The Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians and Their Engagement in Public Theology: A Pathway to Development

Philomena Njeri Mwaura


This article is informed by the work and writings of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians and what ordinary African women are doing as agents of social transformation in their churches and communities. It recognized that African women play crucial roles in the development of their communities, church and nations despite their efforts being ignored or un-reflected in mainstream economic systems. African women theologians seek to take women’s experiences and contexts seriously in their theological reflection. Just like elsewhere on the globe, women’s experiences in Africa are shaped by particular conditions of culture, gender, class, ethnicity and race. As Phiri and Sarojini (? 93) observe, “African women theologians seek solidarity with those who suffer marginalization of every kind, trying to understand, analyze and change the systems of domination and abuse of power.” African women theologians consider themselves as “activist theologians” committed to the struggle for gender justice through their involvement in organizations of social development, social welfare, conducting gender sensitization, HIV and AIDS, anti poverty, culture and Bible study workshops as individuals and groups. They aim to raise awareness of gender justice and to transform the patriarchy that is prevalent in both the churches and society. True to feminist ideals, they see themselves as activists and intellectuals.

The following quotation from a South African Instituted Church leader women leader attests to the significant roles women play in the development of Church and society.

Women are the fountain of life, responsible for human growth through childbirth. They are rooted here; no longer independent but self-instituted…God today calls AIC women, like all other women, to relate the Gospel to the total needs of individuals, to share a ministry that is biblically based, theologically grounded and socially aware… (AIC women) are actually missionaries… (August: year? 255).

These words, spoken by the late Dr. Lydia August Archbishop of the St. John Apostolic Faith Mission, in South Africa succinctly depict the salient missionary function of women. It is an affirmation of a holistic ministry that engages every facet of life.

This article begins by exploring the context in which African women live, their responses to the various challenges they experience, how African women theologians respond to this context through theological reflection and it will end with proposing a strategy for a public theology informed by a framework that recognizes and utilizes women’s capacities. The key focus of this article is in the contextual theological appraisal of specific aspects of human capability development and how this can offer to the church and the society a framework through which they can engage in their pursuit of gender justice and quality of life for all especially for women and girls who are the most vulnerable and marginalized. What characterizes the African context?

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.