Sithembiso Samuel Zwane
Sithembiso Zwane, is a lecturer in the Bible and Social Change within biblical studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Southern Africa (ELCSA). He is also the director of the Ujamaa Centre for Biblical and Theological Community Development and Research. His work draws on liberation theology praxis and Contextual Bible Study (CBS) to engage with the socio-economic challenges in the public realm.
David Tombs, Sithembiso Zwane, Charlene van der Walt, “A Contextual Bible Study on the Crucifixion of Jesus: Engaging the issue of male violence against men”
This presentation discusses a new contextual bible study that seeks to open up conversation on the stripping and naked exposure of Jesus (Matthew 27:26-31). This is an outcome from a collaborative partnership between the Ujamaa Community, University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) and the Centre for Theology and Public Issues, University of Otago (Aotearoa New Zealand). The paper presents: (1) an explanation of the principles of Contextual Bible Study and ‘slow reading’ as developed at the Ujamaa Centre; (2) an overview of the questions used in this bible study and the issues they address; (3) initial responses to the use of the bible study with groups in South Africa in 2019 and assessment of its scope for liberative and transformative work within churches and communities.
Sithembiso S. Zwane, “Liberation as Praxis: Structural Poverty and Public Prophetic Theology”
The concept of praxis is one of the fundamental pedagogical contributions of Paulo Freire in the field of education. Praxis as a concept underscore the critical role of reflection and action within the community. It is inconceivable to contemplate genuine liberation without critical reflection and action in the communities affected by structural poverty. The re-emergence of what the Kairos Document (1985) called ‘Çhurch Theology’ in South Africa has severely compromised the meaning of public ‘Prophetic Theology’ as appropriated in the post-colonial dispensation.
Praxis is appropriated by the Ujamaa Centre for Biblical and Theological Community Development and Research in the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) in the College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) as a collaboration between trained readers of the Bible and organic intellectuals in the community. This collaboration creates a conducive environment for Participatory Community Development (PCD).
First, the paper argues that working class communities need liberation from structural poverty manufactured by neo-liberal capitalist economy. Second, the paper argues that the working-class communities need public prophetic liberation theology as a response to structural poverty. Third, the paper argues that liberation from structural poverty through public prophetic theology must include the working-class poor as interlocutors to prevent it from being paternalistic or tokenism