Original Research - Special Collection: Urban Public Theology in South Africa

Discerning the role of faith communities in responding to urban youth marginalisation

Reginald W. Nel
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 70, No 3 | a2743 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2743 | © 2014 Reginald W. Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 May 2014 | Published: 20 November 2014

About the author(s)

Reginald W. Nel, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, University of South Africa, South Africa


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Abstract

Urban youth marginalisation became a key consideration in scholarly and policy literature in the 1990s. This entailed a shift from an emphasis on youth in relation to activism in the struggle to overcome colonial racism – popularly known as ‘the struggle against apartheid’ – to an emphasis on youth as the object of social inquiry and social welfare programmes. Irrespective of how we valuate this shift, the question in this article is how urban faith communities and youth ministry research are to respond to the agency of youth as dialogue partners – with a focus on social cohesion. This article explores this shift in scholarship on urban youth movements, especially for the period since 1994. It draws from the perspectives of my recent doctoral studies (Nel 2013) in constructing a creative dialogue with youth movements. The ultimate aim of this article is to provide a grounded basis for constructing a methodology for a postcolonial urban theology. In addition, it aims to inform the ongoing Youth at the Margins (YOMA) comparative study on the contribution of faith-based organisations to social cohesion in South Africa and Nordic Europe, with the Riverlea community, in Johannesburg, as one of the case studies.

Keywords

youth marginalisation; urban missiology; methodology; activism; praxis cycle

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