A theological investigation into Malawian child labour : a challenge to CCAP Livingstonia synod

Gondwe, John (2015-03)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Motivated by the observation that child labour is harmful to children, this research aims to determine whether child labour could be described as a violation of human dignity. The research further attempts to develop a theological framework which the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (C.C.A.P) Synod of Livingstonia in Malawi could adopt in restoring the human dignity that might have been trodden on in child labour practices. In order to achieve the objectives of this study, eight ministers from two presbyteries were interviewed, using a structured questionnaire as the main tool for data collection. The data was analyzed using a thematic data analysis method. The findings indicated that child labour is any work done by children that is detrimental to their welfare. Such work was predominantly on tobacco farms both at commercial and at family levels, and was carried out under hazardous conditions. As a result children experience the following effects; physical abuse; psychological torture, sexual abuse; and these children may end up in perpetual poverty experiences, to mention just a few effects. The critical literature analysis done with reference to theological concept of human dignity, characterized the effects as a violation of human dignity. The main causes of child labour identified during this study were poverty, ignorance of short and long terms impact of child labour effects on children, and the cultural perceptions that children are equipped for the future if they are trained (socialized) to work hard at a tender age. By implication, as long as these causes exist, child labour may remain a problem and children may continue to suffer since these children do not enter labour by choice, but forced by the socio-economic and socio-cultural structures. Although these children experience this human degradation there is no way they can stop working on their own, because they do not have a voice, they are under the control of parents and employers. In this context this study would like to classify working children as among the marginalized, oppressed, weak and vulnerable groups in need of people and institution that can speak and act on their behalf. Therefore it is argued that there is a need for the church to advocate for the marginalized children in this context. The literature consulted further indicated that the church of Jesus Christ is responsible for providing spiritual and physical salvation to people, taking into account how long it may take to deal with some of the main causes of child labour. The church may consider its advocacy role of protecting the dignity of human beings created in the image of God with compassionate love. This research suggests recommendations that are in line with theological understanding of who the church is and the human dignity of people and specifically of children, to address the challenges of child labour practices. The recommendations attempt to involve different stakeholders of the community to work in a consortium.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die navorsing is gemotiveer deur die waarneming dat die gevolge van kinder-arbeid skadelik vir kinders kan wees, en stel dit ten doel om vas te stel of die effek van kinder-arbeid as ʼn skending van menswaardigheid beskryf kan word. Die navorsing streef ook om ʼn teologiese raamwerk te ontwikkel wat die Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (C.C.A.P) Livingstonia Sinode in Malawi kan gebruik om die menswaardigheid wat moontlik deur kinder-arbeid- gebruike vertrap is,te herstel. Ten einde die doelstellings van die studie te bereik, is onderhoude gevoer met agt predikante van twee ringe, Jombo en Rumphi, in Livingstonia Sinode. Tydens die individuele onderhoude is ʼn gestruktureerde vraelys hoofsaaklik gebruik vir die versameling van data. Die versamelde data is ontleed met ʼn tematiese data-ontleding metode. Volgens die bevindings is kinder-arbeid enige arbeid wat kinders verrig wat nadelig vir hul welsyn is. Die meeste werk wat deur kinders verrig word, is op kommersiële tabakplase of in familieverband op kleinboere se tabakplase. Die werk is meestal onder gevaarlike omstandighede. As gevolg van die gevaarlike werk, ervaar kinders fisiese mishandeling, sielkundige teistering, seksuele mishandeling en ook soms gedurige armoede, om net ʼn paar te nadelige effekte te noem. Die kritiese literatuur-analise oor hierdie effekte met verwysing na ʼn teologiese konsep van menswaardigheid, toon dat die gevolge gekenmerk kan word as skending van menseregte. Die volgende primêre oorsake van kinder-arbeid is in die studie geïdentifiseer: armoede, onkunde oor die kort- en langtermyn impak van kinder-arbeid op kinders, en kulturele persepsies dat kinders vir die toekoms toegerus word as hulle op ʼn jong ouderdom geleer word (sosialisasie) om hard te werk. Die implikasie is dat solank hierdie oorsake voortbestaan, sal kinder-arbeid ʼn probleem bly en sal kinders steeds so ly, aansien hierdie kinders nie kies om kinder-arbeid te verrig nie, maar deur sosio-ekonomiese en sosio- kulturele strukture daartoe gedwing word. Al word hierdie kinders onmenswaardig behandel, kan hulle nie ophou werk nie, want hulle het nie ʼn stem nie, hulle word beheer deur hul ouers en werkgewers. In hierdie konteks stel hierdie studie werkende kinders gelyk aan die klassifikasie van die gemarginaliseerde, onderdrukte, swak en weerlose groep namens wie mense en organisasies moet praat en optree. Daar word dus betoog dat daar ʼn behoefte is dat die kerk namens gemarginaliseerde kinders in hierdie konteks intree. Die literatuur dui verder aan dat die aard en missie van die kerk van Jesus Christus maak ons verantwoordelik om spirituele en fisiese verlossing vir mense te bied. In die lig van die uitdagings van kinderswat werk, en met inagneming van hoe lank dit mag neem om sommige van die oorsake van kinder-arbeid aan te spreek, kan die kerk sy rol in terme van die beskerming van die menswaardigheid van mense geskape in die beeld van God met deernisvolle liefde oorweeg. Die navorsing maak voorstelle wat belyn is met die teologiese verstaan van wie die kerk is en die menswaardigheid van mense en spesifiek van kinders, om die uitdagings van kinder- arbeid aan te spreek. Die aanbevelings streef om verskillende aandeelhouers in die gemeenskap te mobiliseer om as ʼn konsortium saam te werk om kinder-arbeid en die onmenswaardige behandeling van kinders te bestry.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96659
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