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

Space, place and ecology: Doing ecofeminist urban theology in Gauteng

Annalet van Schalkwyk
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 70, No 3 | a2767 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2767 | © 2014 Annalet van Schalkwyk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 June 2014 | Published: 20 November 2014

About the author(s)

Annalet van Schalkwyk, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, University of South Africa, South Africa


The basic motivation for this article is to explore the critical, yet hopeful vision which urban theologians – and specifically ecofeminist urban theologians – have for justice, reconciliation and abundance of life in urban Gauteng. This requires that urban spatiality, with its conflicting sides in a rampantly capitalist Gauteng, needs to be understood. It also requires an understanding of how urbanity and ecology may – yet so often do not – overlap. According to ecofeminist theologian Anne Primavesi, space and place needs to be understood in relation to the earth as the body of God – a web of interrelated and interconnected subjects and living beings which constitute the earth with its various ecosystems. This belies the established understanding that space and place is created mostly through the anthropocentric activity and mastery of people. Such an ecological understanding of space, place and urbanity leads to my exploration of a missiology of space as the manifestation of the presence of God in the spaces of nature and human civilisation. I conclude by proposing the practice of urban mission as making the liturgical and sacramental links between ecology, space, and the reclamation of urban space as sacred by Christian and other agents of urban activism.


urban theology; ecofeminist theology; space; place; city; Gauteng; displacement; ecology; marginalised people


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