At the first (and only) major meeting of the International Missionary Council held in Africa, delegates to the Ghana conference of 1958 decided to hold a series of regional consultations on the meaning of mission in an ""ecumenical era."" The dissolution of formal colonialism after the Second World War, combined with the imminent merger of the International Missionary Council into the World Council of Churches, meant that the mission of mainline Protestant churches faced challenging new contexts in the last third of the twentieth century.
Until the 1840s the rate of conversion to Christianity among the Xhosa remained low despite the concerted efforts of Protestant missionaries who settled in Xhosaland, South Africa in the first decade of the nineteenth century. Initially, mission Christianity had little appeal for Xhosaland residents who were still economically and politically independent of the Cape Colony.
In 1841, two as yet unconnected events (only later to be linked by the web of history) took place in South Africa. The first was the arrival of David Livingstone at the beginning of his missionary career in Africa; the second was the opening of the Lovedale educational institution in the Tyumie valley in the Eastern Cape. During the next 33 years these two very different examples of Scottish missionary initiative went their own separate ways. Livingstone became perhaps the most famous of all nineteenth century missionaries to Africa. Lovedale built up a reputation as possibly the best educational institution in Africa south of the equator.
Before the Reverend William Shaw, the Methodist missionary accompanying the 1820 British settlers to South Africa, left for his new position, he was told by the Missionary Society that he had to be married: He had recently ""commenced acquaintance with Miss Ann Maw"" and before he proposed marriage he made a list of the qualities he thought necessary in a good missionary wife.
At least since Mia Brandel-Syrier memorably descriptionbed the female prayer unions or manyanos as ""the oldest, largest and most enduring and cohesive"" of all African organisations in South Africa, the group zeal of African Christian women, right across the various denominations, has increasingly been recognised as a significant indigenous spiritual initiative of long standing.
Theology, in both the academy and the church, is in need of being engendered. Haddad (1997:1) defined the project of engendering theology as ""a need to ensure that all voices are heard - particularly the whispering and silent voices."" This article seeks to amplify the voice of Mina Tembeka Soga (1893-1989), a South African woman who contributed tremendously in the diverse areas of education, social work, and the church over an' extended period of time.
In a previous study (Hodgson 1996:115, 125-128) I identified a wide range of movements and organisations, formal and informal, structured and unstructured, which have evolved over more than a hundred years in the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (CPSA). This creative response of African Anglicans incarnating their faith in a wide range of sociopolitical and cultural contexts exemplifies how inculturation has been part of the historical development of a Christian tradition.
In the early 1990s, I was drawn unwittingly into argument and debate with a growing group of Swiss pastors and theologians, ostensibly over the role of Swiss missionaries and their elationship to the Tsonga. The debate was sparked by an article I published (1993) following two very short popular articles on the same general theme (1991, 1992).
Inculturation may be understood as the emergence of a local church in a place (Bate 1994:100). By a local church we mean the manifestation of the one church of Christ as the community of faith in a particular context. Essential for this emergence are two apparently opposed forces whose dialectical resolution motivates the inculturation process. The first of these forces is the unifying, creative and redemptive power of God seeking the oneness of creation and salvation, so that God may be all in all. The second is the incarnational locus of all creation and salvation which moves the Word to take on flesh in a time, place and culture and the Spirit to take the church to the ends of the earth.
Faith and healing are closely linked, and scholars within the disciples of medicine, epidemiology, psychiatry, anthropology and sociology have produced volumes of material on this linkage. In Zimbabwe, healing has been studied mainly by scholars of sociology, medicine and missiology, who have focused primarily on three health care systems: Traditional medicine (Chavunduka 1978), modem medical praxis (Gelfand 1956), and faith healing in Independent Churches (Daneel 1974). All of these studies assessed the material in relation to the Shona socio-cultural and religious systems, and have resulted in the reappraisal of Traditional medicine by calling for the integration of traditional and western medicine.