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About CCT

Welcome Message from the Director's Desk

Welcome to the Centre for Constructive Theology (CCT) website. We are happy that you are visiting us. We are a Centre of the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is said that Africans are notoriously religious but at the same time their religiosity does not seem to help them deal with pertinent issues such as governance, economic collapse, poverty, disease and environmental degradation. CCT aims at providing a platform for theological reflection, exploration of decolonized knowledge and promotion of transformative action for faith communities such as churches, Faith-Based Organizations, and institutions of theological education.

Our bias is working with marginalized groups such as women, African instituted Churches, LGBTQi+, the poor and unemployed.  We host workshops, symposia, lectures, seminars and by produce theological resources. We also offer attractive graduate and post graduate modules and supervision on areas such as governance, the environment, leadership and history of African christianities. We are fascinated by opportunities of research and enabling the publication of stories of communities of faith, their histories, trials and successes. 

History of the Institute

The Centre for Constructive Theology, as it has always been known, was launched in 1995, at the old Faculty of Theology at the University of Durban- Westville through the vision of Deans such as Prof Bonganjalo Goba and Daryl Balia. Lydia Johnson Hill became the founding Director.[1]

 In 2011, the constitution was revised to give the Centre a new direction and focus on Theological Education by Extension. Soon after that, it ran out of funds and stopped functioning in the university and its concept was allowed to collapse. We would like to re-establish this Centre. In re-establishing it, we would like to ensure that the teaching and research is not confined to on the South African context only but includes other theologies and the southern African region as a whole.  One of our goals for the Centre is to make it live up to its name i.e. to have a more sustained and deliberate engagement with the incipient theologies from local communities, so that we construct life-promoting and liberative theologies leading that will make contributions in Governance,  the Environmental Justice and Sustainable Development. Our focus will be on the southern African region not just South Africa. The whole of the southern African region is highly religious, which means that religion is an important sector needing to be engaged in matters of good governance and environmental justice. Ignoring the religious community especially the AICs and NRMs, which happens to be the religions of the future means leaving a large population out and thus losing their contribution.

[1] Lydia Johnson-Hill, Foundation Stones and Building Blocks “Constructing” A Centre of Constructive Theology. Journal of Constructive Theology. Vol 1, No 1, 1995, 4-10.

Vision and Mission of the Institute

Good systems of government and policies that incorporate environmental awareness and freedom of religion allow individuals to prosper and live a good life and be conscious of their shared responsibilities and stewardship while sustaining the planet not only for now but as well for future generation. Systems of governance that in their decision-making and policy formulation do not include all sectors of society, e.g. religious, ecological science and ethics, turn to be ineffective in the management of local and global problems.

According to ecological systems theorists, our human development is contingent upon the immediate environment in which the microsystem is known to be the closest.  With this understanding, our social responses to this environment affect our growth and sustainability. Issues such as climate change and global warming are affecting weather patterns and ultimately global politics, economic growth, food security and peace. This is detrimental to sustainable livelihoods.

None of us today escapes the consequence of the degradation of our environment:  air and water pollution, deforestation of green spaces, climate change, and systemic exploitation of mineral resources. The dominant politics leads to the decline of the economy, inequality in societies and perpetuates the widening of the gap between the haves and have-nots.  This picture gives room to argue that caring for the sustainability of our environment requires among others, shared responsibilities and stewardship from religions and religious communities and good systems of government.  

Religious beliefs, for example, encourage traits such as sociability, good governance, caring for others, and accountability to how we manage our microsystem, equity, respect of the primacy of human life, compassion, peace – traits that are essential in the construction of an equitable society that cares for and sustains the environment.  For these traits to take place and be meaningful, religions and religious communities should act in the best interests of the individuals and their immediate environment. Religious assets must be gleaned out of the religious enclaves to be used in the political, economic, environmental and governance spheres through research and teaching. By creating and recreating religious rituals, practices and symbols, religious actors could influence decision-making processes and alter ill-fated local and global policies that affect all of us.

The Southern African geo-political context is a pivotal point in this debate.  Growth of churches and religious communities in this region along with the concomitant suppression of democratic values and ineffective policies that have failed to advance peoples’ social mobility make the call for focusing on the interface between religion, governance and the environment a compelling case.   Millions of people are committed not just to Christian church in general but specifically to the African Initiated Churches and New Religious Movements (Pentecostals, charismatics and Ministries) but have to live under the leadership of unstable governments leading to abject poverty coupled with a degrading environment, without drawing resources from their religion to transforms these situations.

For southern Africans to move beyond these ill-fated policies and participate impactfully in the struggle for environmental justice and good governance, special attention needs to be paid to the intersection of religion, environment and governance. That is going to be the focus of the Centre for Constructive Theology (CCT).

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