In the News: Serious Inequalities in the Humanitarian Industry

posted by Cecelia Lynch

The following report and articles detail how the big NGOs, both faith-based and non-faith-based, continue to rake in most humanitarian and development funding to the detriment of national and local organizations. A growing number of observers from different quarters are now criticizing this increasingly institutionalized aspect of the aid architecture, demonstrating its ongoing paternalism and neocolonial characteristics. Continue reading

In the News: MDGs to SDGs – New Goals, Similar Failings?

posted by Cecelia Lynch

Over the next several years, we will certainly hear and read a lot about the “SDGs.” People might understandably ask, “Whatever became of the MDGs?” Either we have learned a lot about poverty and development, such that we know that “sustainability works,” as both a concept and a policy guide, or we are trying to cover for the fact that we don’t know that much after all, that insufficient progress has been made in achieving the elusive thing called “development,” and that the idea of “sustainability” is sufficiently grand and yet ambiguous to cover a range of possible goals and outcomes.

A. Bayo Ogunrotifa’s piece, “Grand Developmentalism: MDGs and SDGs in Sub-Saharan Africa,” is a first step at analyzing the new nomenclature.  Stay tuned for more!


In the News: “The King Said ‘Kwere-Kwere’ Must Go!”: Xenophobia as South Africa’s Politic Mirror

by Chammah J Kaunda 

Chammah J Kaunda (PhD) is from Zambia. He is a minister in Pentecostal Assemblies of God. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal. His research focus is theo-decolonial discourse within an overarching theoretical framework of African theology. Functioning within this theory, he engages with issues of African Christianity and politics, theological education, missiological ecumenical and systematic theological thoughts.

In abstract, the key argument of this article is that xenophobia is a way of resisting the mutilation of black South African lives by neo-capitalist politicians; it is a scream of rage, a scream of disgust, a scream of anger, a scream of resentment, a scream of negation of political oppression and economic exploitation.  It is an atrocious, brutal, heinous revolutionary war and murderous revolt against political barbarianism and injustice in South Africa.

Xenophobia, by all accounts, is growing in South Africa and receiving much attention in media and among scholars.  However, we need to understand its underlying causes, or rather how it is rooted in or exacerbated by socio-political problems engendered by political injustice and economic exploitation. Foreigners are being used as hostile spaces of contestations against democratic casualties. The post-apartheid, undemocratic democracy has satisfied a few black elites and dissatisfied the majority living materially disgraceful lives. Xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in townships do not contradict contemporary South African political mis-values; they merely exaggerate the domination, inequality and exploitation already present in political spheres. P Continue reading

In the News: A Positive African Story for a Change

posted by Robert Nyenhuis

A recent article in The Guardian by Patience Akumu, “Measles vaccination rates in parts of Africa surpass those in North America,” reverses the roles of narratives we are usually fed from western media– that Africa is in dire need of American and Western intervention. Per the norm, we typically see images of stricken children receiving inoculations from young, ebullient white helpers on their latest round of “voluntourism”. However, Akumu illustrates that 16 African countries have near 100% measles vaccination rates while Canada (84%) and the US (91%) lag behind, with both countries having recently experienced serious outbreaks. These African success stories debunk the widely held notion that the region is a “dying continent”, a characterization still held in many parts of the west. Perhaps young North Americans interested in “helping to save people” should look to their own communities first.


Gunther H. Wittenberg Memorial Lecture

posted by Bangirana Albert

Upcoming lecture sponsors, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Ujamaa Center, announce the Gunther H. Wittenberg Memorial Lecture, Earth-Theology and Humanitarianism: Lessons Yet Learnt. Information about the lecture will follow for those who are unable to attend. We will also post the paper following the lecture. Continue reading