Original Research - Special Collection: Being a Change Agent in a Post-Covid South Africa

Missio hominum as the compassionate response to socio-economic and vaccine challenges during COVID-19 in South Africa

Jonas S. Thinane
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 3 | a6544 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i3.6544 | © 2021 Jonas S. Thinane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 February 2021 | Published: 13 July 2021

About the author(s)

Jonas S. Thinane, Department of Hebrew, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


It is likely that the storm of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in South Africa will calm only when the country attains herd immunity. In South Africa, the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plan will first prioritise key frontline forces, the elderly and those with comorbidities. Although there is some new academic insight on COVID-19 within the context of churches, not much has been written on the role that churches can play in partnership with government towards procuring vaccines for the poor people of South Africa. The contribution towards vaccine procurement by churches is juxtaposed with the proclamation of the year of the Lord’s favour in Luke 4:18–19 and the feeding of 5000 men (excluding women and children) in Matthew 14:13–21, Mark 6:30–44, John 6:1–14 and Luke 9:10–17. This is done against an environment where corruption in the procurement of personal protective equipment, unjust food parcel distribution and subverted relief packages occurred during the hard lockdown of 2020. This article makes use of both missio Dei and missio hominum as its missiological theory in conformity with calls for public health restoration during and after COVID-19. It employs a literature review to support missio Dei and missio hominum as compassion and fundraising for the poor in the face of COVID-19, as exemplified by Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:1–4 and Jesus in Mark 6:8 and Luke 8:1–3.

Contribution: In order to preserve lives that would otherwise be lost whilst waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine, this article entreats all churches of South Africa to launch a nationwide church fundraising effort towards procuring COVID-19 vaccines for the poor following the example of the Solidarity Fund, which was established by President Cyril Ramaphosa as one of the early interventions to cushion the impact of COVID-19.


COVID-19; missio hominum; vaccine; fundraising; personal protective equipment


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Crossref Citations

1. Missio hominum guided by an understanding of Ubuntu for missio Dei: Nico Smith’s discovery
Jonas S. Thinane
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies  vol: 77  issue: 4  year: 2021  
doi: 10.4102/hts.v77i4.7075