Scielo RSS <![CDATA[HTS Theological Studies]]> vol. 78 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Formulating a biblical teaching on sex for Nigerian Christian couples: A study of 1 Corinthians 7:1-5</b>]]> The issue of sexual relations between spouses is a major cause of broken homes in Nigeria and Christian couples are not an exception. People believe that a large percentage of broken homes have the root of their problem traced to sex. The preponderance of broken homes (and homes under tension of crises) notwithstanding, most studies in this area have been from the socio-scientific and medical cum psychological point of view and many more have focused on teenagers and young people to the exclusion of married couples that need healing in this regard. This article is aimed at bringing out biblical instruction concerning the issue of sex that could help to restore peace to many homes at the verge of breaking down. The focal passage is 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, which was Paul's instructions to the Corinthian church when they faced a similar problem. This article is an exegetical analysis of the passage and is read rhetorically (rhetorical analysis examines how a text persuades readers of its point of view) with the Nigerian situation in mind. It concludes that sex must be enjoyed within the ambits of marriage and within this ambit, the only reason for abstinence is mutual agreement for the purpose of prayer. CONTRIBUTION: The article upholds gender equality in initiating and enjoying sex and rejects looking down on women who request sex. It also calls for the eradication of female genital mutilation, a tradition based on making women not enjoy sex. <![CDATA[<b>Re-examining John 13:1-17 in the context of Nigerian political leadership</b>]]> John 13:1-17 presents a style of leadership that is quite different from the traditional understanding and practice of leadership. This model of leadership in John's Gospel is manifested in Jesus' symbolic example of servant leadership, also known as the feet-washing. Feet-washing, generally the responsibility of servants, was seen as a degrading job that even the disciples could not do for their own leader. For Jesus, however, feet-washing is an illustration of humility, genuine love, and service. This article, therefore, is an attempt to critically examine this symbolic act of leadership in the context of John 13:1-17, and its implication on the development of Nigeria. Using the historical-critical exegetical method of analysis, it was discovered that this symbolic act of leadership by Jesus as presented in Johaninne pericope is a challenge to political leaders in Nigeria today. The hermeneutics of the study showed that Nigerian political leaders have displayed leadership styles that are based on selfishness, tyranny, nepotism, and tribalism that are an impediment to peace, stability, and national development. From the findings above, it is recommended, among others, that Nigerian political leaders should see leadership as an opportunity to serve and not as a do-or-die affair. This will improve the attitude, quality of life and inclusive growth in Nigeria. CONTRIBUTION: This work critically investigates Jesus' exemplary act of servant leadership narrated in John 13:1-17 in juxtaposition with Nigerian political leadership. Such an exegetical work is designed so that the present and upcoming political leaders in Nigeria could learn and emulate Jesus' core qualities, strategies and attitudes that resulted in transforming and improving the lives and well-being of his followers. <![CDATA[<b>Womanism, land and the cross: In memory of Vuyani Vellem</b>]]> Premised by Vuyani Vellem's deep-seated understanding of spirituality and the cross expressed in 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me', the paper explores the paradox of learning to die in order to live, which is a dominant message of the Gospel. The cross that symbolises humiliation, oppression and death, is also the cross that symbolises liberation, life and resurrection. The liberative power of the cross concealed in the establishment/dungeons of oppression and bigotries of racism and sexism, can be located in the institution of the church that has become an establishment that Christ stood against. The paper thus looks at the cross, that is, spirituality in juxtaposition to racism, patriarchy and the establishment/dungeons, and posits that one cannot begin to embrace the cross unless one is also conscious of the darker side of the cross. Excavating spirituality and the cross from the establishment is a statement of critique of ideological frames that have shaped the liberation story or narrative that is indisputably racist and patriarchal. To follow Christ is to embrace a spirituality epitomised and exemplified in struggles against the bigotry of racism and patriarchy, and it is to embrace a spirituality that enables one to learn to die in order to live. CONTRIBUTION: This paper on womanism, land and the cross that attempts to deal with paradoxes, at epistemological, cultural and metaphysical levels, engages the work of the late Prof Vuyani Vellem whose life and scholarship was embedded in paradoxes in the quest for the liberation of black humanity <![CDATA[<b>Legacies and pitfalls amongst the African Evangelicals: A Kenyan experience from a historical perspective</b>]]> The research study sets out to explore the contribution of the African Evangelicals in both the colonial and post-colonial Kenya to the social lives of the nation. Can't it be viewed as a positive social influence or an ecclesiastical pitfall? In utilising a socio-historical design, it poses the question: how did the Evangelical European Missionaries demonstrate their theological and social influences in Kenya, and how did the post-missionary Evangelical-leaning leaderships play out? And was Muthirigu Dance an extremist reaction against the rigidity of the Evangelicals? Methodologically, this article will attempt to explore the Evangelical European Missionary Christianity, especially the Church Missionary Society that entered Central Kenya in the early 1900s, and assess the way in which they handled indigenous cultures of the local Africans. It has also attempted to critically explore their social influences in both colonial and post-colonial Kenya (1895-2021). The CMS has been given more emphasis in this article as an Evangelical society so as to help in bringing out the specific Evangelical activities in the Kirinyaga County of Kenya. Overall, the article has endeavoured to hypothesise that Eurocentrism was not the Evangelical problem, as there were diverse European missionaries, such as the High Anglican Church, the Roman Catholic and the Lutherans who were non-Evangelicals, and who were not necessarily dogmatic and rigid. CONTRIBUTION: This study adhered to the HTS journal's vision and scope by its focus on the histories of the Evangelical European Missionaries of the 19th and 20th centuries, their interactions with the local religio-cultures, and how it later played out amongst the Africans. <![CDATA[<b>Njega wa Gioko and the European missionaries in the colonial Kenya: A theo-historical recollection and reflection</b>]]> Njega wa Gioko (1865-1948) was one of the pioneer Chiefs in Kirinyaga county of Kenya. The other pioneer Chief in Kirinyaga county was Gutu wa Kibetu (1860-1927) who reigned in the Eastern part of Kirinyaga county. Gioko reigned in the western part of Kirinyaga county (Ndia) that extended to some geographical parts of the present-day Nyeri county and the present-day Embu county. Njega also became the first paramount Chief of Embu district, which refers to the present-day Embu and Kirinyaga counties. As colonial hegemony and the protestant missionary enterprises, and its resultant evangelical theology, began to shape up in the present-day Kirinyaga county and the surrounding areas between 1904 and 1906, it found Gioko and Kibetu as the Athamaki (the most revered leaders). The evangelical European missionaries (Church Missionary Society [CMS]) who were comfortable with the colonial expansion, as it provided western governance structures that favoured their enterprises, employed Calvinistic theology in their dealings with the colonial government, and they dealt with the local leaders (Athamaki), who were eventually 'promoted' to the post of Chiefs in 1908 by the new rulers. Nevertheless, the missionary's emphasis on unrealised eschatology (future concerns) differed sharply with those of Athamaki who were the custodians of African indigenous religion and its resultant emphasis on realised eschatology (present concerns). As an agent of African religion, how did Gioko relate with the early 20th-century evangelical European missionaries and their Calvinistic tendencies that favoured the Church-State relationship as the way of God? The data for this research article are gathered through oral interviews, archival sources and extensive review of the relevant literature. CONTRIBUTION: This article contributes to the journal's vision and scope with its focus on the early protestant theologies of the European Missionaries of the 19th and 20th centuries, and their resultant clashes with the theologies of African indigenous religion. As a multidisciplinary article that builds on a theo-historical design, the article contributes to the ongoing discourses on gospel and culture <![CDATA[<b>Ability within disability: Reflective memories shared with Dr Kasturi Varley</b>]]> In a post-apartheid South Africa, the value of reflective memories and their impact on community history gives credibility to their relationship with personal struggles such as disability, be it physical or political. Shaped by South African Indian heritage, an isolated individualised case of a second-generation descendant's ability-disability experience is researched and narrated in this article. The respondent, Dr Kasturi Varley is a woman of the South African Indian community, who was born almost 101 years after the first shipload of Indian indentured labourers arrived in the then Colony of Natal. Her memories shed light on a unique Indo-African-European experience. Her indentured paternal grandfather arrived in the African continent in August 1900. Her reflective memories and shared experiences of various episodes of the ability-disability paradigm add to the body of knowledge of the Indian indentured labour system that already exists and partially fills up the prevalent gaps in the research on this topic. Her story is unique in that she worked wheelchair-bound at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria and subsequently settled in the United Kingdom. This study applied a qualitative research methodology. CONTRIBUTION: This article provides insight on reflective memories within the domain of social memory and contributes to an understanding of the historiography of the descendants of Indian indentured labourers in South Africa. In 2020, this community commemorated the 160th anniversary of the arrival of the labourers to the Colony of Natal <![CDATA[<b>Intercultural criticism of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-20)</b>]]> The text of Ephesians 6:10-20 reframes the sectors of what we know as 'spiritual warfare' to tackle demons that menace and disturb people's daily life. Reading this text from an African perspective helps to understand the text as well as believers in Africa to efficiently use the proposed weapons. CONTRIBUTION: An approach such as an intercultural criticism with the aid of a four-legged stool model in this research proved to be appropriate <![CDATA[<b>White responses to Black Theology: Revisiting a typology</b>]]> This article reflects on a threefold typology of white responses to Black Theology (rejection-sympathy-solidarity) which I used in my doctoral thesis (1988). This article, which is dedicated to the memory of Vuyani Vellem, shows how the typology was used by him in a publication. It then points out a number of inadequacies in the typology and places it in a framework of encounters between the praxis of a Black Theology of Liberation (BTL) and a liberating white praxis (LWP). It uses a seven-dimensional 'praxis matrix' to explore such encounters, which happen along with an encounter with the praxis of the poor and the praxis of God. Since a typology of white praxes remains useful, an expanded six-fold typology is suggested to replace the previous one. CONTRIBUTION: The contribution of this article is to deepen reflection on the dynamics of interaction between white theologians and a BTL <![CDATA[<b>The upsurge of rape during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria and its effects on survivors</b>]]> As one of the global measures for containing the spread of the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Nigerian government imposed a total lockdown from 30 March 2020 to 15 May 2020. This exposed a lot of women and children to a greater level of sexual violence such as rape, which has persisted even before COVID-19. On 14 July 2020, the Nigerian Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Pauline Tallen, reportedly said that over 3600 rape cases were recorded across Nigeria during the lockdown. The sudden rise in cases of rape in the country calls for urgent attention. The article explores the effects of rape during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria using expository and phenomenological designs. It used data obtained from: (1) articles and commentaries on the websites of various newspapers in Nigeria, (2) existing works and (3) interviews with women and girls who were either survivors or connected to the victims of rape during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria. The findings corroborate the notion that rape, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown, is a very traumatic experience that has negative effects on the survivors in a physical, psychological and sociological way. The data also indicate that the upsurge of rape incidences in Nigeria is an epidemic that should also be treated as a public health emergency. CONTRIBUTION: This research revealed diverse health and safety approaches that should be adopted to mitigate further escalation of rape, which includes enforcement of anti-sexual harassment bills, intensified orientation and awareness through campaigns <![CDATA[<b>Who gets what? Assessing the reincarnation debate</b>]]> Reincarnation is a death-specific and forward-looking philosophico-religious phenomenon that enjoys a cross-cultural appeal. It represents the theory that when the soul separates from the body at death, it informs another body for another round of earthly life. The debate on reincarnation has, so far, revolved around the reality or otherwise of reincarnation and the associated claims. In this article, we undertake a holistic and critical examination and appraisal of the key arguments underlying the reincarnation debate, with emphasis on the nature and structure of reincarnation, as well as the value of reincarnation belief. The aim is to determine who gets what among the contending parties. Although oral interviews were involved in the exercise, textual and doctrinal analysis of extant literatures on reincarnation formed the predominant source of data for the research. Our finding reveals that although the phenomenon of reincarnation is bedeviled by internal contradictions and belief in it hardly justifiable, belief in it has some positive values, including coping and unifying values that could be harnessed for the well-being of people and society. These observed values of reincarnation and the attendant belief in it, the article concludes, do not constitute a conclusive proof of the reality of reincarnation. CONTRIBUTION: The contributive value of this paper lies in bringing to the fore the fact that contrary to popular assumption, the notion of belief is in reality, epistemically more powerful than knowledge, at least in the context of religion. Considering that HTS Theological Studies focuses on religious issues and that 'belief' and 'knowledge' are religious concepts, we consider this paper to be suitable to its objectives <![CDATA[<b>Environmental determinant of religious names: </b><b>A study of <i>U</i></b><i><b>́</b><b>gwu</b><b>́</b></i><b> and naming among the Nsukka-Igbo people of Nigeria</b>]]> This article makes a contribution towards understanding the correlation between Úgwú (hill or mountain) and personal names among the Igbo people of Nigeria. Sacralisation of the natural environment which include hills or mountains is a belief that cuts across religions. Among the Igbo, the perceived sacred value placed on such natural environment prompted a series of socio-cultural changes. Personal names are usually drawn from deified entities such as the earth, sun, rivers, and so on. Studies on Igbo personal names portrayed the environmental determinant for personal names in different Igbo-subcultures. However, the pattern of Nsukka-Igbo names, influenced specifically by Úgwú has hardly gotten any scholarly attention. This study, therefore, provided evidence that Úgwú is the single most environmental element that shaped the culture of naming among the Nsukka-Igbo people with its psycho-social and economic implications. Drawing from the theory of sacralisation, which stresses on placing religious values on objects, this article showed that the deified Úgwú environment influenced an unprecedented frequency and exclusive nature of Úgwú personal names in the study area. Documentary research, observation and interview methods were used to collect and analyse secondary, as well as primary data for this study. The article drew attention to the increasing influence of Úgwú on personal names in Nsukka-Igbo, and its effects which include the conservation of the environment occasioned by the deification of Úgwú. CONTRIBUTION: This article shows that the deification of natural environment of Úgwú influenced the increasing frequency of Úgwú personal names and its associated variants among the Nsukka-Igbo people of Nigeria <![CDATA[<b>1 Timothy 6:6-14 and materialism amongst Nigerian Christian youths</b>]]> Increasing involvement of Nigerian youths in cybercrime and fraud, ritual activities, prostitution, human and drug trafficking, kidnapping, robbery and hired killings reveal the growing materialism of a significant number of Nigerian youths, including uncountable numbers of professed Nigerian Christian youths. There is the need to address materialism amongst Nigerian youths with special reference to Nigerian Christian youths. Paul's moral instructions to Timothy are still relevant for Nigerian Christian youths to emulate. Therefore, this study employs a redaction critical method of biblical exegesis to interpret and apply 1 Timothy 6:6-14 to the problem of materialism amongst Nigerian Christian youths. This study finds that materialism amongst Nigerian Christian youths is consolidating negative implications to their spiritual lives, families, to the mission mandate of the church and to Nigeria as a nation. This study argues that Paul has shown a model of how a Christian youth ought to be guided with regard to material possessions. CONTRIBUTION: This study explored the issue of materialism amongst countless Nigerian Christian youths that is consolidating negative implications to their spiritual lives, families, to the church and to Nigeria as a nation. The study recommends that Paul's instructions to Timothy about godliness and love of money are still relevant for Nigeria Christian youths to emulate <![CDATA[<b>Taking stock of oral history archives in a village in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa: Are preservation and publishing feasible?</b>]]> In South Africa, the way oral history archives of rural villagers are managed calls for attention as it can limit the inclusivity, visibility, accessibility and socio-economic development of rural communities, especially the younger generation. This article reports on a study that aimed to unpack some of the opportunities and challenges regarding the preservation and publishing of oral history archives faced by a village community in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province. In addition, the study aimed to determine what the community knew about the South African legislative requirements regarding the management of oral history archives. The study adopted a qualitative research approach, grounded theory design and a constructivist paradigm. The postmodernist theory helped in gaining insight into how the principle of provenance is central when trying to understand the importance of inclusivity in the management of archives in this digital era. The 21st century is haunted by many socio-economic challenges such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), poverty, unemployment, inequality and social exclusion and giving space to the long-neglected oral history archives and counter archives or identity archives cannot be over-emphasised. In this context, such an initiative is viewed as critical in curbing the scourges of inequality, social exclusion and unemployment, particularly among the younger generation. CONTRIBUTION: This article calls for the reimagining of the way oral history archives of a village are managed, preserved and published. In doing so, the use of a postmodernist approach and the provenance principle are viewed as critical in helping promote inclusivity and visibility of the long-neglected archives. The article argues that this approach may also help improve some of the socio-economic challenges faced by a village community when managing their oral history archives <![CDATA[<b>Neither prelegal nor nonlegal: Oral memory in troubled times</b>]]> Oral testimony, oral tradition and documents, as represented by written accounts of the facts and the material instruments of the acts and the records, are all ways of indirectly accessing the past. In both cases of oral and written records, what is considered 'true' is entirely dependent on the trustworthiness of its source. African societies have been communicating and storing valuable information through memory, murals and rock art paintings since time immemorial. The dominant Western canons have previously classified this memory as prelegal and nonlegal. This study, using a literature review, mainly through previous work of this author, explores oral memory as a trusted record in troubled times. It is concluded that, like digital records, oral memory requires proactive efforts to be preserved, as in both instances the content migrates from one carrier to another. Therefore, oral memory is trustworthy when transmitted in its context. Oral memory, it is argued, perfectly fits the description of a record and thus cannot be classified as either prelegal or nonlegal. The transmitter of information through oral history is no different from other media of records. CONTRIBUTION: The study contributes to the ongoing academic discourse of decolonising and Africanising archives. The study is linked to the scope of the journal for advocating the inclusion of silenced voices into the national archival system <![CDATA[<b>Witchcraft and witchcraft-related violence in AmaZizi chiefdom of kwaZangashe, Eastern Cape</b>]]> This article explores witchcraft-related violence against elderly women in the AmaZizi chiefdom of kwaZangashe in Eastern Cape, South Africa. The potential causes that have promoted such violence form the central subject of the study. The study includes a research design that combines questionnaires, focus groups and follow-on interviews. The findings have revealed a prevalence of witchcraft beliefs in the region and have pointed to elderly women as the likely victims of witchcraft violence. This has resulted in AmaZizi's elderly women being socially isolated, verbally abused and at risk of physical violence and even murder. This study concludes with several interventions organised to combat future witchcraft-related violence and to support the elderly women in the chiefdom. CONTRIBUTION: By giving voice to the lives and stories of a community of people rendered invisible in the wider public sphere, this article introduces accounts on witchcraft and healthcare that might otherwise have gone unarticulated <![CDATA[<b>Research ethics to consider when collecting oral histories in wilderness areas such as the Kruger National Park</b>]]> In the last half century, oral history has emerged as a historical approach that is being considered by archivists involved with the collection and accessibility of archival collections for researchers and interested members of the public. The approach to ethics by oral historians has emerged from two major fears: the fear of failing as researchers and the fear of failing the narrators and doing harm. Archivists also need to be cognisant of these fears when collecting oral history. Confronting these fears makes it possible to understand the complex questions behind oral historians' and archivists' preoccupations and sheds light on how oral history has evolved and expanded as a field. The research objectives of this article are to determine the three principles identified from the Belmont Report that relate and should be applied to the collection of oral histories by archivists and historians from communities and individuals residing and working in and alongside the Kruger National Park. The theoretical framework for this article is the critical race theory to address historical accounts from communities and individuals sidelined by the mainstream media in South Africa. For the purposes of this article, the study was conducted with the Makuleka and Tsonga communities to determine what ethical implications need to be respected when conducting oral history projects with communities. CONTRIBUTION: This article will contribute to ethics concerning social sciences and specifically the collection of oral history <![CDATA[<b>The spiritual experiences of women victims of gender-based violence: A case study of Thohoyandou</b>]]> This article reports on interviews conducted with 11 women at the Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme (TVEP), a centre located in Sibasa, Thohoyandou, in the Limpopo province of South Africa. The centre provides support and advocacy to female survivors of domestic violence. The participants were victims of gender-based violence and the study aimed at exploring the spiritual experiences of women assaulted by their partners. Interviews were conducted over 4 days and were held on the TVEP premises. This article discusses how women of faith found meaning and support through their religious beliefs when experiencing violence in intimate spaces. Furthermore, the article drew insights from spiritual perceptions held by women that make them feel safer and assist them to find ways to cope with violence in intimate relationships. However, the study found that women prayed for divine intervention and change in their families and for God to help their husbands by removing all evil spirits from their lives. It was found that apart from prayer, the women do not have any other spiritual resources to combat gender-based violence. The authors suggest the deconstruction of harmful religious discourses (such as 'God has made man to rule over woman') towards healing religious discourses (such as 'all people are equal in God's eyes') as a type of 'intervention' in the lives of the interviewees. CONTRIBUTION: The article contributes towards understanding the harmful impact of religious discourses on the lives of women who are vulnerable towards domestic violence. Religious discourses that are either harmful or healing are here identified through the stories of women who have been violated in their intimate relationships, thus contributing to the body of knowledge in gender studies and to religious and social sciences in general <![CDATA[<b>Divorce amongst Christian couples in Yoruba land: Challenges and implications</b>]]> Divorce amongst married couples is a disturbing phenomenon amongst the Yoruba people of southern Nigeria. Unfortunately, the church in Yoruba land, which has focused much of its teachings on financial prosperity, has started facing the consequences of these lopsided teachings. Using a phenomenological approach, this study argues that the lack of sexual satisfaction (such as sexual starvation), poverty, activities of fake pastors, infidelity and lies from any of the partners are the major causes of increasing divorce rates amongst Yoruba Christians. Existing literature has not adequately addressed the issue of divorce amongst Yoruba Christians. This study explores the growing divorce rates from the lens of Yoruba Christians and how it impacts on the family, children and the church at large. As part of this recommendation, church leadership should start organising marriage seminars for married couples where they are taught a nonviolent approach to conflict resolution in the family. CONTRIBUTION: This study indicates that the activities of some churches and their leaders indirectly support divorce, and the consequence is mostly felt by the children. This study argues that divorce is not supported by the church in Yoruba land. The study implicated practical theology. <![CDATA[<b>Domestic workers in Nigerian Christian families: A socio-rhetorical reading of Ephesians 6:5-9</b>]]> The erosion of traditional work roles which had been male biased has led to the increase of women in the workplace. Although a welcomed development, it has an attendant problem - a vacuum in the homestead. Consequently, families are filling this vacuum by employing various hands (houseboys and girls, maids and nannies) to handle the house chores in the absence of parents. Being part of the society and mostly affected by female personnel (as Islamic conservativeness is reducing female personnel), many Christian parents are now faced with the issue of relating properly with their 'servants' and vice versa. In fact, there are many cases of maltreatment of these helps and pampering their own children while the helps are overstretched, on the one hand, and cases of outrageous and negative behaviours on the part of the 'servants'. This article is aimed at giving a biblical guideline on domestic workers and masters relationship via a socio-rhetorical reading of Ephesians 6:5-9. It examines the Graeco-Roman household codes between servants and masters and provides a comparative analysis of these ethical codes with the Nigerian situation to emphasise the contemporary relevance of the passage. CONTRIBUTIONS: The article holds that rather than being treated as domestic workers, these servants should be treated as part of the family. They should be sent to school, properly clothed, and fed and treated equally with the children of the home. They are human beings created and loved by God before whom we are all equals. <![CDATA[<b>Πάτερ</b><b>, </b><b>ημων</b><b>ο</b><b>εν</b><b>τοῖς</b><b>οὐρανοῖς</b><b></b><b> (Mt 6:9a): Reading the Lord's Prayer with insight from Ewe cosmology</b>]]> This article seeks to interpret the phrase Πάτερ, ημων ο εν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς in the invocation of the Lord's Prayer in the light of Ewe-Ghanaian cosmology. The article employs a combination of the historical-critical and indigenous mother tongue biblical hermeneutical approaches to explore the implication of the invocation for Ewe-Ghanaian Christian spirituality today. The article firstly discusses the various theological and hermeneutical positions of the invocation in dialogue with Ewe-Ghanaian concept of God and the plurality of his dwelling place. The article argues that Matthew's use of οὐρανοῖς to suggest a plurality in God's dwelling place resonates with Ewe cosmology, where it is believed that there are seven states of existence and that Mawug√£, the Supreme Being, dwells in the first - the absolute state. Thus God exists in 'seven heavens' in Ewe cosmology, with the highest heaven being the eternal state of abode. On the other hand, the inclusive interpretation of the fatherhood of God in Ewe cosmology is discontinuous with the exclusive interpretation in the works of the church fathers such as Cyprian, Origen, Gregory of Nissa, Augustine and Clement of Alexandria. This hermeneutical position, the article observes, was responsible for the theological tensions that characterised the encounter between missionary Christianity and Ewe indigenous religion in the middle of the 19th century. However, the introduction of social services as evangelisation strategy, the legacy of the Ewe Bible and liturgy and the handing over of the Ewe church to the indigenous coworkers may have contributed to a large extent in ensuring religious tolerance among followers of the two religions. Today, Ewe-Ghanaian popular Christianity has shifted from its apologetic stance to a more liberal stance and employs indigenous religious and cultural categories in theologising. CONTRIBUTION: Matthew's rendition of the invocation of the Lord's Prayer in the context of Ewe-Ghanaian cosmology is the focus of this article. The article forms part of the researcher's contribution to the academic knowledge on the Lord's Prayer and inspires the use of mother tongue biblical hermeneutics in the development of theological materials for the Ewe-Ghanaian Christian communities in Ghana and Togo <![CDATA[<b>Πάτερ</b><b>ἡμῶν</b><b></b><b> (Our Father) in Matthew 6:9: Reconstructing and negotiating a Christian identity in the 1st century CE</b>]]> To the question of why Matthew includes the phrase Πάτερ ἡμῶν (Our Father) in his version of the Lord's Prayer, scholars guided by different theories answer this question differently. Employing literary criticism ranging from form, source and tradition history to reader-audience response and socio-rhetorical interpretation, scholars contend that Matthew composed the concept Πάτερ ἡμῶν (Our Father) as a crucial segment of his version of the Lord's Prayer, either to present an opposition between Father who dwells in heaven and the Earth, which is humanity's dwelling place, or to evoke a community relationship to God in the context of welcoming God's rule, or to present the Lord's Prayer as God's gift for creating order, community and transformation in society. In view of this inconsistent conception of the function of Matthew's concept 'Our Father', the goal of this study is to employ semantic analysis and social identity theory (SIT) to analyse Matthew 6:9 to defend the argument that Matthew employed the concept Πάτερ ἡμῶν in the 1st century CE firstly to reconstruct the Christian identity of his community by identifying with the early Christian community and accommodating Jewish traditions and then to negotiate it by contesting the Roman Empire. CONTRIBUTION: The interdisciplinary contribution of the study in tandem with the expectations of HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies has been attained through the application of a collective SIT prism of identification, accommodation and contestation to read the social function of Matthew's concept Πάτερ ἡμῶν in reconstructing and negotiating the identity of his community in 1st century Roman society <![CDATA[<b>Examining the autonomy of Zulu Ingoma from the 1930s to present: Image or authentic experience?</b>]]> It is prudent to highlight that Ingoma has played an essential role in the transformation of amaZulu. The Ingoma's story is of dramatic socioeconomic changes in Zulu society after the final 'downfall' of the independent kingdom. It is the decade in which amaZulu entered the migrant labour system in greater proportions than ever before. As expected from any African society, the narrative for this decade could well be expressed in music, song, dance and some other forms of performances, which could be collectively called Ingoma. Sentiments arose around this period in the history of Zulu Ingoma, whereby some felt it as negative, while others saw it as positive. As such, this article set out to examine the story of Ingoma during the decade between 1929 and 1939. This article adopted an ethnomethodological approach within an interpretive paradigm to understand the impact of Ingoma musical and/or dance performance tradition. The results of this article reveal that Ingoma musical and/or dance performance traditions of the 1920s and 1930s represented the less continuity of precolonial musical and/or dance performance traditions of amaZulu expressions of power and warfare than the complex interaction of dance traditions, labour migration and missionisation. This article concludes by affirming that people continuously construct their cultures to reflect their identities. These results imply two things: firstly, amaZulu migrants were not just passive recipients of cultural changes at that time, and secondly, they were consciously responsible for the transformation of Ingoma dance songs as they reflected on the socioeconomic changes they found themselves in. CONTRIBUTION: This study contributes by establishing the factual impact of this transformative period on Ingoma musical and/or dance performance tradition and on the broader cultural expression of amaZulu as a society in developing South Africa <![CDATA[<b>Memory, orality and 'God-talk' in sub-Saharan Africa</b>]]> The indigenous people of sub-Saharan Africa approach their Supreme Being and express their reverence in diverse ways, as depicted in the different local names that describe this supernatural being. The African cultural worldview foregrounds that virtuous rapport with the Supreme Being provides wisdom and facilitates good cohabitation among humans. It is argued in this article that teachings from the Christian Bible contribute negatively to the disintegration, fragmentation and death of indigenous knowledge systems, which include African cultural values, memory and oral traditions. Recently, some African scholars have begun to create awareness of some of Africa's lost treasures. However, such contributions are disappointingly few. This study argues that memory and orality among Africans should be promoted and supported through various platforms, such as academic writing. This article will discuss memory, orality and 'God-talk' in terms of the following: teachings on moral values (e.g. relationships, marriage, humaneness [ubuntu or hunhu]) and the preservation of cultural heritage. The discussion uses qualitative analysis of secondary data and personal observation. CONTRIBUTION: Firstly, the present study will provide for the readership in general, and academia in particular, a new perspective on African customs and indigenous belief systems about a Supreme Being. For example, Musiki as a Shona local dialect name for 'God' was already in use before the emergence of Christianity in Southern Africa. Secondly, previous contributions have not sufficiently explored memory and orality. This investigation serves as a resource or starting point for further research on memory and orality <![CDATA[<b>Challenges presented by digitisation of VhaVenda oral tradition: An African indigenous knowledge systems perspective</b>]]> The 21st century has witnessed an urgent need to digitise, learn, manage, preserve and exchange oral history in South Africa. This forms the background of the demonisation of indigenous knowledge systems that has impacted negatively and eroded the African values, norms, purpose, growth, sustainability and improvement of indigenous communities. In light of this realisation, this article explores the challenges offered by digitisation of VhaVenda oral history. It is well known that the digitisation of oral tradition carries both the good and the bad. Journalists, academics and archivists of oral history cannot become spectators and allow challenges to stop them from collecting, recording and managing valuable heritages. The article is premised upon the Sankofa and critical theory frameworks. An Afrocentric participatory and exploratory qualitative research design was employed to investigate the data. VhaVenda knowledge holders, journalists, academics, and archivists' views were solicited using semistructured interviews. Participants were selected using purposive sampling. The article's findings unveiled that the digitisation of VhaVenda oral tradition has been an acute daily agony because of the following thorny issues: language issues, methodological challenges, sponsorship and the politics of preferring. Because the country faces the danger of losing out on gaining the benefits of VhaVenda oral history, the authors encourage and promote a holistic approach embracing multiple stakeholders to overcome the challenges faced in digitising the VhaVenda oral tradition. CONTRIBUTION: The study advocates for the balancing of ancient traditional forms and relating them to present technology so that oral history trajectories march into the future, grounded in Afrocentric expressions whilst maintaining flexibility to accommodate the versatile nature of culture by embracing technology <![CDATA[<b>Ethnicity and conflict resolution in Luke 10:29-37 from an African perspective</b>]]> This article seeks to examine the debilitating issue of ethnicity and conflict which is so prevalent in Africa with particular focus on Cameroon. Many situations of ethnicity and conflict have disrupted the unity of many communities in Africa. As Jesus equally lived in an agonistic society of stratification and class differences wherein the question of neighbourliness was a matter of endless discussion, Luke 10:29-37 is approached from an African perspective to verify what ethnicity and conflict meant to Jesus' listeners in their 1st-century Mediterranean context and what it meant to Africans in their own context. The article contends that the continued resurgence of disputes over religious differences, a sense of belonging and cultural prejudice, inter alia are some of the consequential factors that breed ethnic conflicts in Cameroon. This article argues that to overcome these impediments, capacity prevention and conflict resolution should be strengthened through dialogue, mediation and arbitration with particular attention on the African values of love and compassion. Jesus' method of conflict resolution was to show love and compassion, even to the enemy; thus He commissioned all to do the same, 'Go and do likewise' (Lk 10:37). The article concludes that if dialogue is considered and implemented, sustainable ethnic conflict resolution will be enhanced in Africa and the Cameroonian society. CONTRIBUTION: This article highlights the relationship between ethnicity and conflict in Africa. Reading Luke 10:29-37 through the lenses of the African values of love and compassion, the article proposes that ethnic conflict can be overcome through dialogue, mediation and arbitration. The article thus contributes to the possible resolution of ethnic conflict in Africa and especially in Cameroonian society <![CDATA[<b>Oneness in John 17:1-26 as a paradigm for wider ecumenism and dialogue</b>]]> This article re-reads John 17:1-26 with a focus on the theme of oneness within the micronarrative. A multilayered and polyvalent analysis of the text reveals that the theme of oneness holds the prayer together to suggest a new way forward for the Johannine community. The vision and the missio-praxis expressed in the prayer align the thought patterns of Jesus, the narrator, and the community of John. The interactions and the resultant wider perichōrētic relationships between Father and Jesus, Jesus and believers, Father and believers, believer(s) and believer(s), Father-Jesus-believers and Paraklētos and Father-Son-Paraklētos-believers and the World exist as a paradigm for today's ecclesiastical bodies and theological institutions and organisations for wider ecumenism and dialogue. CONTRIBUTION: This article discusses the theme of oneness in John 17:1-26 as a paradigm for wider ecumenism and dialogue. As HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies emphasises biblical, ecumenical and dialogical engagements in theological discussions, this article fits well within the scope of the journal. <![CDATA[<b>Transcending invisible lanes through inclusion of athletics memories in archival systems in South Africa</b>]]> In countries like South Africa, sports have the power to transcend invisible lanes of politics and race and thus inspire citizens to come together. Sport, including athletics, has been demonstrated as an instrument of solidarity of fragmented cultures. However, while sport is of such significance, it is still minimally represented in public archival holdings in South Africa. Despite the mandate to transform the archival system, evidence suggests that much of the memories of sports heroes, especially that of athletes, have not been recorded. This qualitative study utilised oral history as a research method to explore the feasibility of building inclusive archives through the collection of sports memories. Athlete participants were identified through snowball sampling and data were collected using both oral testimony interviews from athletes with first-hand information and oral tradition augmented through document analysis. The results of the study indicated that there are stories and memories of many great South African distance runners that must be told and included in the archive repositories. Sadly, these stories have not been recorded in written words, as there is a tendency to perpetuate elitism by documenting mostly oral history of prominent members of society with political power. The study revealed that most of athletes' memories from their running careers include certificates, trophies, medals, Springbok jerseys, newspaper clippings and pictures in their possession. It is concluded that until these sports archives and objects are considered as an important and unique element of South African history, they will forever be lost. CONTRIBUTION: This study makes a contribution to the ongoing discourse of building inclusive archives in South Africa through the collection of athletics memories. The study is linked to the scope of the journal through propagating the inclusion of marginalised voices of athletics sports memories in mainstream archives <![CDATA[<b>A white theologian learning how to <i>fall upward</i></b>]]> As a theologian coming from Europe, a 'postcolonial import' into South Africa, it is my white privilege in particular that continues to queer my understanding of a social revolution on which our future, as a people, may depend. In this article, I seek to turn my personal experience of grappling with my whiteness into the source of my reflection. Drawing inspiration from fallism - a recent student movement that inscribes itself into a larger decolonial 'struggle against the globalised system of racist capitalism' - I ponder what it could mean, in the South African context, for whiteness to fall upward (Rohr). Here, the metaphor of 'falling upward' as a kenosis of whiteness is considered specifically with regard to a white theologian's (my own) attempt to open spaces that could be filled with blackness. CONTRIBUTION: This auto-ethnographic essay inscribes itself into a transdisciplinary study of theology and race from both socio-cultural and religiospiritual perspectives. The author's personal reflections, inspired by his own engagement with the fallist narratives and his ever-evolving attitude towards the blackness-whiteness binary, as experienced in the South African social and academic contexts, are shared as a means to crack open the societal and theological (notably Christian) imagination, both of which appear to suffer from a serious crisis <![CDATA[<b>The ambivalent impact of COVID-19 on churches</b><b>: </b><b>The case of Nigeria</b>]]> The outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) since November 2019 has increased the challenges of human existence. Before the pandemic there were the issues of insecurity, religious and racial bigotry, climate change, poverty and so forth, which to a large extent have affected humanity negatively. The lockdown, which was introduced as a measure to curb the spread of the virus, exacerbated the anguish of the already tense world. Suddenly, the government proscribed gatherings of people in large numbers, thereby suspending economic, cultural and social activities. The continued increase of the COVID-19 cases necessitated the shutdown of worship centres. It was the first time churches would be shut down in Nigeria. The incident provoked concerns and interests in public discourse and intellectual circles. Therefore, this study examines the effects of COVID-19 on churches, using a historical approach and basically depending on secondary sources from available literature and Internet sources of information. The findings show that it was the lockdown that affected the churches most, rather than the virus. The suspension of corporate worship, sacramental rites, evangelistic outreaches and pastoral visits posed a significant challenge to the churches, affecting members' psychology and leading to a decline in church revenue and an increase in charity services. The study therefore recommends that churches be digitalised and house fellowships be revitalised. CONTRIBUTION: Regardless of the impact the lockdown had on the churches, it conscientised them about the proper use of their personnel and material resources. Nowadays, churches do ministry differently, adapting to changing circumstances and harnessing divergent Christian concepts of faith and divine healing by combining science and faith in health-related theologies <![CDATA[<b>Schreiner family narratives: Written and oral sources in biographical research</b>]]> This article reflects on the research required in biographical studies. The biographical focus is on the role of three generations of the Schreiner family: W.P. Schreiner (one-time Prime Minister of the Cape Colony), Justice O.D. Schreiner (judge of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court) and Professor G.D.L. Schreiner (scientist, academic, liberal and early conceptualiser of alternative models to apartheid). All three were involved in developing, defending and sustaining liberal policies and values in South Africa from the late 19th century until the advent of democracy in 1994. The clarifications and contradictions within and between oral and written sources are examined, and individual cases are discussed in which they are highlighted. The research sources include family papers, official archives, publications and, crucially, oral testimony. The oral testimony includes formal and informal interviews. This study is a contribution to the history of a family, a university and a set of values. It covers a long period in South African history during which colonialism tightened into apartheid, resistance developed and the eventual vision of a democratic South Africa came to fruition. CONTRIBUTION: The primary scientific contribution is the exploration of liberal policies and values in South African political and academic history through the prism of biography. Methodologically, the article discusses possible shortcomings with oral testimony when relied on as a sole source and examines how oral evidence can be utilised in conjunction with research based on archival and published sources to develop a fuller and more nuanced picture in biographical research. <![CDATA[<b>The Indian diaspora, cultural heritage and cultural transformation in the Colony of Natal (1895-1960) during the period of indenture</b>]]> The article chronicles diasporic cultural heritage in Natal during the period of indenture in an Indian community in colonial South Africa. Using the qualitative ethnographic research methodology the focus is on the period 1895-1960. This methodology was chosen as it is a qualitative method where observation and/or interaction has taken place in real-life environments. In this article, the Indian cultural heritage as experienced by Mrs Takurine Mahesh Singh who arrived in Port Natal in 1895 is chronicled through the reflective memories of her South African-born eldest grandson, Mr J.S. Singh (b.1930). Further to this, her life in South Africa is explored as she lived in different worlds through various political systems and this life experience extended to include a cultural transformation. During 1960, the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the indentured Indians to the Colony of Natal was commemorated. Hence, this study considers the period 1895-1960. Moving across continents, the indentured Indians arrived in the Colony to work on the sugar plantations. Cultural heritage may be viewed as a sense of one's subjective self-perception based on one's language, ancestry, values, rituals, traditions and religion. During the political era of colonisation and indenture, the Indian nationals became displaced. This displacement created an intrinsic emotional threat. This emotional threat compromised their cultural heritage and consequently led to other forms of cultural transformation. During the oral history interviews, it emerged that the Indian nationals and their descendants in South Africa did not experience abject deculturalisation as they were able to practise aspects of their cultural heritage without the complete loss of their identity. This is one of the findings of the article. The findings indicate that complete deculturalisation did not take place even though cultural transformations resulted in the Indian diaspora in Natal. CONTRIBUTION: With a unique focus on aspects of cultural heritage in the Indian diaspora, this article contributes to the knowledge of the social memory historiography with a spotlight on descendants of Indian indentured labourers in South Africa. The overarching contribution of this article focusses on the cultural transformation during the period under review.