Browsing by Author "Haufiku, Johannes"
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- ItemThe interplay between fatherhood and male identity in family life among the Ovawambo of Namibia : a pastoral hermeneutical approach(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2013-12) Haufiku, Johannes; Louw, D. J. (Daniel Johannes), 1944-; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology. Dept. of Practical Theology and Missiology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The goal of this study was to investigate the driving force behind family conflicts, its relation to change in gender roles, male power abuse, and their impact on Ovawambo family life. Firstly, this research indicates that Ovawambo males are trained to be breadwinners, heads of families, owners of family properties, supervisors for their wives and children, and protectors of their families and the entire community. Secondly, the research indicates that both have also influenced the masculine identity of these males. The missionaries, as well as colonialism, promoted Western patriarchy, justified male dominance and reinforced the power of the male as the head of the family and exclusive holder of authority in the family, community and the state. The direct and indirect participation of men in the struggle for Namibian independence also possibly influenced them to apply power and threats. However, this study also indicates that Ovawambo males are under the influence of the modern mass media, which reflect and reinforce gender stereotypes and portray males as controlling or leading characters who tend to dominate women in relationships. Thirdly, this study indicates that the rapid socio-economic and political change, which took place in Namibia after independence, also directly affected Ovawambo male and female relationships. Through law reforms, gender roles were redefined and laws for gender equality were introduced. These laws (the Married Persons' Equality Act, Family Law on Rape and Domestic Violence and Maintenance Act) challenged the male-dominant norms; thus, the men feel that law reforms favoured only the women. The second purpose of this study was to examine whether a pastoral-anthropological and theological understanding of God's vulnerability could help pastoral care to address the problem of the Ovawambo male identity within the cultural setting of Namibian males and the notion of power abuse. In order to reframe male identity through a theological understanding of God‟s power, the researcher selected the theopaschitic interpretation of the theology of the cross. The theopaschitic approach renders God's power, in terms of the Pauline notion of astheneia, as weakness and compassionate vulnerability. The value of theopaschitic thinking, in terms of God's praxis, is based on a shift from the substantial approach in theological reflection to the relational and encounter paradigm. Through appropriate understanding of the fatherhood of God, Ovawambo men can appreciate their power and ability to enrich relationships, rather than destroy. It is argued that, the power of God interpreted as “weakness” and “vulnerability”, can contribute to a paradigm change in the interpretation of male identity within the cultural setting of the Ovawambo. The paradigm shift emanating from this theological understanding of power, is from “threat power” (the need to control, to abuse, to dominate) to “intimate power” (the need to comfort, to be compassionate and understanding and to bestow intimacy and love within the dynamics of family and social relationships). The study concluded that the church has a major role to play in helping families to survive the intrusiveness of modern family crises through a holistic systematic pastoral care model. The pastoral ministry of the church should help men to shift from selfishness, enmeshment, domination, dissociation and rejection, towards a healing family environment wherein intimacy, caring, trust, openness, understanding, supportive guidance and respect prevail. The church should fulfil this through models for relational, educational and therapeutic family enrichment programs. Pastoral care is one of the basic ways to promote, not only physical, but also spiritual well-being. It has been argued that an understanding of God‟s power in terms of a theopaschitic interpretation of a theologia crucis can play a fundamental role as regards a theological reframing of the existing patriarchal and hierarchical paradigms. Instead of male dominance, a disposition and attitude of compassionate intimacy is proposed. Such a disposition should reflect a kind of diakonia position within the dynamics of family life. In terms of a Christian spiritual understanding of fatherhood, males should represent the sacrificial ethics of diakonic outreach as well as a stance of unconditional love.