The basic premise of this study is that the Church, with it’s prevailing representation and infrastructure, could be an important partner and role-player in existing development strategies and initiatives in especially the rural areas of South Africa. This study focuses on establishing a prima facie case by presenting two case studies from the author’s experience in the field of development, both of which make the positive contribution made by the local Church quite clear The study investigates the mixed, often disappointing results achieved by the prevailing, mainly positivistic, post modern approach to development over the last 50 years. By way of a literature study, some of the main problems and challenges experienced by the positivistic developmental model are analysed, expanding on the shortcoming of present models. It further expounds on how participation by the Church could contribute to the effective development of especially the rural people in South Africa, thereby allowing for a more integrated, community-centred approach. Manfred Max-Neef is considered the father of the community-centred development approach working from the premise that the development of people should be a commitment to value diversity and differences among people. He measures results in terms of nine human scale development indicators to determine whether the needs of people have been met, namely subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation, recreation, creativity, identity, and freedom. Max–Neef has therefore moved away from the positivistic belief that social and natural worlds are sufficiently similar to enable a “universal” approach in terms of development work in different communities. In this context, the study investigates the success of the role of the Church in terms of the case studies measured against five of the human scale indicators, This study aims not only to illuminate the unique role that the Church can play in sustainable development in South Africa, but, more importantly, to inspire it to rise to the challenge of actual participation in such development.
Dissertation (M Inst Agrar)--University of Pretoria, 2006.