Missionalia : Southern African Journal of Missiology is the journal of the Southern African Missiological Society (SAMS). It is published three times a year (April, August and November). Articles and book reviews published in the journal do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial, or the Editorial Board, or of SAMS. Manuscripts submitted for publication are assessed by a panel of referees, and the decision to publish is dependent on their reports. As a SAPSE-accredited journal Missionalia publishes research articles that contribute new knowledge to the field of Missiology.


The Globethics library contains articles of Missionalia as of vol. 41(2013) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • 'Pentecost of the city' Towards an African urban migratory theology

    Agbèdè, Ghislain Afolabi (Southern African Missiological Society, 2022-01-01)
    Migration is a growing phenomenon affecting African cities. This article engages the current reality of migrants in the City of Cotonou, Benin, theologically. It re-imagines theological education for Cotonou to flourish by 2050, producing an African urban migratory theology that deeply engages the presence of migrants as contributors to socio-economic development. The central question is: How can theological education prepare Christians in the process of 'Pentecost of the city' and build flourishing African cities? In this work, I will engage with the ideas of urban theologians such as Ray Bakke. First, I will present the realities in Cotonou through the results of surveys. Secondly, I will focus on the historical issues of migration. Thirdly, I will explain the concept of 'Pentecost of the city' by elaborating arguments for an African Urban migratory theology. By doing that, I will highlight the necessity of change in curriculum.
  • Les Eglises de Libreville et les défis urbains

    Mbakere, Calixte (Southern African Missiological Society, 2022-01-01)
    Cette contribution est une invitation aux églises de Libreville, à se préoccuper des problèmes concrets urbains qui se posent avec acuité. Mais nous observons, que l'Eglise accorde peu d'attention ou pas du tout aux questions urbaines. Car pour bon nombre d'évangéliques à Libreville, se préoccuper des défis urbains est une distraction. La vraie et la seule préoccupation valable, selon eux, serait celle du salut des âmes. En négligeant ce mandat de Dieu de gérer la création, elle s'est fait rattraper tragiquement par les conséquences de cette omission, qui se traduit par Les crises urbaines, qui ont des conséquences visibles (congestion récurrente, pollution atmosphérique, gestion des déchets, îlot de chaleur urbain...) Ces problèmes interpellent les Eglises à Libreville à ne pas rester à distance des grands défis de la cité. Elles doivent donc s'y intéresser. leurs responsabilités est fondamentale aujourd'hui qu'hier à toute action pouvant contribuer à la compréhension des faits et proposer des pistes de solutions aux phénomènes des défis urbains. Pour cela il faut promouvoir des églises, qui ne sont pas enfermé dans un temple, mais qui s'épanouissent dans les enjeux sociopolitiques, socioéconomiques et socioculturels. Afin de bâtir de nouvelles rationalités comme réponse aux défis urbains dans la capitale.
  • St Cuthbert's Mission Station: Fragments of living heritage, the archive and documentary filmmaking - 'the future of the past'

    Louw, Lieza (Southern African Missiological Society, 2022-01-01)
    This paper offers a reflection on a research project undertaken over a period of nearly five years at the St Cuthbert's Anglican community near Tsolo in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. St Cuthbert' was established by Father Bransby Key, an Anglican missionary in the nineteenth century. On a site visit with art historian professor Anitra Nettleton, we met elders who still remembered the missionaries and could relate to lay-worker Frank Cornner who collected beadwork made by the amaMpondomise even though the missionaries discouraged these practices. Cornner's collections are housed at the Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town, the British Museum in London and at Pit Rivers in Oxford, in the United Kingdom. The importance of recording testimonies of elders underlines the value of 'living heritage' as an added research tool in attempts to contribute to the existing archive, especially as many of the elders have since passed away. The elders recall their experiences with fondness and it was only at a later stage that the researcher encountered dichotomous reactions to the missionary project in the area. For the researcher / documentary filmmaker this tension presented a dilemma as the value of the testimonies could in no way whatsoever be undermined despite the challenges faced by practitioners at this time in the history of our country. My research does, however, point to the importance of constantly adding to existing archival collections of historical records by recording the lived experiences of relevant individuals.
  • Missio-pastoral and theological implications for migration and increased demagoguing in South Africa. A call to prophetic and transformative engagement with migrants

    Mpofu, Buhle (Southern African Missiological Society, 2022-01-01)
    This article highlights mission challenges presented by the intensified movement of people in South Africa with a view to identify opportunities for Christian mission and challenge demagoguing in the context of growing intolerance. Migration is identified as an opportunity for mission and discussed as one of the untapped resources not just for mission, but also for economic development and social transformation. Compassion fatigue and complex challenges presented by COVID-19 have eroded traditional roles that ensured hospitality to strangers and despite an increase in scholarly interest in human mobility, policy makers, politicians and economists have not taken migration flows within the South African context seriously. This has serious missional implications and requires restoration of ubuntu as a biblical imperative.
  • The implications of ecclesiology's understanding of church and εκκλησία for the current missiology

    de Beer, Jan M (Southern African Missiological Society, 2018-01-01)
    This introductory study was initiated by the observation that authors about the church differ in their understanding of and approach to church and εκκλησία. An analysis of some authors reveals at least three main trends of ecclesiological approach that have an important influence on church missiology. The study concludes with the definition of important areas of study in both ecclesiology and missiology that can lead to a productive interaction between the modern day church and contemporary forms of εκκλησία as described in the New Testament.
  • Mending the broken city of Pietermaritzburg through a transformative urban theological programme: A challenge to Union Bible Institute

    Nkosi, Xolani A. (Southern African Missiological Society, 2020-01-01)
    Rapid urbanisation, globalisation, and the advancement of information and technology come as a challenge for theological education in South Africa, generally, and, specifically, in an emerging city like Pietermaritzburg. This is a city with a multitude of urban fractures: the contesting space between informal traders and the taxi industry; rife political violence; gender- based violence; the spread of HIV and AIDS; and informal housing. This article, in relation to theological education, seeks to imagine curricular changes through using the city as classroom, and collaborating with different community organisations, to help shape our theology for urban ministry. The pastoral praxis cycle (insertion, analysis, reflection, and planning for action) was used in describing these fractures and evaluating the current theological offering. Recommendations for curricular changes that could help to shape our theology for urban ministry in this city are offered.
  • Cultivating the "good city". The theological engagement of the Institute for Urban Ministry within the City of Tshwane

    Ribbens, Michael (Southern African Missiological Society, 2020-01-01)
    The vision of the "good city" is worth striving for. Enacting the pastoral circle can be theologically generative towards cultivating the "good city." The urban transition of 1993 in Pretoria/Tshwane, South Africa, held unknowns and possibilities. During this time, a small community with lived faith committed to journeying with the urban poor using the pastoral circle. Such contextual theological engagement birthed the Institute for Urban Ministry (IUM), and the pastoral circle remained at the heart of IUM. This article explores the possibilities of animating the "good city" in Tshwane and the Gauteng City-Region (GCR) as IUM applies the pastoral circle within the Tshwane Ecumenical Leaders Forum.
  • Decolonising theological education in urban spaces. A reflection on the "Abantu Book Festival"

    Kobe, Lerato S (Southern African Missiological Society, 2020-01-01)
    The article argues that "Abantu Book Festival" (Abantu) held in Soweto annually signifies a decolonising space for theological education in the urban areas surrounding Soweto. From the perspective of Black theology of liberation (BTL) paradigms, the clear focus on blackness as a methodological framework for the Abantu programme signifies Abantu as a festival reflecting critically on the Black experience post-1994. Moreover, Soweto, with its resistance history, relates Abantu to Black culture, and urban realities post-1994. In its programme, African Spirituality becomes the source of knowledge for Abantu's decolonial project, thus, enabling the spirit of Ubuntu as a lived, and a living philosophy at Abantu. In this article, therefore, I want to argue that Abantu exhibits BTL with a praxis-based spirituality for theological education in urban areas. Abantu's use of blackness, and Soweto as interlocutors automatically connects Abantu to the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM), Pan Africanist narratives of return, thus enables Black Theology Liberation.
  • Imagining Enugu as classroom for theological education in SIST. A trans-disciplinary approach

    Nnorom, Jude C. (Southern African Missiological Society, 2020-01-01)
    Enugu, the coal city, offers hermeneutical and pedagogical resources for re-imagining the theological curriculum of Spiritan International School of Theology (SIST) in Enugu. Enugu is the capital city of Enugu State, Nigeria. With a 2018 estimated population of over 1 million, Enugu is projected to grow to over 2 million by 2050! Like other African cities, the urbanisation of Enugu presents complex socio-economic and infrastructural challenges that will exacerbate urban vulnerabilities. Does the theological curriculum of SIST equip her students for Enugu's exponential growth? Should SIST "urbanise" her theological curriculum? Can SIST articulate a response to the urbanisation of Enugu, using a trans-disciplinary curriculum that transcends disciplinary boundaries? This article proposes Enugu as a classroom for trans-disciplinary theological education and formation in SIST. It applied a qualitative research methodology of interviews, site visits, and documentary analysis, to propose ways of realising an urbanised theological curriculum at SIST.
  • Imagining theological education for Accra as a globalising city

    Kpobi, David Nii Anum (Southern African Missiological Society, 2020-01-01)
    Increasing migration and its attendant repercussions have gradually created many unfavourable conditions in the city of Accra. The situation poses big challenges to both the local and national development agenda. Religious institutions, including the Church - which occupy an important place in the lives of Accra residents - have roles to play. This study proposes as one of the most effective approaches to the current situation, for theological institutions to overhaul and revise their educational strategies and goals. This is possible through a properly designed and regulated training scheme that gives adequate orientation and guidance to both faculty and students of theological institutions in Accra. Only through a conscious rethinking, reimagining and restructuring of existing training programmes and approaches can new attitudes and actions be expected, in relation to the social fractures in the city. The study adopts a qualitative approach with a multi-disciplinary and multi perspective thrust.
  • Editorial

    Mangayi,C L (Southern African Missiological Society, 2019-01-01)
  • AIC theologies and western missions - A South African analysis

    Molobi,Victor MS (Southern African Missiological Society, 2019-01-01)
    African Independent Churches are groups of churches emerging out of western mainline church experiences. They have increased into many small groups with variant names of their interest. The process of constant breakaways gave them the urge to multiply and gain autonomy. The mainline churches constantly criticise the disadvantaged of this uncontrollable proliferation for lack of theological focus. In South Africa, they are in both large and small faith groups. They are, however, growing irrespective of the theological concern of the mainline scholars and researchers. Since they have evolved over many years alongside the mainline churches, they are aware of such criticisms. As a result, they are compelled to work on a strategy to develop their theology to public spaces. The founding leaders and visions form the core of their theologies. Their biblical faith learned from their founders' leadership and visions. They are Africans who want to teach themselves the Christian ways anchored in their traditional heritages. Can African Independent Churches ever have their own unique theologies? This is the core-interest approach to this article.
  • Tutu in Memory, Tutu on Memory. Strategies of Remembering

    Maluleke,Tinyiko (Southern African Missiological Society, 2019-01-01)
    This essay profiles the strategies and (theological) tactics used by Desmond Tutu in the management of painful memory in his own personal life, in his various leadership roles in church and society as well as in his role as chairperson of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. To contextualise Tutu's work, we refer, amongst others, to the work of Elie Wiesel, Don Mattera and Leonard Cohen. The essay provides a profile of the ways in which Tutu is remembered as well as the approaches Tutu himself uses in his own acts of remembering. The latter include the importance of childhood memories, the anchoring of memory in familial and parental relationships, a keen awareness of the socio-economic conditions, the valorisation of childhood church experiences, the privileging of the Bible, the leveraging of Ubuntu, making forgiveness the main lens through which to look into the past as well as the maintenance of a hermeneutic that suggests that God is historically on the side of the weak.²
  • Missiology as social justice. A contextual reading of the mission of Christ in Luke 4:16-19

    Kgatle,Mooko S (Southern African Missiological Society, 2019-01-01)
    In honour of Professor Nico Botha, this article is a contextual reading of Luke 4:1619. The article addresses social issues such as poverty, captivity, oppression and bondage, not only as the mission of Christ but in the context of the poor and the marginalised in the City of Tshwane. These are the same social ills that the homeless in the City of Tshwane experience in their everyday life. Literature review on the topic of social justice demonstrates a relationship between social justice and social poverty. It also demonstrates that homelessness is associated with social factors such as unemployment, poverty and inequality. However, the literature review on social justice demonstrates the research gap in studying the subject from Luke 4:16-19. Equally so, the context of Luke 4:16-19 demonstrates a research gap in applying the text in the context of the homeless in the City of Tshwane. To address the two research gaps, this article reads Luke 4:16-19 in the context of the homeless in the City of Tshwane.
  • The 'just war' tradition in Zimbabwean historiography. Dis(entangling) the Gordian knot between religion and morality of war

    Gundani,Paul H (Southern African Missiological Society, 2019-01-01)
    Three wars stand out in Zimbabwean historiography with regard to the use and application of the 'just war' tradition. The first was occasioned by the murder of Father Goncalo da Silveira, a Portuguese Jesuit missionary, in 1560. After seeking the advice of the Ecclesiastical Council, the Portuguese king decided to send an expedition under the leadership of Francisco Barreto to wage war against the Mutapa Empire. Deliberations by the Council had concluded that the military expedition would constitute a 'just war'. The second war broke out in 1893, at the instigation of the British South Africa Company. This war, often referred to as the 'Matabele war' was a war of conquest against the Ndebele kingdom. Again, the 'just war' theory was applied. Thirdly, political and Church leaders in support of the Chimurenga / Umfazo II (1966-1979) also used the concept in their writings. This article argues that the three wars fell short of the moral bar to which the 'just war' tradition aspires. Instead, the three wars were geared to, and indeed succeeded in, serving parochial and sectarian interests of those behind the war at the expense of the lofty ideals espoused by the 'just war' tradition. The study will rely on available secondary sources that form part of Zimbabwean historiography2.
  • When state corruption becomes a 'Sunday School Picnic'. A response to media reports on corruption

    Baron,Eugene (Southern African Missiological Society, 2019-01-01)
    This contribution is part of a festschrift in honour of emeritus professor, Nico Adam Botha, who laboured tirelessly for the concretisation of justice to all citizens in the boundaries of South Africa and beyond. His academic treatise offers volumes to matters of justice/injustice, in most cases particularly related to those with economic power, abusing the resources that cripple the economy and result in the most vulnerable (the poorest of the poor!) suffering. This contribution also reflects critically on the unequal representation of media reports on government corruption, as opposed to corruption in corporate South Africa. Moreover, it transposes beyond such media reporting. The author argues in this contribution that the academic corpus of Nico Botha provides a theoretical framework that can be used as a diagnostic analysis and probe, but also to re-imagine the causes and eradication of corruption in South Africa.
  • Editorial

    Baron,E. (Southern African Missiological Society, 2019-01-01)
  • Cone's binary view of Africanness and Christianity through the eyes of his African American critics

    Urbaniak,Jakub (Southern African Missiological Society, 2018-01-01)
    Unlike some of his American colleagues, James Cone tended to distance Black Theology from Africanness in general and African Traditional Religions in particular. Throughout his life this tendency has evolved, but never disappeared altogether. This article sets out to achieve three goals. First, I give a historical account of Cone's relationship with Africa, particularly with African religiosity, focusing on the criticism he received from his colleagues in the U.S. (notably Gayraud Wilmore, Cecil Cone and Charles Long). Second, I analyse the tension between the Christian and the African in Cone's theological outlook by probing his notion of indigenization/Africanization among others. Third, I seek to interpret Cone's binary view of Christianity and Africanness in the light of his chief locus of enunciation, namely Western Christianity (albeit contested). My attempt here is to lay foundations for an engagement with Cone's attitude toward Africanness from the current South African (decolonial) perspective by considering it, first, within its original African American context.
  • Cracking the Eurocentric Code - A Battle on the Banks of the 'New Blood Rivers'

    Vellem,Vuyani (Southern African Missiological Society, 2018-01-01)
    Belief in divine privilege or God's creation of a volk is fundamental a motif in the propulsion of the superiority of one race against another in the world, ipso facto, the continuous management of systems of knowledge, authority, economics, and a 'world civilization' now quintessentially fundamentalist and racially fascist are effects of this deeply hidden and coded belief. Apartheid simply, is a zenith of this supersessionist (replacement of Israel from the Bible with European white) world enunciated since the justification of the commodification and dispensability of black lives. To elucidate this thesis, this article first offers a presentation of Cone's theological grammar. Second, we punctuate the value of self-criticality as an indispensable criterion by demonstrating that Cone was engaged critically in Black Theology of Liberation's (BTL) internal discourses not only to clarify the relationship between Sunday and Saturday religiosities, but to distinguish and distance BTL from idolatrous imaginations of knowledge and history. Black faith oozes from the volcanic, rapturous explosion that dismantles the divide between Sunday and Saturday religions. Third, we make the point about the ghettoization of Cone's theology at its gestation and by this we seek to demonstrate this continuous relegation of the school to residential alienation and nihilism in the battle of ideas. For this reason, the article argues, cracking the "Western code," to break the coalition of black experience with the white power structure, is the space where BTL might have to dwell in the battle of 'New Blood Rivers.'
  • A Haunting Responsibility to James Cone

    Meylahn,Johann-Albrecht (Southern African Missiological Society, 2018-01-01)
    The Communist Manifesto begins with the words, 'A spectre is haunting Europe - a spectre of Communism'. Maybe with the death of the father of Black Theology one could argue that a spectre of Black Theology is haunting the globe. A Spirit of Black Theology is haunting the globe and particularly South Africa, and this spirit is seeking to become manifest, in other words, seeking to be made manifest by finding an embodiment. Theologies in the South have inherited this spirit, the spirit of James Cone, and with this inheritance comes a responsibility. In this article I will seek to respond to this spirit, but in the light of another of Marx's texts, The Eighteenth Brumaire, where he argues that the new social revolution, which would maybe be an appropriate response to Cone's spirit, is a revolution that takes its poetics from the future. "The social revolution cannot draw its poetry from the past, but only from the future. It cannot begin with itself before it has stripped itself of all its superstitions concerning the past. Earlier revolutions relied on memories out of world history in order to drug themselves against their own content. In order to find their own content, the revolutions of the 19th century have to let the dead bury the dead. Before, the expression exceeded the content; now the content exceeds the expression" (Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire). The content, the cry, exceeds the expression. Between these two texts of Karl Marx (and Engels), I will specifically be reading Cone's expropriation of the cry of black pain, and how this cry calls for a response (expression) in the contemporary context of mass migration, fundamentalism and a shifting world order from a mono-polar world to perhaps multi-polar globe, whilst heeding Marx's words that the content exceeds the expression.

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