CIHA Blog partner, Ujamaa Center at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, has an upcoming lecture as part of their Gunther H. Wittenberg Memorial Lecture Series, which aims to generate a specifically African perspective on issues related to land and the environment. For those unable to attend, we will post the full paper following the lecture.
Gunther H. Wittenberg Memorial Lecture on
Andrew Warmback is the rector of St Paul’s Church, located in the inner city of Durban. For over 20 years Andrew has worked at encouraging the church to respond to environmental issues within the Anglican Diocese of Natal as well as further afield. Formerly, he worked for the Diakonia Council of Churches, which included working in the areas of economic and environmental justice. Having majored in Economics, Business Administration and Legal Studies in his primary degree, his theological studies include obtaining a Bachelor of Divinity (with distinction) from Rhodes University, while training to be a priest at the College of the Transfiguration in Grahamstown. He later earned a doctorate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, with a thesis entitled “Constructing an Oikotheology: The Environment, Poverty and the Church in South Africa.” His book on “The Church and Ecological Justice” has just been published by Cluster Publication in their ‘Reading the Signs of the Times’ series.
About Professor Gunther Wittenberg (1935 – 2014)
Born to missionary parents in what was then Tanganyika, Gunther grew up within the postcolonial struggles of Southern Africa. He was to make these struggles his own, identifying with and working with those on the margins. From his undergraduate studies in Pietermaritzburg, to his postgraduate studies in Germany, to his first parish ministry in Belville in the Cape, to his involvement in the Christian Institute, and the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (PACSA), prophetic Christianity provided the parameters for what he did and how he did it.
Inspired by the base-community projects of Brasil in the mid-1980s, Gunther established a South African equivalent, the Institute for the Study of the Bible (what is now the Ujamaa Centre for Community Development and Research), in 1989. The Ujamaa Centre remains an internationally recognised model of university-based community development and research. In taking up this task he combined careful and responsible biblical scholarship with a socially engaged and accountable immersion in context, becoming one of the pioneers of ‘contextual biblical hermeneutics.’ This encompassed the struggle for economic justice, the HIV and AIDS pandemic, and the threat to the environment. He published regularly and widely, constructing a substantive and coherent body of work over more than thirty years.