Original Research - Special Collection: Religion and Theology and Constructions of Earth and Gender

Contextualising Gender and Environmental crises in religious settings: Zimbabwean Women’s experiences at Johanne Masowe WeChishanu Apostolic Churches’ open ground gatherings

Priccilar Vengesai, Linda W. Naicker
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 3 | a8170 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i3.8170 | © 2023 Priccilar Vengesai, Linda Wendy Naicker | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 September 2022 | Published: 30 May 2023

About the author(s)

Priccilar Vengesai, Herbert Chitepo Law School, Great Zimbabwe University, Masvingo, Zimbabwe
Linda W. Naicker, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

The Constitution of Zimbabwe guarantees religious freedoms and freedom of association including for religious purposes. While people can gather for religious purposes, the main thrust of this paper is to investigate and unpack environmental crises caused by Christian gatherings and how women are affected by these environmental crises. The article focuses on the Johanne Masowe WeChishanu Apostolic churches. Environmental rights in terms of the Constitution recognize the need for one to be in a healthy environment. It also imposes an obligation for the non- occurrence of land pollution, land degradation, or destruction of the ecology and the advancement of conservation and ecological sustenance. Through observation, it was established that the Johanne Masowe WeChishanu Apostolic churches hold their church services in an open ground with no ablution facilities and no availability of critical basic resources such as water and medical facilities. The paper contends that the environmental crisis caused by open gatherings affect women and men differently. Equally, the effects of climate change leave women in an unhealthy environment during church gatherings. It is further argued that such consistent gatherings in one place cause environmental degradation and deforestation. Leaning on the feminist social justice theory, this paper advocates consideration of approximately prepared meeting places for the Johanne Masowe WeChishanu Apostolic churches gatherings inclusive of provision of basic ablution and clean water facilities.

Contribution: This article makes a significant contribution to the study of gender in the context of environmental challenges and recommends greater involvement of women in the fight against environmental crises.


Keywords

degradation; gatherings; environmental crisis; religious setting; women’ rights; deforestation; pollution; social justice

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities

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