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Evaluating the responses to social change by Congolese refugee Christian leaders living in Durban, South Africa.

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“Christian leadership” is not new terminology in world literature, but research on Christian Congolese refugee leadership in Durban seems to bring out a new dimension to it. In their struggle to reach a meaningful standard of life, refugee Christian leaders in Durban are experiencing rough and traumatic times. This research investigated how they deal with social change for both their lives and that of their mixed congregations in Durban.. This research applied leadership theories and servant-hood models to Christian leadership principles. Personal experience of life was used to describe and identify factors that have helped positively and hindered negatively the promotion of such changes. The study aimed to reveal the traumatic responses and experiences of refugees as a consequence of political and civil conflicts in their country of origin. Factors that have helped overcome barriers to their social change will also be identified. The research also challenged the negative malpractices and attitudes displayed towards the refugees by some people in the host country. This study focused on people’s lives and their deep heartfelt needs drawing on a sample of mature leaders and church members capable of implementing change despite circumstances that surround them. A qualitative approach with ethnography as the dominant methodology was employed. Open-ended questions were used in interviews to gather data relative to social change. Based on qualitative and ethnographic findings, this research revealed that despite acculturation, psychological stress, discrimination, and social exclusion in their day-to-day lives, Congolese Christian leaders are able to generate positive social change. The findings will help in future research, while for now Congolese Christian refugees will benefit from acquiring knowledge and principles that will hopefully help them improve their leadership qualities to become future useful leaders who will give the world the best of their expertise. However, in a world that is changing at an exponential rate, there can be no social certainty. While Congolese Christian leaders in Durban define their priorities and address future problems in order to integrate themselves into the local community, it is believed that the experience they gain in this country will contribute in improving their social lives, enhance their future leadership skills for the benefit of their present community for now and in future for the benefit of their country of origin as well as the whole African continent


Thesis (M.Com.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville, 2010.


Church controversies., Social change., Christian leadership., Theses--Leadership and management.