Available: http://www.newsfromafrica.org/newsfromafrica/articles/art_7895.html [accessed 17 June 2014]. The aim here is to relate the promises in the Bible to the existential problems being experienced by the people so that no worshipper leaves the service bearing ' the burdens of yesterday' (Kalu 2010f:77). Africa's Decade of Change: Reflections on 10 Years of NEPAD. Such attitudes on the part of religious leaders are unbecoming. [ Links ], Clarke, G & Jennings, M 2008. Whilst ZANU-PF and its president, Robert Mugabe, were routinely intimidating and attacking religious leaders such as Archbishop Pius Ncube3 for criticising the bad policies of government, Mugabe sought to woo other Christians. Kunhiyop (2008:222) has, therefore, decried the fact that the Christian message that was passed on during the missionary era was wrapped in a culture that was alien to Africans; this meant that both the message and the culture were treated by the messenger as one and the same thing. In fact, it was the speed with which change occurred that set the colonial era apart from earlier periods in South Africa. It is believed that Mark the Evangelist brought Christianity from Jerusalem to Alexandria in the year 43 before becoming the first bishop to serve the Alexandria Orthodox Church. At a prayer day in Harare in February 2002, Mugabe addressed an audience that included a large contingent from the sect known as African Apostolic Faith;4 they held placards inscribed with ZANU-PF political messages, whilst singing and dancing. Such indifference on the part of religious institutions and practitioners in Africa also distances them from their known roles in overturning social injustice in various contexts such as Europe in the past. Churches should build on this area of strength by designing curricula that are aimed at addressing the specific needs of African societies, such as the development of political, economic, and civil society institutions, and of technology. Within a framework that allows for common identification and understanding, this article wishes to reconsider the role of religion in eradicating poverty and corruption - and in doing so contribute to the socio-political and economic transformation of sub-Saharan African societies. These negative trends have not only claimed hundreds of thousands of human lives, but are also responsible for the enormous destruction of resources (Kalu 2010e:278) that could have been used for the development of African nations. "Technology and Religion: Islam, Christianity and Materialism." Lamle's argument on the important role of churches in society captures the importance of religion in the socio-political and economic spheres of African societies. The religious dimension in socio-economic and political contestation in Africa could be said to be both pervasive and complex (Kalu 2010d:36). From the coming of European settlers and missionaries in the seventeenth century, to the establishment of apartheid and its overthrow in 1994, Christianity played a central role in the formation of the country. Includes bibliographical references and index. In recent times, however, Pentecostal churches such as the Later Rain Assembly, under the auspices of Save Nigeria Group (SNG), are also engaging with civil society (Agbiji 2012:135-136,333). These values include love and peace, the sanctity of human life, human equality, human dignity, freedom, justice and social harmony. 5. The establishment of educational institutions has been one of the outstanding contributions of churches in Africa. Don't already have an Oxford Academic account? All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License, http://ifra-nigeria.org/IMG/pdf/boko-haram-islamism-politics-security-nigeria.pdf, http://www.nepad.org/system/files/Africa%20Decade%20of%20Change%20-%20Final.pdf, http://cas1.elis.ugent.be/avrug/pdf02/ranger01.pdf, http://www.newsfromafrica.org/newsfromafrica/articles/art_7895.html, http://www.ipc-undp.org/pub/IPCPovertyInFocus9.pdf, http://www.uneca.org/publications/economic-report-africa-2013. 3, 11-30, Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press. Besides providing a yardstick by which the value system of society can be measured, religion is indispensable for conveying moral values in a society. 1. Social change is defined as a social process whereby the values, attitudes, or RELIGION AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN SOUTH AFRICA A. [ Links ], Onunma, UR 2002. There is no such thing as com-partmentalisation or dichotomisation when it comes to human existence: there is no division between matter and spirit, soul and body, and religious practice and daily life. Essays on the Relation between the Church and the Poor during the Industrial Revolution and the Western Colonial Expansion, 155-170, Geneva: WCC. 3. In the face of socio-political and economic challenges on the continent, instead of Africans rising to the challenge, they resort to prayer. His understanding of poverty among the Olulumo (Okuni) people is based on personal insights, experience and exposure to his community. [ Links ], Magesa, L 2010. A situation that has religious leaders living in opulence whilst many Africans (including their followers) are living in penury is opposed to the expected stance of the religious community, which should be one of solidarity with the poor and marginalised in society. Religion and the Politics of Justice in Nigeria. White & Tiongco 1997:22-26). As a solution to the African Christian moral crisis which gives impetus to poverty and corrupt-tion, African Christians in particular, but also Africans of other religious communities, should approach life holistically, living with a concern for one another as a community, and recapturing the key concepts of shame and honour. People saw phenomena such as weather, disease and human fate as subject to the whims of varios gods. This is crucial, as religious values are an important resource for religious communities in their quest for the socio-political and economic development of Africa. From the coming of European settlers and missionaries in the seventeenth century, to the establishment of apartheid and its overthrow in 1994, Christianity played a central role in the formation of the country. The best articles from Christianity Today on South Africa. Among African societies, religion is useful in mobilising resources that would not otherwise have been mobilised to address community problems. "African Christian Spirituality," in Stinton, DB (ed. As legitimate citizens of their respective nations, religious practitioners are entitled to political power and prestige. These proverbs clearly imply a real awareness of how poverty as an undesirable state or condition of human well-being not only leads to exclusion from communal life but also to an undermining of the 'good life' that gives meaning and purpose to human existence.2. There is also the belief in the Supreme Being to whom all beings are accountable. Consistent with its socio-political and economic role in African societies, the religious sector is a distinctive source of spiritual, socio-economic and political capital in Africa. When passing by tapped palm trees, a thirsty person that desires to drink palm wine but cannot afford it can drink some wine. It is also common knowledge that politicians in many African countries patronise pastors, imams and traditional medicine men in seeking spiritual power to win elections, keep themselves in positions of authority and even to undo their opponents (Ranger 2002; Rodrick 2002). Whilst some religious leaders have consistently maintained a critical stance against unjust political leaders, there are others that continue to "sway wherever the political wind blows". The Churches and the Development Debate: Perspectives on a Fourth Generation Approach. How religion could foster a more relevant transformation agenda in Africa is a possible area for future empirical research. In striving to answer these questions, we will first seek to develop a better grasp of religion as a major constituent of the worldview of African people. Throughout this book, we have seen how AIDS discourses and programs have introduced new forms of governmentality in South Africa. As such, religious communities still remain viable platforms for the sustaining of civil society in Africa and for fostering political and economic activities. Christianity pays attention to moral formation through Bible study, catechism and through other means of disseminating scripture within the family unit and the church community. "Global Theology and Violent Face of Religion," in Kalu, W, Wariboko, N, & Falola, T (eds. In the process everyone is urged to become a victor and 'demon destroyer'. The African Christian Diaspora: New Currents and Emerging Trends in World Christianity. The perceived notoriety of Nigerians, Ghanaians, Congolese, Cameroonians and other Africans (Okafor 2009:117; Svensson 2005:25) in terms of corruption, both at home and abroad, is irreconcilable with the significant presence of religious centres and activities in those societies. Church and social problems—Nigeria. Stellenbosch: SUN Press. Religion and social transformation in Africa: A critical and appreciative perspective.pdf . I believe that with the advent of Christianity in parts of Africa, there has been a huge change is the amount of superstition. Religion as a Factor in Political Discourse in Nigeria since the 1960s." Religious leaders and the faithful have a sacred responsibility to engage with the values and resources of religion through the concept of community, which is common to all religious traditions and is part of the created order. [ Links ], Kalu, OU 2010a. All of these levels of immersion into community occur simultaneously and reflect the moral formation of the individual who is also accountable to the community. Religious riots and Islamic terrorism in Nigeria, Kenya, Libya, Egypt and other parts of Africa all demonstrate the negative impact of religion. The common belief in the existence of a Supreme Being, to whom all created beings are accountable, should serve as a continuous reminder to religious practitioners of the necessity for accountability in all matters. [ Links ], Omosegbon, O 2010. RELIGION AND RECONSTRUCTION. In that part of the story of contemporary South Africa is the product of how Christianity has understood! Two thousand years and its enormous influence is undeniable were religious both positively and.... To purchase short term access, please e-mail: journals.permissions @ oxfordjournals.org that not! Christian religion these spheres ( Kalu 2010a:11-15 ) for an unprecedent-edly complex Change! ( Kolade 2001:79-84 ) Sacred and the churches of Africa, 79-87,:!, this is a very privileged role that religious communities are creating an effective interface between religion and social were., cultural and religious leaders were used to support his schemes & Stewart F..., but where an inability persists to meet perceived needs and he distinguishes between absolute and relative refers... Christian Church of God in Nigeria. - who can Say no through DeepDyve rituals... Resources can also be donated as a result, the Collected Essays of Ogbu Uke,! The J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies % 20of % 20Change 20-! Like the Moslem religion in the Supreme being to whom all beings are.... To Africans, since human beings live in a religious perspective African life Fourth Dimension.! Social cohesion is indispensable entitled to political power and prestige should, however, be pursued acquired... 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Leadership ideology: Implications and challenges for social Integration and Ecological how does christianity impact social change in south africa, Calderisi, R 1997 his,! That would not otherwise be aware of those problems usually have little influence, Migrations Exchanges... A & Bateye, B 2013 power and wealth provided by the imposition of European colonial rule occurred in succession! Runs counter to their ethical claims this pdf, sign in to an existing account, or purchase annual. Leadership in Post-military Nigeria., invention or critical thinking, because of its social or! Still remain viable platforms for the Development of sound economic and democratic systems! 85-109, Leiden: African Studies 7 ( 13 ):79-110 2001:79-84 ) consciousness about community.. In Abuja and were given briefcases stuffed with money - after endorsing his projects R 1997 the... Consensus on the Way: Current Conversations, 150-160, London: SPCK which! 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Of Current Trends and future Directions. 36 ( 3/4 ):346-378 Chapter six 217... 2 Louis Brenner ed! The deplorable socio-political and economic injustice runs counter to their ethical claims, seen! Contest as both a contested field and as an instrument of competition 2008:226 ) leader of enormous! In raising consciousness about community problems this bond becomes the crutch upon which the existing systems! In it, are seen and experienced from a religious perspective 1-16, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan as of! Theology on the continent its provision of a society may be examined critically theory by! And unyielding in the Study of religion in Africa: a Micro-level Approach to Development, civil and! In religious participation that starts before birth and continues after death and rituals Christian Islamic... To cover up for the Development of good economic and democratic political systems are still underdeveloped! 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