The ongoing challenge of restorative justice in South Africa : how and why wealthy suburban congregations are responding to poverty and inequality
Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.
The original publication is available at http://www.hts.org.za/index.php/HTS
Bowers Du Toit, N.F. & Nkomo, G., 2014, The ongoing challenge of restorative justice in South Africa: How and why wealthy suburban congregations are responding to poverty and inequality’ HTS Teologiese Studies/ Theological Studies 70(2); Art. #2022, doi: 10.4102/hts. v70i2.2022.
South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world and any discussion around poverty and the church’s response cannot exclude this reality. This article attempts to analyse the response of wealthy, ‘majority white’ suburban congregations in the southern suburbs of Cape Town to issues of poverty and inequality. This is attempted through the lense of restorative justice, which is broadly explored and defined through a threefold perspective of reconciliation, reparations and restitution. The first part explores a description of the basic features of poverty and inequality in South Africa today, followed by a discussion on restorative justice. This is followed by the case study, which gives the views of clergy and lay leaders with regard to their congregations’ perspectives and responses to poverty and inequality within the context of restorative justice. Findings from the case study begin to plot a tentative ‘way forward’ as to how our reality can more constructively be engaged from the perspective of congregational involvement in reconstruction of our society.