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The Obituary of Professor Edwina Ward

The Obituary of Professor Edwina Ward

Prof Edwina Ward was a remarkable academic, pastoral theologian, and respected counsellor Born in Durban on the 9th September 1950. She was the only child and at the age of 21 she lost both her parents to cancer. After school went overseas to pursue education opportunities. In 1972, she graduated with a degree in Speech and Drama from Trinity College in London. In 1975 she graduated with a BA Hons in Logopaedics/Psych, with the University of South Africa. In 1986 she graduated with a Masters of Arts in Theology and Counselling from the University of Berkeley. Then she worked as a lecturer for ST. Joseph’s Theological Seminary. In 1997 she joined the University of Natal as a Lecturer in Practical Theology. She also registered for her PhD in Theology which she completed in 2002. For a long time, she was the only registered supervisor of Clinical Pastoral Education in South Africa. Professor Ward held an academic position at St Joseph’s Theological Institute from 1986- March 1997. In 2003, she was promoted to Senior Lecturer and Director of the Ministerial Studies Programme.  In 2008 she was promoted to the position of Associate Professor. She founded and directed the ANHERTHA Programme from 2008-2010. Her responsibilities included the cutting-edge role of building up the Ministerial Studies Programme through teaching, research capacity development, community engagement, continental and international partnership development. She also mentored the only two staff in the discipline of Practical Theology.

Her long and varied teaching and counselling experience spanned a period of over three decades, in a wide variety of institutions and settings, both in South Africa and around the world. Her research work included many projects outside the formal academy, linked to her calling as a committed Catholic and expressing her passion of pastoral care and counselling. She worked very closely with Archbishop Denis Hurley of the Diocese of Durban in the Renewal Programme.

Edwina is also a founding director of ANHERTHA: African Network for Higher Education and Research in Theology, HIV and AIDS, which was founded through the collaboration between UKZN and the Church of Sweden. The programme was funded by Church of Sweden with an amount of R3 million. The programme saw the development of research in the area of Theology and HIV and AIDS, with a number of students graduating with Masters and PhD degrees through her supervision and support. This project saw her establishing partnerships between UKZN and institutions such as Makumira University in Tanzania, Ethiopian Graduate School in Addis Ababa and University of Uppsala, Sweden. Prof Ward was an able and dedicated supervisor of postgraduate students, and graduates who she supervised can be found in all over the African continent. In the 14 years that she worked for the Ministerial Studies Programme, Prof Ward successfully supervised 3 PhDs, 63 Masters and 64 Honours students. In addition to the many publications both popular and academic, she co-edited a book and an issue of a journal. She retired from the university in 2012 but continued her research work as Senior Research Associate. A position she held and cherished till her death.

Prof Ward died on the 26th August, 2021 at the age of 70 years old. The service of her funeral will be held at the Holy Trinity Parish in Durban on Thursday 2, September 2021 at 11: am. It will also be live-streamed on Facebook.

May her soul rest in peace.

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