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SA not yet healed from frozen traumahttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6486SA not yet healed from frozen traumaCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>​​We cannot afford to continue to ignore the unfinished business of healing our nation and dealing with the frozen trauma.<br></p><p>This was one of the viewpoints of Prof Christo Thesnaar from the Department of Practical Theology and Missiology in the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University (SU) on Wednesday (12 Jun 2019). He delivered his inaugural lecture on the topic <em>Divine discomfort: A relational encounter with multi-generational and multi-layered trauma</em>.<br></p><p>Thesnaar said South Africa is reaping the fruits of frozen and multi-generational and multi-layered trauma that has started to erupt in the country. He added that we have failed to deal with the trauma of the past.<br></p><p>“Domestic and intimate partner violence, violent crime, substance dependency, xenophobia, etc., all bear witness to a frozen trauma that has started to erupt. Persistent poverty, inequality and unemployment are clear indicators that we have neglected to attend to our frozen trauma."<img class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="Teologie intree-8.jpg" src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Teologie%20intree-8.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:380px;" /><br></p><p>“In the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the political settlement in South Africa, we have seen an increase in anger, violence and vengeance on all levels of our society regarding basic service delivery, poverty, education, economic freedom, and so forth.</p><p>“It is safe to say that for the most part of the 25 years, the state of the trauma in our country has been mainly suppressed by the transition process, the first democratic election, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) process and the many political promises."<br></p><p>According to Thesnaar, the lack of implementation of the TRC recommendations by government, civil society and religious groupings and the failure to facilitate the past trauma have contributed to the eruption of the trauma. <br></p><p>“The failure to address socio-economic settlement in terms of economic justice, land reform, housing and employment, to name a few, has specifically contributed to the frozen trauma and the subsequent eruption thereof."<br></p><p>Thesnaar added that even though we went through a transformation (political change and new Constitution) and healing process (facilitated by the TRC) 25 years ago, there was no guarantee that it would be sufficient to deal with the decades of frozen trauma.<br></p><p>He said the lack of urgency by all role players to transform South Africa has increased divisions between rich and poor, different race groups, and leadership and the people.<br></p><p>“Poverty in the midst of opulence is inclined to wound a person, family, community and even a nation more than one can imagine. In this regard, unequal societies such as ours tend to generate more rage and outrage that turn inwards as well as to those intimate to the one that is traumatised."<br></p><p>Thesnaar said as a society we will need to embrace the values of <em>ubuntu</em> and mutual recognition to deal with the multi-generational and multi-layered trauma.</p><ul><li><strong>Main photo</strong>: A squatter camp in South Africa. (Credit: Wikimedia) </li><li><strong>Photo 1</strong>: Profs Reggie Nel, Dean of SU's Faculty of Theology, Christo Thesnaar and Stan du Plessis, SU's Chief Operating Officer at the inaugural lecture. <strong>Photographer</strong>: Anton Jordaan</li></ul><p><br> </p><br><br><br><br>
We’ve stopped caring because of compassion fatiguehttps://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>
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>
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>
From Stellenbosch to Bamberg - handing over leadership of the Global Network for Public Theology https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4988From Stellenbosch to Bamberg - handing over leadership of the Global Network for Public Theology Marita Snyman<p>​<span style="font-size:11pt;line-height:107%;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;color:black;">Prof Wabel will serve as the hosting chair of the next Global Network for Public Theology Consultation that will take place in Bamberg in 2019. Dr Dion Forster who served as the acting host Chair, on behalf of Prof Dr Nico Koopman, received the Indonesian batik cloth, a symbol of the GNPT since the inception of the network in 2007, from Prof Koopman in March 2017. At a Public Lecture, where Dr Forster presented a paper entitled 'The (im)possibility of forgiveness? Nelson Mandela and the politics of forgiveness in South Africa', the cloth was ceremonially handed to Prof Wabel. It marked a symbolic 'passing of the baton' of service from the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology to the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute for Public Theology. Numerous academics and interested parties, as well as the President of the Otto Friedrich Universität, Prof Ruppert, attended the event. Prof Ruppert pledged his support to the work of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute for Public Theology, and expressed how pleased he was that the GNPT would be hosted in Bamberg. Prof Wabel spoke of the importance of this next meeting, and how the contextual location in Europe, would inform some of the planning and thinking about Public Theologies from various global contexts. He expressed thanks to the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology (BNC), Prof Koopman and Dr Forster, for their work in hosting the GNPT Consultation in Stellenbosch in 2016. As soon as specific details about the dates for the next GNPT meeting in Bamberg are finalised it shall be posted on the BNC website.</span> <br></p><p>Main photo: Dr Dion Forster and Prof Thomas Wabel</p><p>Photo below: Dr Dion Forster and Prof Nico Koopman<br></p><p><img src="/english/faculty/theology/bnc/PublishingImages/news-archive/Nico%20Koopman%20and%20Dion%20Forster%20Batik%20GNPT.JPG" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:400px;height:305px;" /> <br></p>
Beyers Naudé birthday celebrated with a message from Prof Nico Koopmanhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7333Beyers Naudé birthday celebrated with a message from Prof Nico KoopmanMarita Snyman<p>​Each year on the 10th of May the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology at Stellenbosch University gathers to remember the person and work of Dr. Beyers Naudé. We normally do this in person and invite a speaker to present a lecture on an aspect of Dr. Naudé's legacy and witness. However, since we are currently in the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa we cannot meet in person. </p><p>So, we asked Prof Nico Koopman, the Chair of the Management Committee of the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology to share a message with us on this 105th Anniversary of the Birth of Beyers Naudé.<br></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify"><iframe width="875" height="492" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HmVyn4n-9eQ" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><p><br><br></p>
International Bonhoeffer Congress January 2020https://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>
Engaging "radical economic transformation" and land ownership in South Africahttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5601Engaging "radical economic transformation" and land ownership in South AfricaMarita Snyman<p>​The Faculty of Theology commemorated the beginning of theological education in Stellenbosch when the first classes were conducted on 3<sup> </sup>November 1859. The BNC facilitated a short but rigorous discussion of a topic that is relevant for our society as a whole and that will assist in focusing, challenging and informing the Faculty's Public Theology. Keynote speakers included Ms Bokang Mpeta, lecturer in Economics, Stellenbosch University and Dr Aninka Claassens, Director: Land and Accountability Research Centre, University of Cape Town.<br><br></p><p>Photo: Dr Dion Forster; Dr Aninka Claassens; Ms Bokang Mpeta; Prof Reggie Nel; Prof Hendrik Bosman<br></p>
Memorial service for Prof Plaatjies-Van Huffel on 29 Mayhttps://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>
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>