Entrepreneurship and freedom : a social theological reflection on the church and small business in Zimbabwe.
Munhuweyi, Phillip Nyeberah.
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This study concerns the contribution that the church can make to small businesses in Zimbabwe through the development of an appropriate holistic training programme for entrepreneurs. Through a case study on the situation in Masvingo undertaken through participant observation and interviews with various role players, this thesis first identifies the fundamental reasons that lead to the lack of viability of the small businesses in Zimbabwe. To develop a response for the church, this study adopts a three pronged approach. Firstly, the theological basis for freedom is laid through a reading of four biblical stories: the creation story, the Exodus story, the prophets' story and the Messianic story. It is argued that these stories can influence and challenge the church to be meaningfully engaged in a freedom centred development process that can foster the freedoms and values that small businesses need in order to grow and flourish. Secondly, Amartya Sen's theory of freedom as development was engaged in a bid to find an interface between economic and development theory and the theological vision of freedom for socio-economic freedom in Zimbabwe. Thirdly, having established a linkage between a theoretical and a theological essence for freedom the research then examined the role the church can play in enhancing the freedoms for the operators of small businesses in Zimbabwe. The study suggests a freedom-centred entrepreneurial training model that is based on Paulo Freire's dialogical education model. A formal proposal of the key elements of such a training programme is explored. The study recognises that the socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate so rapidly that all research seems out of date; but it has proceeded with the hope that when the economic situation improves this study would become an important tool through which the church can begin to contribute to development and the revival of small businesses in Zimbabwe.
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