Original Research

Street homelessness in South Africa: A perspective from the Methodist Church of Southern Africa

Noah K. Tenai, Gloria N. Mbewu
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 1 | a5591 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i1.5591 | © 2020 Noah K. Tenai, Gloria N. Mbewu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 May 2019 | Published: 23 January 2020

About the author(s)

Noah K. Tenai, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Gloria N. Mbewu, Methodist Church, Johannesburg, South Africa


Homelessness and its various forms of manifestation are a complex phenomenon. Street homelessness, which is the subject of this study, continues to be a challenge for the South African people and government. Different research studies have been undertaken on street homelessness. Various frameworks have been used in an attempt to understand and respond to street homelessness. Churches continue as key role-players in responses to street homelessness. There is a need, however, for churches to continually evaluate the various approaches to street homelessness, with a view to sharpening those approaches to better understand and respond to the challenge. Churches need frameworks that can help them to theologically understand and adequately respond to street homelessness. Gustafson’s framework of moral engagement is explored within the context of street homelessness, with a view to suggest ways and means by which the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) could better understand and adequately respond to the problem of street homelessness in South Africa.


street homelessness; homelessness; moral discourse; poverty; churches


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