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Water theology and religious engagement in interfaith dialogue to mitigate water scarcity in Botshabelo.

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This research project focuses on a quest for an interfaith dialogue on water theology in the context of water scarcity in Botshabelo, a region in the Free State Province of South Africa. Water theology in this study stands for the theology that cares for water and the environment. From 2014, Botshabelo has been affected by water scarcity which has severely affected people in their daily living and religious rituals. The adherents of African Traditional Religion, Christianity and Islam argue that despite the water shortages in Botshabelo, religious leaders have not been vocal in advocating for water conservation. The adherents of religions in Botshabelo claim that the engagement of religious leaders in interfaith dialogue and advocacy for water conservation could assist in mitigating water scarcity in Botshabelo. According to these believers, the absence of advocacy for water conservation by religious leaders signifies the lack of care for nature. This thesis aims at investigating how could the engagement of religious leaders through interfaith dialogue assist in mitigating the crisis of water scarcity in Botshabelo. The thesis assesses the role and the significance of religion in addressing social problems. The study focuses on three major religions in Botshabelo, namely; African Traditional Religion, Christianity and Islam to obtain the wide views and responses about their engagement in multifaith dialogue to conserve water in Botshabelo. It is also a finding of this study that even though religious leaders are willing to discuss the problem of water scarcity, they lack the tools and approaches which could be provided by interfaith dialogue. Furthermore, it is a finding of the study that water scarcity is due to the failure of the society to take responsibility for water conservation. While recognizing the contributions of the available scholarship on the aspect of water scarcity in South Africa, this study proposes a care for water which is called in this thesis as a theology of water informed by an interfaith dialogue theory of Michael Fitzgerald (2000) and Hans Küng (2004).


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.