Partnership praxis and development? A theological assessment of the discourse and practice of partnerships among African initiated churches in the post-apartheid South Africa.
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Partnership has long been identified as the only viable strategy towards sustainable social development. Twenty-two years into democracy, South African communities are still experiencing the pain of underdevelopment due to fragmentations among development practitioners. This research study examined the cause of fragmentations in the discourse of „Partnerships‟ for social development among African Initiated Churches (AICs) in the South African context. Le Bruyns, (2006) has cited Maluleke (2005: 117) who has observed that the legacy of the ecumenical tradition among churches in South Africa is currently in a struggle of its own. Maluleke argues that ecumenism in South Africa is in a crisis of its own, since there are a lot of tensions and fragmentations among churches (2005: 117). This current study examined the discourse of „Partnerships‟ among AICs in order to evaluate how they have employed „Praxis‟ and „theology‟ to promote authentic partnerships during and after apartheid. Using a Trinitarian theology as a critical lens, the study responds to the question; ‘To what extent is „Partnership Praxis‟ among African Initiated Churches (AICs) in the Post-Apartheid South African context advancing or impeding social development? Church partnerships have long been advocated as a better way of dealing with structures that lead to injustice and dehumanization of people who are powerless.