Original Research - Special Collection: Practical Theology

Karoo fracking and the Christian faith community

Gerrit van Tonder, Roger Tucker
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 70, No 2 | a2631 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i2.2631 | © 2014 Gerrit van Tonder, Roger Tucker | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 February 2014 | Published: 13 October 2014

About the author(s)

Gerrit van Tonder, Department of Hydrology, University of the Free State, South Africa
Roger Tucker, Department of Practical Theology, University of the Free State, South Africa


One of the challenges for Practical Theology in Africa is to engage with the continent’s concerns and challenges in such a way that the kingdom of God is realised in society and is seen to be relevant to these issues by people who are outside of academia. In our article, which was first presented at the Practical Theology congress in Pretoria in January 2014, the authors seek to demonstrate how this may be accomplished by applying insights to one concern, namely ‘fracking’. The objective is to mobilise the influential Christian faith community in South Africa to begin to exercise prophetic discernment concerning fracking in the Karoo. The fracking debate is a product of the tension between the environmental degradation that its waste products may cause, on the one hand, and, on the other, the greater energy demands of a rapidly increasing world population along with its expectations of an ever-increasing standard of living. Shale gas fracking in the Karoo region of South Africa promises to make vast reserves of oil and gas available to help meet a significant percentage of the country’s energy needs for many years to come, and so thus aid development and contribute to raising the standard of living of many people. Yet the management of the waste products associated with the process is an area of serious environmental concern. The article aims to apprise the South African Christian faith community of the technology and risks involved. Theological guidelines are presented by which fracking’s benefits and dangers can be interrogated so that the community may come to an informed decision as to whether or not to support fracking.


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