Peri-urban and rural debate on sustainability of community development : a practical theological perspective

Maqhajana, Lulama (2014-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The basic purpose of the current study was to provide a means by which both peri-urban and rural communities could promote sustainability in their communities. The research was, hence, undertaken with the above-mentioned social purpose in mind, which was to promote people’s well-being through applying measures that promote social justice and human empowerment. Such research was necessary in respect of the church’s involvement in terms of applying ethical and socially transformative measures, particularly within the South African context, with its increasing levels of unemployment, corruption, poverty, vandalism, and violent riots. The research attempted to provide communities, churches and development agents with measures that they could apply to sustain community development. The study took the form of reviewing literature, and then of proposing a paradigm shift affirming freedom and participation as the means by which sustainable outcomes can be achieved. Ideally, such a shift could contribute to all involved becoming accountable for their actions, due to the fact that the whole community is then likely to identify itself with the development concerned. The church’s role in the shift would involve responding to the call to be the voice and the hand that reveals the whole counsel of God, which it would be able to do by making use of the contemporary measures put in place for promoting people’s well-being. The current study affirms that the agents, the government structures and the church should work together, although they have different agendas. The agenda of the church is for the glory of God and for the well-being of the people of God, and that of the government and other agents is the provision of infrastructure, in terms of goods and services. The desire for such cooperation lies in the awareness that, if anything goes wrong, we all suffer. Therefore, it is only right that we should all be stewards of what we have as a community, as the roleplayers in a government, and as a church. However, to achieve all the above, we all need to be empowered, one by the other, so that we are able to complement one another’s efforts, by working in harmony with one another. Such mutual empowerment is to be done in the name of bringing about the well-being of all, and the promotion of a communal form of participation that encourages poverty alleviation and human dignity. This study is based on an analysis of the church, as well as of the nature of community development that has, as its essence, a reliance on the redemptive act of God, which affirms people's dignity and sense of self-worth. Such a conceptualisation agrees with the proposed paradigm shift that suggests freedom and participation as being the key principles of our development.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die hoofdoel van die onderhawige studie was om ’n metode te voorsien waarop buitestedelike en landelike gemeenskappe hul eie volhoubaarheid kan bevorder. Dus is die navorsing onderneem met die oog daarop om mense se welstand te verbeter deur maatreëls aan te wend wat maatskaplike geregtigheid en bemagtiging aanmoedig. Die navorsing was bepaald nodig wat betref die kerk se betrokkenheid by die toepassing van etiese en maatskaplike transformasiemaatreëls, veral in Suid-Afrika, wat gebuk gaan onder toenemende vlakke van werkloosheid, korrupsie, armoede, vandalisme en gewelddadige protes. Die navorsing het gemeenskappe, kerke en ontwikkelingsagente probeer toerus met maatreëls waarmee hulle gemeenskapsontwikkeling kan ondersteun. Die studie bestaan eerstens uit ’n literatuuroorsig, na aanleiding waarvan ’n paradigmaskuif voorgestel word wat vryheid en deelname voorhou as instrumente om volhoubare uitkomste te bereik. Ideaal beskou, behoort so ’n verskuiwing daartoe by te dra dat alle betrokkenes aanspreeklikheid vir hul optrede aanvaar, aangesien die hele gemeenskap hulle dan waarskynlik met die tersaaklike ontwikkeling sal kan vereenselwig. Die kerk se rol in hierdie verskuiwing sal wees om te reageer op die oproep om die stem en hand te wees wat God se volmaakte plan onthul. Dít sal die kerk bereik deur gebruik te maak van bestaande eietydse maatreëls om mense se welstand te bevorder. Die studie bevestig dat agente, staatstrukture en die kerk behoort saam te werk, selfs al verskil hul agendas. Die kerk se agenda is die verheerliking van God en die welstand van die mense van God; die regering en ander agente s’n is die voorsiening van infrastruktuur wat betref goedere en dienste. Die belang van sodanige samewerking lê in die besef dat indien enigiets sou skeefloop, almal swaarkry. Daarom is dit niks minder as reg nie dat almal rentmeesters sal wees van wat hulle as ’n gemeenskap, as rolspelers in die regering én as ’n kerk het. Om ál bogenoemde te bereik, moet almal egter bemagtig word – die een deur die ander – sodat hulle mekaar se pogings kan aanvul deur in eensgesindheid saam te werk. Sulke onderlinge bemagtiging behoort te geskied om vir almal welstand te verseker en ’n gemeenskaplike vorm van deelname aan te moedig wat armoedeverligting en menswaardigheid teweegbring. Die studie is gegrond op ’n ontleding van die kerk sowel as van gemeenskapsontwikkeling wat berus op vertroue in die verlossing van God, wat mense se waardigheid en gevoel van selfwaarde bekragtig. Sodanige konseptualisasie strook met die voorgestelde paradigmaskuif wat vryheid en deelname as die kernbeginsels van menslike ontwikkeling voorhou.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96035
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