The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

 

 

The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology and Faculdades EST, Brazil strengthen partnershiphttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4276The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology and Faculdades EST, Brazil strengthen partnershipDion Forster<p>The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology in the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University has been engaged in a rich and fruitful partnership with colleagues from Faculdades EST since 2007. Faculdades EST is a Brazilian institution of research and academic training in the fields of human sciences and applied social sciences, linguistics, languages, arts and health. The partnership has focussed predominantly on issues of Public Theologies in the respective contexts. Prof Dr Rudolf von Sinner from Faculdades EST and Dr Dion Forster from the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology serve as the coordinators of an ongoing research project on the nature and content of Public Theologies from Brazil and South Africa. This has been a very fruitful collaboration over the years with the exchange of staff and students, participation in conferences in Sao Leopoldo and Stellenbosch, and shared publications. <br> <br>On the 14th of September 2016 the Faculty of Theology (Stellenbosch University) and the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology presented Prof Dr Rudolf von Sinner with an artwork for the Centre for Ethics at Faculdades EST. The artwork, which was created by Prof Daniel Louw (Emeritus Professor - and former Dean - of the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch) is entitled '<em>The Cursed and Wounded Healer</em>'. It symbolises the frailty and brokenness of human persons and society as a result of sin. Yet, it points towards the hope of healing and restoration that the cross of Christ brings, expressed in Pauline terminology, as wholeness (<em>parrhesia</em>).</p><p>We look forward to many fruitful years of South by South collaboration between these two Southern hemisphere institutions. In this picture Dr Donald Katts, Stellenbosch (left) is presenting the artwork to Prof Dr Rudolf von Sinner (right) at a special service at Faculdades EST.</p>
Russel Botman Memorial Lecturehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4342Russel Botman Memorial LectureHelette van der Westhuizen<p style="text-align:left;">The <span style="text-align:center;">Russel Botman Memorial Lecture, </span><span style="text-align:center;">commemorating the life of Prof Hayman Russel Botman, is </span><span style="text-align:center;">hosted annually by the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University </span><span style="text-align:center;">in conjunction with the curatoria of the Dutch Reformed Church, the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa and the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology.</span></p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>"Are we still of any use?"</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Situating Russel Botman's thinking on poverty, empowerment and education </strong><strong>in our contemporary times.</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Date</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;">Tuesday, 18 October 2016 at 18:15</p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Venue</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;">Attie van Wijk Auditorium, Faculty of Theology, 171 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch</p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Speaker</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;">Prof Crain Soudien, Human Sciences Research Council</p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Response</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;">Prof Yusef Waghid, Faculty of Education, Stellenbosch University</p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Vote of thanks</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;">Mr Randall van den Heever, Russel Botman bursar, <br>Stellenbosch University</p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>RSVP by 10 October 2016</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;">Helette, 021 808 9560 or hvdwest@sun.ac.za</p><p></p>
Be mindful of the next seven generations – US indigenous leaderhttps://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>
Beyers Naudé: The Thug life of an Afrikaner domineehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4091Beyers Naudé: The Thug life of an Afrikaner domineeMarita Snyman<p>The Beyers Naudé Archive houses many good protest artworks especially in the Pro Veritate collection and the Belydende Kring (literally: "Confessing Circle") which offered theological commentary on relevant social matters. Botha included some of these artworks in his powerpoint presentation to point out that many of the causes Beyers Naudé pursued are stil relevant in the South Africa of today where they keep society divided.</p><p>Among the topics discussed were reconciliation, migrant labour, economic injustice and racial segregation -  issues that are still prominent in society today, especially in Stellenbosch. The aim of the talk was for the audience to think critically about the society they live in and help maintain. Beyers Naudé's message was firstly that there should be an awareness of the prevailing injustice. Secondly that each person initially as an individual then as a community should together take responsibility for a future non-racial, more equal and free democracy where everyone's dignity is acknowledged, not only constitutionally but also by the people and institutions in the country.</p><p>Botha told the audience that it was both an honour and challenge for him to allow Beyers Naudé's words to challenge him as a Christian in the NG Church.</p>
Conferences on Church and Unityhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6449Conferences on Church and UnityMarita Snyman<h3>​Conferences on Church and Unity<br></h3><p><br>The annual conferences of the Synodical Commission for Doctrine and Current Affairs of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (Cape Synod) and the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology, focus upon the broader theme of Congregations and Public Life. Together we explore the potential of congregational practices for the transformation of all walks of life. <br></p><p>In 2019 the focus of the SKLAS – BNC conferences was on Church and Unity. </p><p>The following rationale for the 2019 conferences was: Biblical theology encourages unity within the Church and among the Churches. This forms part of the Church's witness to the world. It testifies to the reality that even though life is complex, and there is real diversity among persons and communities, we are one body that should coexist in humility and love. However, the reality in the South African churches at present suggests that we find it difficult to overcome our differences in language, culture, race, ethnicity, economic class, and understandings of our broken past. The 2019 SKLAS conferences will focus on a variety of perspectives on unity and disunity in society and the Church. Our aim is to equip attendees with theological insights and tools to engage the complexities of our current social reality and to help them to serve their Churches and communities in working for greater unity. </p><p> CONFERENCE DATES AND LOCATIONS: </p><p>11 February 2019 Malmesbury; 35 participants </p><p>4 March 2019 George; 30 participants: 30</p><p>8 April 2019 Port Elizabeth; 54 participants: 54​<br></p><p>​<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/_DSC8482.JPG" alt="_DSC8482.JPG" style="margin:5px;width:796px;height:528px;" /></p><p>Dr Sipho Mahokoto, Rev Rineke van Ginkel, Rev ​​Mzwandile Molo, Dr Koos Oosthuizen and Rev Janine Williams, who participated at Goedgedacht Farm, Malmesbury as speakers and facilitators</p><p><br><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/_DSC8508.JPG" alt="_DSC8508.JPG" style="margin:5px;width:800px;height:540px;" /><br></p><p>Ms Leona Loff, Rev Glenda Fredericks, Dr Koos Oosthuizen, Rev Peter Veysie, Rev Rineke van Ginkel, Dr Eugene Fortein and Prof Dion Forster (Director: BNC) all participated at Carmel, George<br></p><p><br></p><p>Note: In the photo on the title page the partipants were: Dr Koos Oosthuizen, Dr Sipho Mahokoto, Rev Rineke van Ginkel, Dr Eugene Fortein, Rev Bulelani Vete, Ms Pinky Sifuba and Rev Mzwandile Molo<br></p>
Launch of Gender Unit at the Faculty of Theologyhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4786Launch of Gender Unit at the Faculty of TheologyHelette van der Westhuizen<p>Prof Juliana Claassens, Professor of Old Testament and Head of the Gender Unit, shared the story of the unit and said, "We want to offer a creative space for interdisciplinary research on an intersectional understanding of gender where we bring together students and scholars, locally, nationally and internationally to help us think differently about gender. Within this Gender Unit, we want very much to adhere to a feminist ethos that can be described as honouring all voices, interrogating power relations and reconstituting community."</p><p>The Vice-Rector for Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, Prof Eugene Cloete, who played an important role in the establishment of the Gender Unit, said the unit stands for human dignity. "Human dignity is the number one priority. The second is creating an inclusive environment and a space where people can talk to one another. The idea is to work towards a common good."</p><p>Prof Amanda Gouws, who wished the Gender Unit well on behalf of the wider SU campus, talked about the importance of partnerships, and how essential it is to work together across departments and faculties in terms of issues of gender.</p><p>According to Dr Charlene van der Walt, Research and Programme coordinator of the Gender Unit and the very successful MTh Gender, Health and Theology programme, the unit already collaborates closely with various NGOs working on gender-based violence and minority sexualities in Africa, and they look forward to including other interested partners. Dr Funlola Olojede is the first postdoctoral fellow at the unit. She is making a valuable contribution with her focus on Africa women reading the Bible in terms of the challenges and opportunities in our contemporary context.</p><p>Prof Claassens concluded her address with a quote by<strong> </strong><em>bell hooks:</em> "I want there to be a place in the world where people can engage in one another's differences in a way that is redemptive, full of hope and possibility." May the Gender Unit be such a place.</p>
Eighth Winter School at Theologyhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6603Eighth Winter School at TheologyHelette van der Westhuizen<p style="margin:0mm 0mm 0pt;text-align:justify;line-height:normal;"><font color="#000000" face="Calibri" size="3">​​The Winter School of the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, was recently presented for the eighth time. The Winter School is an initiative of the faculty, Communitas, Ekklesia and the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology, which aims to create a dialogue on contemporary issues affecting communities and congregations. It also provides an opportunity for additional theological training of spiritual leaders, and empowering members of the congregation.</font></p><p style="margin:0mm 0mm 0pt;text-align:justify;line-height:normal;"><font color="#000000" face="Calibri" size="3">Prof Anita Cloete, coordinator of the Winter School, says: “This year we reflected on 25 years of democracy in conversation with religion. The keynote speakers highlighted the theme from different perspectives and emphasized the public role that the church plays. On the first day, Prof Nadine Bowers-du Toit focused on identity politics and how, on the one hand, it promotes polarization and, on the other hand, is often intertwined with religion. Former Statistics General Dr Pali Lehohla outlined the story of democracy on day two using statistics about South Africa. Prof Allan Boesak concluded the Winter School with an emphasis on the important contribution of religion in the fight against apartheid, also outlining the role for religion in South Africa’s future democracy. " Follow the link for a copy of his address. <a href="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Prof%20Allan%20Boesak.pdf"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/15/images/icpdf.png" alt="" />Prof Allan Boesak.pdf</a></font></p><p style="margin:0mm 0mm 0pt;text-align:justify;line-height:normal;"><font color="#000000" face="Calibri" size="3">“The parallel sessions that took place in the morning and afternoon followed the main themes of the day. The Winter School was very well attended with more than 200 participants. One of the highlights of the Winter School is that it brings people together from different denominations, cultures and generations. This diversity also adds depth to our shared sense of community and conversations because it allows us to learn more about each other, crossing boundaries. Each day began with participants joining together in a moment of stillness to read the Word. In the feedback after the course, many participants described it as one of the most valuable moments of the Winter School. "</font></p><p style="margin:0mm 0mm 0pt;text-align:justify;line-height:normal;"><font color="#000000" face="Calibri" size="3">“We hope this initiative will continue as a way of communicating hope to congregations and communities. "</font></p><p style="margin:0mm 0mm 0pt;line-height:normal;"><font color="#000000" face="Calibri" size="3">The dates of the 2020 Winter School will be announced soon.</font></p><p><br> </p>
Celebrating Allan Boesak’s 70th birthdayhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=3919Celebrating Allan Boesak’s 70th birthdayMarita Snyman<p>​​Before the event, attendees received the introduction and first chapter of Prof Boesak's latest book, <em>Kairos, Crisis, and Global Apartheid: The Challenge to Prophetic Resistance. Palgrave Macmillan.</em> </p><p>The reference to "Kairos" in the title of the book reminds of the 1985 Kairos Document which responded theologically to the crisis experienced in apartheid South Africa.  The book argues that thirty years later Christians and faith communities are facing a more global sort of apartheid, and apartheid that is – as the book states – "caused and characterized by growing social and economic inequalities, environmental devastation, and degradation of human dignity on a global scale." The book makes a powerful claim for the embodiment of a theology of prophetic resistance.</p><p>At the event, Prof Robert Vosloo put some questions about the book to Prof Boesak, to which he responded in his typical clear, challenging and inspiring manner.  He elaborated on terms such as "kairos consciousness" and "global apartheid," and also pointed to the influence of Calvin, Bonhoeffer, Beyers Naudé, liberation theology and black theology on the ideas put forward in the book. One of the questions addressed the challenges posed by the conversations on decolonization and the various #mustFall movements. The discussion also turned to the situation in the United States and the candidacy of Donald Trump. Prof Boesak responded by emphasizing the need for the church to stand with God for justice.</p><p>The event was well-attended and those present enjoyed the discussion which served as a challenge to embody the gospel in line with the legacy of people like Beyers Naudé. The event concluded with student leaders from the faculty congratulating Prof Boesak on his 70<sup>th</sup> birthday.​</p>
New Gender Unit at the Beyers Naudé Centre, Faculty of Theology https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4783New Gender Unit at the Beyers Naudé Centre, Faculty of Theology Marita Snyman<p> </p><p><br></p><p><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Gender%20Unit-89.jpg" alt="Gender Unit-89.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:800px;height:541px;" /></p><p><span class="ms-rteFontSize-1">Caption: Prof Amanda Gouws (Guest speaker); Dr Charlene van der Walt (Gender Unit); Prof Julie Claassens (Gender Unit) and Prof Sarojini Nadar (Main speaker) during the launch of the Gender Unit on 28 March 2017</span></p><p>Maternal health and infant mortality are two of the United Nations' Millennium Goals. In SA and the rest of Africa, women and children are particularly vulnerable in the face of the following:  HIV/AIDS (which can be described as a gendered pandemic); caring for the sick and the elderly; poverty and sexual violence.</p><p>The Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University, together with partners in South Africa (University of KwaZulu-Natal), in Tanzania (TUMA University) and Ethiopia (Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology) took up this challenge and each institution developed a unique Master's program in Gender, Health and Theology/Religion that sought to address the grim reality. Unique to this program is also the association with NGO's that markedly strengthens the academic program's social impact.</p><p>At Stellenbosch University, the MTh Gender and Health since 2013 has seen each year 10 diverse and very interesting Master's students from all over the country as well as beyond its borders come together in order to grapple with the complex intersection of Gender, Health and Theology.</p><p>The impact of this program is evident in the many beautiful success stories since its inception. Most of its students are church leaders in a prime position to effect change in their respective communities. Moreover, this program also draws some non-traditional students. To mention but one example: Renate van der Westhuizen is a schoolteacher at a private school that caters for children experiencing learning difficulties in traditional schools. As the Deputy Head of the school, she spends quite a bit of time counselling students and over the years has seen a great number of children who were victims of rape and sexual assault, leading her to her thesis topic "Rape as Torture: Re-reading the Rape of the Levite's Concubine in Judges 19." It was inspiring to see how this study has transformed her, and in some significant ways the school setting where she is teaching. She regularly started to address the topic of rape into her classes. Her continued commitment to educate students and colleagues on the reality of sexual violence in schools is evident in that for the first time a sexual violence workshop was held in 2016 for teachers in her school. She was invited to attend a Department of Higher Education workshop where she was asked to give a presentation on possible curricular changes with regard to addressing the reality of sexual violence in schools.</p><p>The success of the MTh Gender and Health program has led the personnel to explore new opportunities for teaching and research on the intersection of Gender, Health and Theology that already has exhibited a definite social impact in faith communities as well as in the society at large. Stellenbosch University Vice-Rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, Prof Eugene Cloete, initiated the Gender Unit at the Faculty of Theology. The Head, Prof Juliana Claassens, as well as the Research and Program Coordinator, Dr Charlene van der Walt hope to contribute to the formation of a world where racism, sexism, homophobia and the dehumanizing reality of poverty is no more by amongst others:</p><ul><li>Raising funds for PhD scholarships for research on Gender, Health and Theology and so helping to cultivate thought leaders who can go back to their respective communities in order to serve as agents of change.</li><li>Creating a community of scholars who, through their research, contribute to the establishment of a centre of excellence that contextually explains the intersection of Gender, Health and the various sub-disciplines of Theology. Courtesy of Prof Eugene Cloete, the Gender Unit was able to appoint its first postdoctoral fellow, the very talented and experienced Dr Funlola Olojede, born in Nigeria.</li><li>Building networks on campus, with FBO's, NGO's and faith communities, and with scholars nationally as well as internationally in order to stimulate discourse on various aspects of the intersection of Gender, Health and Theology with the goal of cultivating an ethos that affirms the dignity of all people and resist all forms of discrimination</li></ul><div><br></div><div><br></div>
Responses to the Naming of Jesus as a Victim of Sexual Violence, a colloquium led by Professor David Tombshttps://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>