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Memorial service for Prof Plaatjies-Van Huffel on 29 Mayhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7388Memorial service for Prof Plaatjies-Van Huffel on 29 MayMarita Snyman<p>​<a href="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Memorial%20service%20MAP.jpg"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/15/images/icjpg.gif" alt="" />Memorial service MAP.jpg</a><br></p>
Colloquium with Swedish colleagueshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6443Colloquium with Swedish colleaguesMarita Snyman<p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Beyers Naude Centre Colloquium on 13 February 2019 at the Faculty of Theology </strong></p><p style="text-align:left;"><strong>​​​Humour, Emancipation and Reconciliation: </strong><strong style="text-align:center;">A Critical Inquiry</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong></strong><strong>Professor </strong><strong>Ola Sigurdson</strong> is professor of systematic theology at the Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion. Mainly writing in the intersection between continental theory and systematic theology, he is interested in Political Theology, Theology and the Arts, as well as traditional Dogmatics. His most recent (English) book is Heavenly Bodies: Incarnation, the Gaze, and Embodiment in Christian Theology (Eerdmans, 2016). </p><p style="text-align:left;"><strong>​Generosity and love as justice </strong><strong style="text-align:center;">on the road towards justice​</strong></p><p><strong>Dr Martin Westerholm</strong> is Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology at the University of Gothenburg, and Editor of the International Journal of Systematic Theology.  His work includes books on the theology of Karl Barth and the theology of Scripture, and articles on a range of themes in theology, philosophy, and ethics.  His interests sit at the intersection of these three fields.  He is currently researching questions regarding relations between truth, justice and love.<br></p><p><br></p>
International Bonhoeffer Congress January 2020http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7255International Bonhoeffer Congress January 2020Marita Snyman<h2>​The XIII International Bonhoeffer Congress was held from 19-23 January 2020 at the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch. <br></h2><p><strong></strong></p><p><strong>International Graduate students' colloquium</strong></p><p>A graduate students' colloquium was held (prior to the XIII International Bonhoeffer Congress) at Volmoed Conference and Retreat Centre near Hermanus from Friday 17<sup>th</sup> of January till Sunday 19<sup>th</sup> of February 2020. </p><p>Masters' students, doctoral students and post-doc researchers working on Bonhoeffer shared during the colloquium their research and experience with the group and this led to lively discussions. We are grateful for the presence at the colloquium of leading Bonhoeffer scholars such as Clifford Green, Reggie Williams, Barry Harvey, John de Gruchy, Michael DeJonge, Jennifer McBride, Jens Zimmermann, and Keith Clemens who not only responded to the students' presentations but also shared insights and stories from their own involvement in Bonhoeffer studies over the years.   The colloquium was attended by about 40 people.</p><p> <br></p><p><strong>The XIII International Bonhoeffer Congress, Stellenbosch 19-23 January 2020</strong></p><p>The 13<sup>th</sup> International Bonhoeffer Congress took place from 19-23 January 2020 and was hosted by the Faculty of Theology and the Beyers Naudé Center for Public Theology at Stellenbosch University, in partnership with the Department of Religion and Theology at the University of the Western Cape. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The theme of our conference was “How the coming generation is to go on living?" – a theme drawn from Bonhoeffer's remarkable text “After Ten Years," in which we read: “The ultimate responsible question is not how I extricate myself heroically from a situation but [how] a coming generation is to go on living? Only from such a historically responsible question will fruitful solutions arise." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">It was the hope of the conference that participants would grapple with the way in which this remark of Bonhoeffer shows a concern to take responsibility not only for our own personal and communal life in all its complexity and richness but also for the kind of values and society that future generations will inherit from us. We believe that the pertinence of Bonhoeffer's question is felt anew in our day as we experience threats on a global level to socio-political, economic and inter-religious stability and solidarity. Also within the South African context there have been major sea changes since the first truly democratic elections were held in 1994. And the reality of climate change and ecological devastation implies that the question of how future generations are going to go on living is linked to the fact that we live on a  planet in jeopardy.</p><p>It is against this background that the congress convened. The congress started with a church service at the Stellenbosch United Church, with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba as preacher. A special word of thanks to the Ecumenical Board of the Faculty of Theology, and in particular the local congregations for their role in the planning of the service and for sponsoring the refreshments afterwards.</p><p>Keynote speakers at the congress included Wolfgang Huber, Nadia Marais, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Teddy Sakupapa, and Reggie Williams. In the final session John de Gruchy moderated a panel of mostly younger scholars addressing the conference theme. </p><p>Two of the keynote sessions (on the Wednesday of the congress) took place at the University of the Western Cape, followed by an excursion to Cape Town and included visits to the St George's Cathedral and the District Six Museum and Homecoming Centre (where we also had our conference dinner). </p><p>There were 170 registered participants at the congress, of which 70 presented seminar papers. About 100 of the conference participants were from abroad.</p><p>On the Monday night a book launch was held of three Bonhoeffer publications with strong South African links, namely John de Gruchy's <em>Bonhoeffer's Questions: A Life-changing Conversation</em> (Lexington Books, 2019); Nico Koopman and Robert Vosloo, <em>Reading Bonhoeffer in South Africa after the Transition to Democracy</em> (Peter Lang Verlag, 2020) and Andreas Pangritz, <em>The Polyphony of Life: Bonhoeffer's theology of music</em> (edited by John de Gruchy and John Morris, and translated by Robert Steiner (Cascade Books, 2019).</p><p>We are also grateful for a spirited performance by the Stellenbosch Libertas Choir on the Monday evening of the conference. <br></p><p><br></p>
Responses to the Naming of Jesus as a Victim of Sexual Violence, a colloquium led by Professor David Tombshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6511Responses to the Naming of Jesus as a Victim of Sexual Violence, a colloquium led by Professor David TombsMarita Snyman<p>​<strong style="text-align:center;">COLLOQUIUM: </strong><strong style="text-align:center;">Responses to the Naming of Jesus as a </strong><strong style="text-align:center;">Victim of Sexual Violence</strong></p><p><strong style="text-align:center;"></strong><span style="text-align:center;">​P</span><span style="text-align:center;">rofessor Tombs' paper was followed by responses from </span><strong style="text-align:center;">Shantelle Weber</strong><span style="text-align:center;">, Senior lecturer: Practical Theology and Missiology, </span><strong style="text-align:center;">Ashwin Thyssen</strong><span style="text-align:center;">, senior student leader and activist and </span><strong style="text-align:center;">Jeremy Punt</strong><span style="text-align:center;">, Professor: Old and New Testament, </span><span style="text-align:center;">all Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University.</span></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong></strong><strong>Professor David Tombs is the Howard Paterson Chair of Theology and Public Issues, at the University of Otago, Aotearoa New Zealand. He has a longstanding interest in contextual and liberation theologies and is author of </strong><strong><em>Latin American Liberation Theology </em></strong><strong>(Brill, 2002). His research is on religion and violence, and his current writing focusses on crucifixion. </strong></p><p>Pictured are Dion Forster, Shantelle Weber, David Tombs, Ashwin Thyssen and Jeremy Punt<br></p>
We’ve stopped caring because of compassion fatiguehttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7706We’ve stopped caring because of compassion fatigueDion Forster<p>Compassion fatigue during abnormal times such as the COVID-19 pandemic can cause people to care less for others, writes Prof Dion Forster from the Department of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology in an opinion piece for Mail & Guardian (26 Sept).<br></p><ul><li>Read the article below or click <a href="https://mg.co.za/subscribe-and-support-independent-media/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>for the piece as published.</li></ul><p><strong>​Dion Forster*</strong><br></p><p>In recent weeks I have noticed that even the most cautious members of my family, circle of friends and colleagues, have started to relax their stringent adherence to COVID-19 safety measures. They are arranging social gatherings, travelling across the country, returning to work, shopping with greater freedom, washing their hands less frequently, and even leaving their homes without wearing a mask. </p><p>This is a stark contrast to the vigilance we exercised in the early days of our national lockdown. Remember when you would wash every item you brought back from the grocery store? Or when no more than two persons could travel in a vehicle, and the passenger sat in the back seat? Or, when we <a href="https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times/lifestyle/2020-03-27-a-marathon-during-lockdown-yes-its-possible--you-dont-have-to-leave-your-house/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">ran circles</strong></a> on our balconies and backyards to get our exercise? Being careful seemed so important and necessary! After all, we were protecting ourselves, and others, from being infected with a possibly deadly virus.</p><p>When South Africa went into <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-52055161"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">lockdown</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>on the 26<sup>th</sup> of March, we had only 218 reported cases of coronavirus infection. The first two COVID-19-related deaths were <a href="https://sacoronavirus.co.za/2020/03/27/latest-confirmed-cases-of-covid-19-27th-march-2020/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">reported</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>a day later. Understandably, we were shocked and afraid. I am sure that all of us can remember the first time that we heard of a close relative, friend, or co-worker who was infected with the coronavirus? Some of us have also had to suffer the loss of family and friends who succumbed to COVID-19. And of course, some of us are among the nearly 585 000 persons who were infected with the virus and have recovered (approx. 655 000 people were infected).</p><p>The pandemic is not only a health tragedy in South Africa. It is also an economic disaster, putting further strain on an already faltering economy. The media have reported  <a href="https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-04-17-the-biggest-lockdown-threat-hunger-hunger-everywhere/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">large scale suffering</strong></a> from hunger, the brutality of increased gender-based violence, the loss of job security for many South Africans, and the failure of our education system that has left teachers vulnerable, and learners even further behind in their schooling. It is likely to take decades to address some of these problems. This will almost certainly be hampered by ongoing corruption in both the government and the private sector.</p><p>Yet, for the majority of South Africans life seems to be 'returning to normal'. We have numbed ourselves to the images of frontline workers dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) caring for desperately sick persons in hospitals. We hardly seem to notice when the daily news reports that another 100 or so persons have died as a result of COVID-19 overnight, and that the death toll now sits at around 16 000 persons. These are no longer the faces of persons – they are just a number.<br></p><p><strong>Why have we stopped caring?</strong></p><p>The short answer is that we are suffering from a condition known as '<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328049042_Affect_Empathy_and_Human_Dignity_Considering_Compassion_at_the_Intersection_of_Theology_and_Science"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">compassion fatigue</strong></a>'. Compassion fatigue is common among persons who are constantly exposed to unresolvable suffering. It is most often reported in the so-called 'caring professions' (e.g., nurses, doctors, social workers, religious leaders). Research has shown that when a person is constantly confronted by suffering, their response to the suffering becomes <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1049909109354096"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">less pronounced</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>over time. This is the body's way of coping with the pain and trauma of witnessing and experiencing the suffering of others. </p><p>When we see someone suffer, or hear about someone suffering, a part of our brain is activated that causes us to <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328049042_Affect_Empathy_and_Human_Dignity_Considering_Compassion_at_the_Intersection_of_Theology_and_Science"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">recreate the experience</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>of the other person in our own imagination. We feel something of their pain. This is a pre-cognate reaction – in other words, it happens in that deep part of our brain that responds to pain without thinking. This capacity is believed to have evolved in all mammal brains (to different degrees) in order to evoke the responses of care and the avoidance of danger. </p><p>When we imagine the suffering of another, we are instinctually motivated to avoid it ourselves. We also tend to shield those that we care for from facing harm. Similarly, when we see someone suffering, we are also instinctually prompted to help them ease their pain. The offering of care and the avoidance of pain have served to preserve life and so they have become 'hard-wired' into the functioning of our brains.<br></p><p>However, my research, and that of others shows, that while our brains are 'wired' for survival and the avoidance of pain and threat, they also <a href="https://journals.lww.com/nursing/Fulltext/2015/07000/Compassion_fatigue__The_cost_of_caring.15.aspx?casa_token=YjKnyScHBx8AAAAA:uQryqaM_I0rBCKSAeviSUrlXfoZiSPSRMNq3TMFVA5DXE4rpISQk2OAC6v412oRb-siXd6IVdpcS2sao243dKiLa9PZ1l6Tb5Q9_"><strong>a</strong><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>d</strong>apt to avoid emotional pain</strong></a> and psychological threats. Over time, as we are exposed to ongoing pain and suffering of others, we become less and less sensitive to it. Our emotional reaction to their pain is less severe. We rationalize what we hear and see, moving from the emotional center of the brain to the cognitive and rational functions. Over time we are no longer shocked to hear that 100 persons died in the last 24 hours from a virus that each one of us could be infected with. We are no longer thinking about 15 000 individuals – mothers, fathers, sons, daughters – who have died; we are thinking about a number, a statistic.<br></p><p>Research further shows that compassion fatigue can also occur in groups – such as communities, or nations. For example, a community may become accustomed to certain forms of suffering, or abuse, and normalize them. Gender activists frequently <a href="https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-06-18-gender-based-violence-is-south-africas-second-pandemic-says-ramaphosa/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">point out</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>the abnormally high rates of rape, femicide and gender-based violence in South Africa. In <a href="https://www-jstor-org.ezproxy.lib.gla.ac.uk/stable/10.5749/jcritethnstud.2.1.0073"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">America</strong></a>, for example, the frequent mass shootings, or the killing of black persons by the police, are rationalized and diverted from painful experiences into political debates. </p><p>Compassion fatigue on a personal and a structural level can lead to a loss of perspective. It may cause us to miss-recognize the humanity of others, hindering us from adequately and effectively responding to suffering and pain. Just as we would not want to be treated by an uncaring doctor or nurse, we also should not want to live in a society which does not care about the suffering of its fellow citizens.<br></p><p>In his 1947 novel <a href="https://books.google.co.za/books?id=3qCOmB8EYigC&dq=editions:G--JUyAmT1oC&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjp54HkvO3rAhWNN8AKHWnDD3sQ6AEwBXoECAAQAg"><em class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>The plague</strong></em></a>, Albert Camus tells the story of the arrival of a plague in the Algerian city of Oran. After facing great tragedy and hardship, the citizens of Oran start to normalize their lives. Camus, however, uses his novel to illustrate how <a href="https://www.counterpointknowledge.org/when-a-pandemic-makes-the-impossible-possible/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">abnormal</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>some aspects of their normal lives actually are.</p><p>It is important that we recognize when compassion fatigue starts to set in. We must guard against it in our closest relationships, and also name it when we see it in our communities and social systems. To show compassion requires an ongoing choice to recognize the humanity of those who suffer. It requires the courage to face pain and discomfort. To create a more compassionate society, we will have to face the reality of our shared humanity, our shared frailty, and our need for one another. We will have to avoid the instinct to escape or simply ignore what causes pain and suffering. In these difficult times, we could all do with a little more care, a more humane and compassionate society.   <br></p><p><em>*Prof </em><em>Dion A. Forster is an Associate Professor in Systematic Theology and Ethics and the Chair of the Department of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology at Stellenbosch</em> <em>University (SU). He also serves as the director of the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology at SU. </em><br></p><p><br></p>
International Bonhoeffer Society raises voice in resistance to discrimination and aggressive nationalismhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4635International Bonhoeffer Society raises voice in resistance to discrimination and aggressive nationalismMarita Snyman<p>Comprising scholars and religious leaders from the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the purpose of the English Language Section of the International Bonhoeffer Society is to encourage critical scholarship in conversation with the theology, life, and legacy of the German pastor-theologian and Nazi resistor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. While initiated in the United States, this statement expresses the concern, input, and support of our members in many countries that are demonstrating and protesting around the world. We speak noting that Dietrich Bonhoeffer himself taught the profound relatedness of all human persons and, indeed, of peoples and nations. We therefore feel called to raise our voices in support of justice and peace, and in resistance to every form of unjust discrimination and aggressive nationalism.</p><p>The United States has undergone an unusually contentious, bitter, and ugly election that has brought us to an equally contentious, bitter, and ugly beginning of the presidency of Donald J. Trump. While it is impossible to predict what lies ahead, we are gravely concerned by the rise in hateful rhetoric and violence, the deep divisions and distrust in our country, and the weakening in respectful public discourse. Some of the institutions that have traditionally protected our freedoms are under threat. In particular, this election has made the most vulnerable members of our society, including people of color, members of the LGBTQ communities, Muslims, immigrants, refugees, the poor, and the marginally employed and the unemployed, feel even more vulnerable and disempowered.</p><p>The German theologian and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer is quoted often in such times, for he spoke eloquently to such issues. His entire theological and political journey was shaped by his conviction that the church is only truly church when it lives for all God's children in the world, and that Christians fulfill their faith as Christians only when we live for others. Members of the Bonhoeffer Society hope to make a faithful contribution to our society in this ominous time.</p><p>The best way to understand Bonhoeffer's possible message for our times is not to draw direct political analogies between his time and ours, but to understand the meaning of how he understood his faith and his responsibilities as a citizen in his own times and discern where these words might resonate for us today:</p><p>In the coming time, we will seek to live such a life of witness, not only for the sake of our country, but because our Christian faith calls us to do so.</p><ul><li>He warned that leaders become "misleaders" when they are interested only in their own power and neglect their responsibilities to serve those whom they govern. (1933)</li><li>He warned that when a government persecutes its minorities, it has ceased to govern legitimately. (1933)</li><li>He admonished Christians to "speak out for those who cannot speak" (1934) and reminded that the church has an "unconditional obligation toward the victims of any societal order, even if they do not belong to the Christian community." (1933)</li><li>In his book <em>Discipleship</em>, he wrote: "From the human point of view there are countless possibilities of understanding and interpreting the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus knows only one possibility: simply go and obey. Do not interpret or apply, but do it and obey. That is the only way Jesus' word is really heard. But again, doing something is not to be understood as an ideal possibility; instead, we are simply to begin acting."(1936)</li><li>He wrote: "I believe that in every moment of distress God will give us as much strength to resist as we need…I believe that even our mistakes and shortcomings are not in vain and that is not more difficult for God to deal with them than with our supposedly good deeds. I believe that God is no timeless fate but waits for and responds to sincere prayer and responsible actions." (1942)</li><li>He wrote: "Is there a political responsibility of the <em>individual Christian? </em>Individual Christians can certainly not be held responsible for the government's actions, nor dare they make themselves responsible for them. But on the basis of their faith and love of neighbor, they are responsible for their own vocation and personal sphere of living, however large or small it is. Wherever this responsibility is faithfully exercised, it has efficacy for the polis as a whole."(1941)</li><li>He wrote: "… one only learns to have faith by living in the full this-worldliness of life….then one takes seriously no longer one's own sufferings but rather the suffering of God in the world. Then one stays awake with Christ in Gethsemane…. How should one become arrogant over successes or shaken by one's failures when one shares in God's suffering in the life of this world?" (1944)<br><br>In the coming time, we will seek to live such a life of witness, not only for the sake of our country, but because our Christian faith calls us to do so. </li></ul>
Beyers Naudé Centre welcomes Rev Rineke van Ginkel, new coworker from the Netherlands http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4636Beyers Naudé Centre welcomes Rev Rineke van Ginkel, new coworker from the Netherlands Marita Snyman<p>Welcome Rineke! FLTR: Prof Dirkie Smit, outgoing Chair: BNC Board; Dr Dion Forster, incoming BNC Director; Mr Patrick Mengers, Rev Van Ginkel's husband; Rev Rineke Van Ginkel; Ms Marita Snyman, BNC Programme Coordinator; Rev Stephen Pedro, SKLAS Committee member; Dr Ntozakhe Cezula, Chair: SKLAS Committee</p>
Be mindful of the next seven generations – US indigenous leaderhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5172Be mindful of the next seven generations – US indigenous leaderDeborah Hendriks and Zenzile Khoisan<h2 style="text-align:center;">Be mindful of the next seven generations <br></h2><p><strong>Pearl Means</strong>, a writer, producer and indigenous rights activist in the United States, struck a raw nerve with the audience at the University of Stellenbosch on 21 September 2017, when she recalled the terrifying experiences that Native Americans had to endure. She shared how, despite relatively small numbers, they were putting up a valiant defense against US corporations and government putting an oil pipeline through Indian land and sacred sites. <br></p><p>Means delivered the keynote address at the 2017 annual Institute for the Healing of Memories lecture, jointly sponsored by the Institute and the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology at Stellenbosch University. She observed, “The Native American is like the miner's canary" sending out a distress signal in a world, where failure to take action against injustice could imperil the future of the next seven generations. <br></p><p>“We are here today because of a painful past, one that the invader made certain no one would know about, and we are almost gone. There is one percent of us left in America, the most powerful nation in the world. This country knows nothing about us, therefore, is able to commit the atrocities, the genocide that continues today through their policies," Means stated.</p><p>She celebrated the power of activism to stop corporate greed and government policies that lead to war, plunder and the undermining of the environment. <br></p><p>Indigenous activists in America recently stopped the completion of the 1 886 km Dakota oil pipeline that would transport nearly half a million barrels of oil a day from the border of Canada, through five states to the holding and distribution centre in Illinois. The mass campaign at the Standing Rock reservation in South Dakota successfully resisted attempts by energy companies to drill and install the pipeline under Lake Oahe, a reservoir on the Missouri River that the indigenous peoples proclaim as a sensitive heritage area. The contention of the indigenous peoples, she noted, was that the water sources of the indigenous clans could become poisonous.</p><p>“We are under attack, with our lifeline, our water and the desecration of our sacred ancestral burial sites," Means claimed, explaining that the current violations were part of a pattern of historic abuse, reaching back to colonial times. <br></p><p>Means called for urgent action to secure future generations a sustainable legacy: “If we do nothing we will be charged with the next seven generations. We are all part of the human family and we need to preserve life. We made a stand with four women and one man, set up a camp a year and a half ago and said no more. What we didn't realise is that we would have the solidarity and support of over 10 000 people from all over the world – 500 members of the clergy came and stood with us and in a ceremony burnt the Doctrine of Discovery to show their solidarity. Over 400 indigenous nations came and stood with us: from the Maoris of New Zealand to the Amazonian indigenous of Ecuador. They filled our hearts with pride, with love." <br></p><p>“We have over 500 years' experience with the invader. We have no choice. We followed the mandate of our Creator. We know our time here is that of a drop in the bucket in comparison to the lifetime of a rock," Means added. <br></p><p>The indigenous leader noted that the current violations of indigenous rights and sovereignty stemmed from pronouncements by the Catholic Church more than five centuries ago:</p><p>“In 1493 the Vatican under Pope Alexander VI issued a Papal Bull (edict of the Pope in the Vatican) that essentially said that all non-Christian-owned land was available for the taking for the Crown and for the Church. It gave them the moral and legal authority for the slaughter, for the raping, the pillaging of our homelands and our peoples". <br></p><p><strong>Patric Tariq Mellet</strong>, a South African liberation activist, author and social historian, was the respondent to the keynote address and reflected on contemporary events in South Africa.<br></p><p>“In the old days before modern technology, a caged canary was taken down the mines because its demise provided a warning to miners of dangerous levels of poisonous atmosphere. It was a signal to miners to take action or die… to leave immediately for fresh air at the surface. As a metaphor, the plight of the canary can be likened in our societies to the assault on the most vulnerable, marginalised and oppressed in our society. The call to wake up and to resistance action shouts out from the overcome canary. This is a warning that a toxic wave – a period of threat – is about to sweep over others in our society," Mellet stated. </p><p>He noted that the metaphoric 'miner's canary' became a case of the testing of the resolve of the Native Americans at Standing Rock – “shouts out that race supremacism is on the rise – people of colour beware, other identities beware, all who are demonised beware."</p><p>“Our miner's canary as a warning of the corruption of our struggle gains, and of neo-colonialism in modern day South Africa stands out most starkly as the Marikana massacre. This was our Standing Rock… and so much more," Mellet added. <br></p><p>Photo: Patric Tariq Mellet, Pearl Means, Prof Nico Koopman (Vice-Rector: Social Impact, Transformation & Personnel) and Father Michael Lapsley (Director: Institute for the Healing of Memories) <br><br></p>
MTh with a focus on gender and healthhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5040MTh with a focus on gender and healthSelina Palm<h2>​​MTH with a focus on gender and health<br></h2><p style="text-align:justify;">The Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, in cooperation with the Church of Sweden is offering a unique opportunity for interested students to complete a Masters in Theology with a focus on gender and health. The masters can be registered in any of the existing theological disciplines (Old Testament, New Testament, Ecclesiology, Systematic Theology, Missiology & Practical Theology). Students will thus complete a Masters in their chosen discipline by pursuing research within the intersection of gender, health and theology. Themes include (but are not restricted to) physical and mental health, HIV and AIDS, sexuality and sexual orientation, reproductive health, gender-based violence and sustainable livelihoods. Ten selected students will be eligible for scholarships in this special focus Master's program for the study period January 2018 to March 2019. A four-year theological degree or a Post-Graduate diploma in Theology (from SU) serves as a prerequisite for application.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This special focus Masters will consist of a core module (gender, health and theology), two additional modules (in the chosen main discipline) and a 120-page thesis. The program will require students to attend a three-week course at the beginning of 2018 (core module and research methodology workshop) at the Faculty of Theology, followed by two workshops in the first semester designed to assist students in the research proposal development process. Attendance of the Core Module and workshops are compulsory for all students in the program. Thereafter students will be required to be in a position to have regular access to research resources and contact sessions with lecturers and promoters. Oral exams must be completed by July 2018, and thesis submitted by 30 November 2018 in order to graduate in March 2019.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Ten scholarships of R75 000 per student are available, divided across the various disciplinary groups in the Faculty. The bursary will be paid out to successful candidates in four instalments, subject to satisfactory progress made by the student in the course of the program. The program consists of a series of strict deadlines and implies dedicated commitment due to the fast pace.  These funds are subject to final donor confirmation from the Church of Sweden in December 2015.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The program has a dual application system:</p><ol><li>All prospective candidates have to complete the official application in accordance with the procedure and requirements for MTh applications at Stellenbosch University. First-time students to Stellenbosch University can apply online at <a href="/">www.sun.ac.za</a>. A full academic transcript will be required of all prospective applicants. Students who are currently enrolled at Stellenbosch University can request the relevant application form for further study from the Faculty Secretary Mr Shirle Cornelissen at <a href="mailto:shirle@sun.ac.za">shirle@sun.ac.za</a>.</li><li>Besides the application through official University channels, a detailed bursary application should be submitted to Dr Selina Palm at spalm@sun.ac.za by 1 September 2017. Bursary applications consist of a full CV, academic records/transcript, a letter of motivation (stating research motivation and aims) and a completed additional information form. Please submit all relevant documents in a single PDF document format via e-mail. For further enquiries please contact Dr Palm via e-mail or on 0767 800 456 from 1<sup>st</sup> August.</li></ol><p style="text-align:justify;">All applicants will be notified as to the success of their bursary application by the end of October 2017. Unsuccessful scholarship candidates, who qualified for acceptance into the Master's program in the selected discipline, will then have a choice to either pursue a discipline specific Masters without the Gender and Health focus or to retract their application.  <br></p><p><br></p>
Dietrich Bonhoeffer for todayhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4234Dietrich Bonhoeffer for todayMarita Snyman<p>For three years now, the Bonhoeffer Consultation has brought together scholars, pastors, and students for a close reading and discussion of a portion of Bonhoeffer's writings. This year's Consultation focused on Bonhoeffer's dissertation, <em>Sanctorum Communio, </em>which he completed at age 21. In it, Bonhoeffer offers a description of the church as a social entity in which separate persons are brought into community by encountering difference in one another. Participants spent each morning reading through <em>Sanctorum Communio</em> and discussing its implications for theology, sociology, politics, personhood, and a fresh vision for the church's role in a diverse and reconciling South Africa. The discussions were supplemented by public lectures, including an address by the renowned theologian and Bonhoeffer scholar, Prof. John de Gruchy, on Bonhoeffer's prophetic example for a global Kairos theology.</p><p>Photo: Prof Robert Vosloo, Director of the Bonhoeffer Unit at the Beyers Naudé Centre with Prof John de Gruchy<br></p>