Literacy practices of the African Gospel Church members in the KwaMashu Circuit, Durban : a case study.
Dlamini, Leonard Dumisani.
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This is an exploratory qualitative study which is an in-depth investigation into the literacy practices of the congregants of the KwaMashu African Gospel Church circuit (Durban). The study focuses on the practices, uses and values that the congregants attach to literacy. The contribution of this study can be summarised by the following three points: 1). The church is a potential domain or institution that can contribute to the eradication of illiteracy and promotion of literacy skills. 2). Literacy seems to be integral in all spheres of life. 3). Literacy is situational or contextual; therefore, formal literacy cannot always be generalized. There are four critical questions posed by the study: 1). What are the literacy practices that the church members engage in? 2). What are the literacy events occurring or identified in the church? 3). How do church members value literacy? 4). How do non-literate church members cope with the literacy demands of church literacy practices? The study aimed at exploring how literacy is used and valued by the members of this church. The data was collected and analysed qualitatively from three categories of participants (leadership, non-literate and literate congregants) who are its members. The study revealed that literacy is used and valued by the congregants. It further revealed that in the literacy events that were studied congregants had a tendency to use orality and literacy mediators. Although these appeared to be coping means for non-literate members, the study revealed that even the literate members sometimes made use of literacy mediators and orality. The study concludes that despite the culture of Pentecostalism (reliance on guidance by Holy Spirit and tendency towards oral practice of religious activities), literacy appears to be integral to and irreplaceable in this church.