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Awareness as a process toward a liberating theology for the women of South-East Zimbabwe.

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This research is a study in systematic theology with strong implications on the biblical doctrine of anthropology for women. Having said this, it needs to be made clear that it was not the intention of this research to deal with the traditional abstract of theology in all its details. The doctrine however is alluded to, from the perspective of African Women's Theology, in that the research builds upon women's experiences, and looks at them in the light of what the researcher sees as God-given dignity for all humanity including women, from the time of creation. It is from this perspective that the researcher approached her synthesis and the basis of such analysis is multi-disciplinary. The people under study are that of the Mashangana (va-Hlengwe) and the (ya-Karangd) who inhabit South-East Zimbabwe. Special emphasis was placed on the situation of women in this area. Chapter 1 presents the motivation for the study, namely, the invisibility of women in positions of leadership responsibilities in the Church and in the public sector. The chapter seeks to investigate the causes of this imbalance and discusses the thesis of this study that women are capable of leading, but are prevented from doing so due to cultural and theological factors. The methodology and theoretical frame of reference used is also discussed in this chapter. Chapter 2 examines briefly the background information about the people under study, and related issues of geography, culture, Christianisation and civilisation. It should however be mentioned that this study has no intention of giving a detailed history of Zimbabwe and its people. Other scholars, including, Ranger, T.O. (1967; 1970); Daneel, M. L. (1971); Murphree, W. M. and Cheater, G. (eds.) (1975); Dachs, J. A. (ed.) (1973) provide adequate information in this regard. This study provides only the basic background on those aspects that are essential for purposes of this present study; consequently, the background that is given is designed to set the stage for a deeper understanding of life in South-East Zimbabwe. Chapter 3 investigates the contribution of Christianity and modernisation in shaping the identity of women. This is done in order to provide a further foundation upon which the interviews with the women and men of South-East Zimbabwe are presented. Chapter 4 begins the analysis of responses from the interviews with the people under study. From this chapter the causes of the problem become identifiable and levels of women's awareness begin to show, as analysis of the responses is undertaken. Chapter 5 continues with the analysis analyses of the responses of the interviews on the effects and influence of Christianity and western civilisation upon women, including, education, political and socio-economics. Chapter 6 is the last of the three chapters that deal specifically with the analysis of the field research, and deals in particular with the responses on the question of leadership, Church and culture as it relates to women. The limited number of women in leadership is brought out in particular from the interviews. Chapter 7 reviews African Women's Theology as a possible instrument of liberation. The goals and aspirations of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians are examined as a means of providing hope for the women of South- East Zimbabwe. Chapter 8 investigates empowerment as a way forward. It discusses the empowerment of women through both Church and society. Suggestions are made as to how empowerment can be implemented. Women themselves are challenged to take action. Chapter 9 is a summary of the entire research and a challenge to the women of South-East Zimbabwe to stand up and boldly claim their humanity and dignity and to exercise their God-given responsibilities.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2006.


Feminist theology--Zimbabwe., Women--Zimbabwe., Gender identity., Christian leadership., Christianity and culture--Zimbabwe., Liberation theology--Zimbabwe., Women in Christianity--Zimbabwe., Women in religion--Zimbabwe., Women in church--Zimbabwe., Theses--Theology.