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Pastoral critique of the Catholic social teaching and its impact on ecological justice among the Tonga people in Binga district of Zimbabwe.

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The study focused on reviewing and judging the value of the Catholic Social Teaching (CST) and its notion on ecological justice among the Tonga people of Binga District in Zimbabwe. The CST is a key principal theory which provided the study with the pastoral lens. As a principal theory, it then ostensibly and robustly demands the retrieval and promotion of social justice among the Tonga people as a means of emancipating them from environmental genocide. It demands fair distribution and equal participation of the Tonga irrespective of gender, ethnicity and class. The theory equipped the research with techniques to show how the Catholic Church and social institutions should interfere in Tonga people’s complexities. The CST theory was used to expose, remedy, and then recommend filling of a gap of knowledge by using a holistic approach and multi-pronged approach through the qualitative research methodology and case study design in data collection and analysis. The study employed the individual in-depth interviews as a technique and tool for interfacing and dialogue with twenty five participants which include the Tonga traditional chiefs, village heads, women, youths, WADCO Chairpersons, the DA of Binga, Catholic Priests, key participants from Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJPZ), Caritas, Silveira House and the Basilwizi Trust endeavoring to expose the root causes of their socio-economic realities and find suitable home grown approaches for lasting solutions. This was reinforced by focus group discussions with nine participants to ascertain the causes of their problems and possible solutions to their suffering. The two data collection techniques assisted the research with a full picture of the participants’ perceptions and experiences. The study looked at the reasons behind the isolation of the Tonga people in the pre-and post-colonial era. Some other factors revolve around the construction of the Kariba Dam in 1957 and its aftermath, namely, the forcible relocation, involuntary resettlement, the introduction of new policies to access water and animal resources. The research exposed that the exclusion of Tonga people in decision-making processes in all critical community development projects forms the base of their vulnerability. The study could not overlook the status of women and the youths in Tonga communities in Binga. This was done to expose the root cause of their predicaments. After the presentation of data, thematic analysis was employed to analyze data collected from library sources, interviews, and focus group discussions. This enhanced the study to look across the gathered data to establish common themes in order to provide answers to the research questions, and means to enhance the opportunities as well as the abilities of the Tonga people to control and access their natural resources. Amongst other essential factors espoused, the study included effective consultation, engagement and participation. The study also presented summary of findings, conclusions and recommendations for further study.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.