigation of the role of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) regarding social development with special attention to education as an agency of social change. ELCIN is the largest Lutheran church in Namibia, which was born out of the Finnish missionary activities after their arrival in the former Ovamboland in 1870. The Finnish missionaries became the first missionaries to do mission work in Ovamboland. This qualifies them to be regarded as pioneers of social development and of the transformation of society through education among the Ovambo people. ELCIN’s humble beginnings started as a mission field and developed into mission congregations; thereafter as a mission church and finally as independent church in 1954. The study shows that since its inception ELCIN has been committed to serve her members holistically (spiritually and socially). The focus of this study is to contribute to the understanding of the role ELCIN played to bring about development through education. The study therefore attempts to answer questions regarding the role the Finnish missionaries played in education and should be understood within the broader context of the history of ELCIN, for example, what arrangements were made and what developments took place during the indigenization process. Further, the study points out the educational challenges ELCIN encountered during the time of social development through education. In answering these questions, the study demonstrates how ELCIN played a decisive role in social development in Ovamboland, especially by way of education and training. The study refers to both informal (Christian) and formal (general or inclusive secular) education and the role each of these forms of education played in social change. The study also reflects on the engagement between ELCIN and the context resulting from the South African mandate in Namibia (then South West Africa). Finally, it is recommended that, in light of the positive contribution made by ELCIN to the social development of its members and communities by way of education in the past, it should continue this role in an independent Namibia. This could be done by way of intensifying Christian education among its members in order to educate and inspire people to remain faithful to their Christian values. In this way, ELCIN will continue to play a meaningful role in the life of communities and their members.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie navorsingstudie is ‘n historiese ondersoek na die rol van die Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) ten opsigte van sosiale ontwikkeling met spesiale verwysing na opvoeding as ‘n agent vir sosiale verandering. ELCIN is een van die grootste Lutherse kerke in Namibië, wat ontstaan het uit die aktiwiteite van die Finse sendelinge na hulle aankoms in die eertydse Ovamboland in 1870. Die Finse sendelinge was die eerste sendelinge wat sendingwerk in Ovamboland onderneem het. As gevolg hiervan word hulle beskou as pioniers van sosiale ontwikkeling en transformasie in die gemeenskap deur die opvoeding van die mense van Ovamboland. ELCIN het sy nederige ontstaan gehad as ‘n sendingveld en het ontwikkel tot sendinggemeentes; daarna tot ‘n sendingkerk en uiteindelik in 1954 tot ‘n onafhanklike kerk. Die studie dui aan dat ELCIN sedert sy ontstaan toegewyd was aan die taak om sy lede op ‘n holistiese vlak (geestelik en sosiaal) te ontwikkel. Die fokus van hierdie studie is om ‘n bydrae te lewer tot ‘n dieper begrip van die rol wat ELCIN gespeel het ten opsigte van hierdie ontwikkeling. Die studie het dus gepoog om vrae te beantwoord oor die rol wat die Finse sendelinge in opvoeding gespeel het en behoort verstaan te word binne die breër konteks van die geskiendenis van ELCIN. Watter reëlings is getref en watter ontwikkelings het plaasgevind gedurende die inheemswordingsproses? Die studie dui verder op die opvoedkundige uitdagings wat ELCIN gedurende die tyd van sosiale ontwikkeling deur opvoeding ondervind het. Ter beantwoording van hierdie vrae word deur die studie aangedui hoe ELCIN ‘n deurslaggewende rol in die sosiale ontwikkeling van Ovamboland gespeel het, veral deur middel van opvoeding en opleiding. Die studie verwys na beide informele (Christelike) en formele (algemene of inklusiewe) opvoeding en na die rol wat elk van hierdie vorms van opvoeding gespeel het ten opsigte van sosiale verandering. Die studie kyk ook eers na die verhouding tussen ELCIN en die Suid‐Afrikaanse regering gedurende Namibië (die destydse Suidwes‐Afrika) se jare as mandaatgebied en daarna word aanbevelings gemaak. In die lig van die positiewe bydrae wat ELCIN in die verlede gemaak het tot sosiale ontwikkeling, word aanbeveel dat hierdie bydrae in ‘n onafhanklike Namibië voortgesit word. Dit behoort te geskied deur ‘n intensifisering van Christelike onderwys onder lede ten einde die mense op te voed en te inspireer om getrou te bly aan hulle Christelike waardes. Op hierdie wyse sal ELCIN voortgaan om ‘n betekensivolle rol in die lewe van die gemeenskappe en hul lede te speel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85747
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