The Socio-Economic and Political Situation in Zimbabwe

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This chapter will analyse theological reflections on HIV/AIDS and children, traced within practical theology and pastoral care. It reflects on the conceptual and epistemological ideas and critically discusses existing models of pastoral care commonly used by psychologists and pastors to provide care and counselling for children in trauma and crisis.


Practical theology, as a discipline of theology, was first established as a theological discipline in 1774 in Austria, Vienna (Van der Ven 1994:30; cf., Heyns 1995:56; Buffel 2007:27). Theology and its disciplines, including practical theology, have neglected children in their research and practice. The church has been aloof in its social teachings to children, campaigning against the suffering of humanity by constructing social teachings that condemn human exploitations or sufferings. As Bunge argues, “there is no well-developed teaching on the nature of children…although the church has highly developed teachings on other issues…theologians have not offered sustained reflection on the nature of children” (2001:4-5).
Among theology disciplines, practical theology is informed by practically knowing the day-to-day activities of society. As the name implies, it is a discipline and method of practicing theology in a way that makes it useful and applicable to people‟s everyday lives (Müller 2009:74). It helps transform knowledge of theology into effective and efficient ministry by integrating scientific theory formation and reflection on the communicative religious action in the church and society (Heyns, in Heyns & Pieterse 1990:6). As a discipline, practical theology generally includes the sub-disciplines of pastoral theology, homiletics, Christian education, and liturgics, amongst others. In a broader sense, Müller (2009:74) argues that practical theology “happens whenever and wherever there is a reflection on practice, from the perspective of the experience of the presence of God.” In agreement, Pieterse (2001:9) sees practical theology as a study of Christian actions, meaning that its aim is the Christian transformative practices or actions. Tracy, quoted in Browning (2007:12) defines practical theology as “…the mutually critical correlation of the interpreted theory and praxis of Christian faith with the interpreted theory and praxis of the contemporary situation” (cf. Ballard 1995:114, Heyns, in Heyns &Pieterse 1990:23-320). Tracy‟s definition posits more than just a theological study but rather it also addresses socio-economic and political problems faced by humans meaning as praxis practical theology is done beyond the church walls. Browning argues that practical theology as praxis is concerned with the church activity in the world as well as its ministries within its walls (2007:16). He therefore describes practical theology of care not just as a pastoral care but also as a church strategy that creates and influences the structures of care in society, most of which are secular (Browning 2007:16).
Mercer (2005:12) explains that “practical theology …seeks to offer accounts of human experience and of the character and activity of God that are true in sense of being “seriously imaginable” credible accounts of both.” It is the reflection of the word to praxis. Müller (2009:80) argues that for practical theology to reflect the word in a meaningful way on human experiences of the character and activity of God it needs to be locally contextual, socially constructed, directed by tradition, exploring interdisciplinary meaning and pointing beyond the local. These guidelines or requirements are not only crucial on the epistemic questions of practical theology but they are also important for the methodology. Theology, particularly practical theology, should be contextual and socially constructed so that it will reflect on human experiences through God‟s teachings. Practical theology is faith with works or living faith with active works. Contextual and socially constructed theology is owned by local people as it reflects on their lives in a constructive, concrete and focused way. As a result, Mercer (2005:13) argues that “practical theology takes seriously the local contexts and practices and the everyday lives of people in those contexts as they seek to walk in the way of Jesus.”
On the other hand, Browning (1985:16) argues that for practical theology to be contextual and practical it should attempt to describe and interpret both contemporary situations and classic Christian resources. Interpreting practical theology in contemporary situations means understanding it in a context of the different experiences of humanity, such as oppressed and oppressor, giver and the receiver, poor and rich. Brandt (2012:368) argues that the actions informed by practical theology should be the subject of continuing critical reflection. In agreement, Patton (1993:238) explains that theology cannot afford to ignore reality; hence it is a two-way reflection between theory and practice. According to de Gruchy (1987:50), practical theology is the interface between the tradition and concrete engagement in the face between the tradition and concrete engagement in the life of the world (praxis), in which critical theory and praxis are in a mutually critical relationship. Brandt (2012:368) describes practical theology as an “ongoing cycle of practice, reflection on practice, and practice again- reshaped by insights gained through the moments of critical reflection.” In this context, Mercer (2005:12) expounds that practical theologians then ask about “the meaning of God‟s parent like care for children in contexts in which particular children experience pain and suffering.”

Western literature: children in practical theology

Practical theology has been leading in research on children and theology. Browning, Miller-McLemore, Couture, Swart and Yates are amongst those striving to develop different theories of praxis for children from all sub-disciplines of practical theology. Miller-McLemore (2007) argues that the prominent Western assumptions about spirituality and faith have left out children and those who care for them. Therefore, filling this gap she explores how parents can sustain a life of faith in the midst of the chaotic, often overwhelming familial ways of living. According to Miller-McLemore, adults need to find God in activities with children, such as reading or playing games and making decisions as a family. She campaigns for a child-inclusive familial life in which God is witnessed in children (Miller-McLemore 2007). In agreement, May, Posterski, Stonehouse and Cannell (2005) discuss children’s spirituality and how the faith community can effectively nurture them as younger members. The authors begin with the foundational issues, supplementing their theological and developmental material with attention to the history of children‟s ministries and an extensive discussion on children in the Bible. They investigate how the issues of familial, cultural and congregational contexts are effective in children‟s faith formation.
Miller-McLemore (2003) argues that contemporary theology has been adult-centred, ignoring children in the construction of doctrine. In filling this gap, she explores how raising children with integrity and faithfulness as Christians can be a struggle in complex modern society. Raising and investigating questions such as the definition of children and parenting in the Christian history, and how the current Christian community should define children and parenting in modern society, she challenges Christians and communities to devise clearer and defined ways of nurturing every child as manifestations of God‟s presence in the world. She further argues that the care of children is both a religious and communal practice (Miller-McLemore 2003). At the centre of a child‟s faith formation, the community and parents need to work together closely. Browning (2007) argues that churches should be cautious of programmes that overlook children as part of the family because this would undermine family ethics of solidarity and parental responsibility. He believes that the church should refuse to be used as a tool or agent of government programmes that have no interest in the unique values or mission of the church. In addition, Browning (2007:56) explains that churches, particularly Protestant ones need to resist easy talk about new family pluralism, without becoming moralistic. Rather, the church needs to recognise that family forms are different and their task of raising children are different.
On the other hand, Couture (2000) argues that children have not been given care and attention they rightly deserve by the church and society. She critically discusses the impact of different types of poverty and ills on children in the modern world, arguing that “poverty is a social, economic and political problem of enormous proportions and complexity and children are the most vulnerable victims” (2000:11). She critiques the idea of looking at children as the “church of tomorrow”, instead arguing that the church should see children as the present church. The issue of looking at children as the church of tomorrow gives an idea that they may become important in the future. This undermines children‟s dignity as human beings made in the image of God. As a result, HIV and AIDS is a social ill that undermines the future of children as well as that of the church. Couture‟s (2000:12) argument calls for the church to practice its faith by taking action on the situation of children because they are the current church. The church should read the Bible through a lens of the time, so that she will be able as to read the “signs of the times” and avoid a mistake of what Miller-McLemore (2010) calls the hyperbole of biblical scholarship.
Critiquing the Biblical and Christian scholars, laity and church for misinterpreting and exaggerating biblical scriptures about Jesus and children in Bible, Miller-McLemore argues that they are more complicated than commonly assumed in Christian contexts (2010:25). She critiques how some people exaggerate and claim the Gospels can contribute to Christian triumphalism (Miller-McLemore, 2010:25). According to Miller-McLemore, the use of Jesus as an advocate of children should be followed responsibly and with self-awareness about the complexity of scripture (2010:25). Her argument is that even though Jesus is revealed by all the three Synoptic Gospels rebuking disciples for putting off children, Jesus may still not have loved children as much as many may imagine (2010:25). Maybe the problem lies in the Gospels portraying children as “basically silent, passive creatures, seemingly doing and saying little…” (Admirand 2012:187), thus rendering Miller-McLemore‟s assumption erroneous. The question arises as to why the children were silenced in the Synoptic Gospels? The problem with Miller-McLemore‟s assumption is that it overlooks Jesus‟s continuous actions on behalf of children.
On the other hand, Miller-McLemore argues that those who are dedicated to promoting children‟s welfare should do so without exaggerating Jesus‟s contribution, so Christians have much to learn from other religious communities that honour children as well (2010:25). In agreement, Admirand (2012:193) argues that Jesus‟s actions and campaigns for children are “…one piece of a much deeper core that demands profound awareness of one‟s own and other faiths and paths, a mature conscience, a heightened sense of responsibility, and a constant striving for growth and reconciliation.” Children are not only found in the Hebrew Bible, but are core themes in the Qur‟an (Holness 2008:2), hence ignoring other faiths when supporting children has negative consequences for the Christian religious sector, in today‟s context in which different religious sectors have common ground and are striving for the common good. That common ground should be a concern for the spiritual wellbeing of humanity as well as worshipping a supreme being, whereas opposing and competing with each other as faith communities contradicts the goal of practical theology to practice locally contextual and socially constructed theology, directed by tradition, exploring interdisciplinary meaning and pointing beyond the local (Müller 2009:80).
Jensen (2005:28) critically discusses and examines the vulnerability of children, arguing that they are vulnerable to romanticisation, demonisation, marginalisation and violence. In addition, Jensen describes God‟s vulnerability in incarnation as the child arguing that God suffers in all the children because God came into this world as a child in incarnation (cf. Holness 2008:2). He also discusses the desirable ecclesial practices that can both symbolise and address children‟s vulnerability, questioning ways in which religious discourses cast children as both innocent vessels of God‟s grace and demonic creatures in need of corporal punishment and redemption. This study on the vulnerability of children in an HIV and AIDS era with reference to Zimbabwean URMs is helped by Jensen‟s thoughts because the motivation to care for children is God‟s vulnerability in every human being, including the children.
Mercer (2005:21) uses a feminist perspective to reflect theologically on the lives of children using the Gospel of Mark in a critical way, because of Mark‟s much recognised way of narrating Jesus‟ Journey with children. She discusses how global capitalism casts children into problematic roles as economic producers in sweatshops run by multinational companies in developing countries. Like Jensen (2005), she examines religious discourses that interpret children as innocent vessels of God‟s grace and demonic creatures in need of corporal punishment and redemption. She recommends that churches fully include children in congregational worship to model a more just society. Whilst the church does welcome children in its worship the question remains as to whether this considers the child‟s inner being and psycho-social wellbeing. There are general assumptions that children will be alright, based on stereotypes that communities and the church construct about them (Hadley 2007; cf. Lester 1985).

African literature: children in practical theology

African literature on practical theology is not as common as Western literature, which shows that African practical theology regarding issues of children is still in its conception phase in Africa. Malherbe (2011:8) describes the increasing consciousness and concern on matters that directly affect children in Africa. On the other hand, he explains that the awareness and involvement by African theologians on issues that affect children in the global agenda is not enough and this is a serious disappointment. Malherbe further explains that outsiders usually take the lead in initiatives aimed at assisting Africa‟s children whilst locals are silenced and follow behind. He raises concerns about the negative way in which Africa and African Children are often portrayed by the international media (Malherbe 2011:3-4). He rightfully explains that Africa has internalised these negative perceptions of its beliefs, culture, religion, science, philosophy and history (Malherbe 2011:4). Western culture is seen as a norm and is portrayed as the true way of life associated with freedom, justice, equality and liberation. Africa is portrayed by the international media as a continent behind, and still needing to be liberated. African children are depicted as the most suffering, poor and primitive human beings. Any culture that is African is constantly scrutinised and critiqued before being accepted by the world.
Swart and Yates (2006) raised consciousness on the negligence of children by practical theology in South Africa, addressing the rights of children as a new agenda for practical theology by adopting a specifically contextual approach. Using the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), they addressed the issue of a Christian theology balancing role in the children‟s agenda, which however is problematic in the light of theology‟s one-sided and limited involvement thus far on the issue of children (Swart &Yates 2006:322). It is argued that a practical theological paradigm in which praxis of liberation change and transformation is of prime importance should reflect on active involvement in the children‟s rights. From a rights-based context, LenkaBula (2002) describes the situation of child sexual abuse as contravening Christian ethics. She describes how Christian notions, such as ethical duties and obligations, the sanctity and value of life, the kingdom of God, justice and love can be evoked and incorporated in the formulation of alternatives in countering child abuse. Christian ethical duties of responsibility in adult-child relationships can be grounded either in perfect universal duties and rights or imperfect universal duties. According to LenkaBula (2002:63):
Perfect universal duties are duties owed to all. Every person can claim the performance of duty as a right. They are basic human rights, expected and required of all human beings. The protection of children…falls within the area of perfect universal duties. Perfect universal duties include the injunction, not to kill. The implication is that every human being has the responsibility not to violate, hurt or harm others.
Christian ethics and children‟s rights are parallel. Though LenkaBula is writing from a systematic theology perspective her argument of the perfect universal duties is contextual to practical theology and obliges people to take a stand against the oppression of children, as in the saying “it takes the whole village to raise a child.” Lenkabula addresses the gap that exists in theology and children by contextualizing the Ubuntu concept, the value and sanctity of life, the Kingdom of God, corrective justice and love as the Christian ethics that should guide humanity in protecting children against abuse. She suggests that the womb should be metaphorical and inclusively used to express African Christian sexual ethics (LenkaBula 2002:66). The womb metaphor connects women to the nurturing and protecting of children from harm, not only feminising the role of nurturing but also revealing that if a womb is metaphorically used in the protection of children then men have a crucial role to play in the nurturing and protecting children from harm. This is because the womb is a place in which all men and women were conceived and nurtured, where men plant their seed and women participate in its nurturing. Therefore, a womb is a place that should be respected by both women and men for it brings life to all. It should be a place of peace, safety, security, love and freedom from harm. In a womb there is holistic protection and anything that will harm the baby will do so through the mother.
One risk to children, unborn and born, is posed by HIV. Okaalet (2007) outlines the statistics of the HIV epidemic on children and describes how they reveal lack of interest by church and other stakeholders on the impact on children. He argues that “children are still the invisible face of a very visible disease and are still missing out” (Okaalet 2007:95), describing two programmes that make a difference in children‟s lives, namely the UNICEF Global Campaign for Orphans and vulnerable Children (OVC) and the Giving Hope programme in East Africa. The former has created a network of stakeholders who developed interest in child advocacy, such as faith-based organisations. Its objectives are to provide a child-focused framework for nationally owned programmes around „the four Ps‟, which are Prevent Mother to Child Transmission of HIV; Provide Paediatric AIDS treatment; Prevent Infection among Adolescents and Young people; and Protect and Support Children affected by HIV and AIDS (Okaalet 2007:98-99). He calls for an HIV ministry that is child-friendly, as are the two projects he described above.
Although there are programmes by faith-based organisations aimed at the protection of the wellbeing of children from HIV and AIDS infection, this may not be enough because children may still need access to secular counselling. However, this is not rooted in the Bible; therefore the faith aspect of the child may be compromised. Switzer (1989:15) argues that pastoral counselling is different from secular counselling because of the access and level of contact that a pastor has with human beings experiencing grief. A pastor‟s distinctiveness from other psychotherapists contribute to effectiveness in situations of crisis, These distinctions include “a symbol power; pastoral initiative; prior personal relationship with many of the persons into whose lives they now enter in this unique relationship; the availability and value of the community of faith; and a theological perspective”(1989:15). In agreement, Lartey (2003) finds distinction in pastoral counselling being done by ordained and trained clergy, within a religious frame of reference and from “an inclusive sense which reflects not only Jews and Christians but also those who belong to no church but consider matters of faith and ultimate concern as of relevance to them and their clients” (Lartey 2003:104). Offered within and by a community of faith it is rooted in the Bible and Christian doctrines. According to Schlach (quoted in Lartey 2003) pastoral counselling is concerned with the whole person as an individual, as well as part of the family and social unit as a whole person, body, mind and spirit, but with particular reference to the psychological, ethical and theological frames of reference.
Children are spiritual beings; therefore Hadley (2007:25) argues that assumptions by the church about the spiritual nature of the child are due to a lack of a contextual model of pastoral care for children, particularly those in crisis. The church can borrow some theories from secular counsellors, such as child therapists and psychologists, in its effort to develop a model of pastoral care. The responsibility of the church should begin with theological academics, such as practical theologians who need to work hand-in-glove with the church in creating and developing models that will be used when the flock or communities of God are in need. These models may also be used by NGOs, particularly faith-based organisations, in their recommended work of concern and supporting those in need.
James, on the other hand, describes the factors that contribute to the vulnerability of children to HIV and AIDS as violence and abuse, poverty and religious abuse. She reviews theological literature to identify themes that address children, amongst which children are identified in a covenantal family and “faced with a mysterious multifaceted relation with parents”. Their relationships with their parents have a spiritual dimension (James 2011:306). Some of the African practical theologians, such as Kanyoro (2002), put HIV and AIDS at the centre of their arguments and challenge the church for an HIV and AIDS ministry that is child friendly. She explores how HIV and AIDS affect children in their societies by critically explaining the conditions that make children vulnerable to the epidemic. Kanyoro refers to issues such as the social and economic issues at homes, schools and in communities, as some of the factors that increase the vulnerability of children to HIV and AIDS. Like Okaalet she describes the important role played by the World Young Women‟s Christian Association (YWCA) in the era of HIV and AIDS. Drawing from her experience as a general secretary of YWCA, she suggests that action be taken in schools with a standard approach to school-based sexuality education regarding curricula and content. She also suggests that non-formal education with HIV and AIDS prevention messages be introduced, arguing that though some children are still at school, others are out of school and still others drop out of school for economic reasons (2002:74). As a result she advocates that non-formal education with HIV and AIDS prevention messages as a powerful method of reaching vulnerable young people. It can be shared through all social institutions, such as religious groups, youth groups, businesses and community centres (2002:74). According to Morisky, Shu-Yu & Arada (2010:336), around the world non-formal educators have tackled sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially in settings with limited resources.
Kanyoro (2002:74) found campaigning for peer youth education that targets both children and youth in and out of school on HIV and AIDS awareness to be effective (cf. Morisky et al. 2010:336). The YWCA of Botswana, in collaboration with the WHO, confirmed the power of peer education after a three-year pilot study on the impact of peer education on behavioural changes in young people. It also helped peer educators to develop marketable skills, therefore creating economic opportunities for young people through peer educator programmes which can serve the dual purpose of disseminating awareness and education, while giving economic hope to young people (Kanyoro 2002:746). In addition, Morisky et al. (2010:336) explain that “peer education, anti-AIDS clubs, drama, art, youth dialogues, music, and comic books are some examples of non-formal education” can be used to educate people on behaviour change, particularly high risk populations such as the youth and sex workers and their clients. According to Morisky et al. (2010:336), non-formal educational activities worked and changed the depth of HIV prevalence in Uganda, as introduced by the Ministry of Education and Sports at national-level prevention campaigns in 1996.
On the other hand, community involvement is crucial in the fight against HIV and AIDS, because community leaders such as civic leaders, village leaders, religious leaders and traditional chiefs have a critical role to play in removing the stigma attached to HIV and AIDS. As a result of this, the Uganda approach26 to AIDS awareness relied on community-based and face-to-face communication that was inclusive of all community stakeholders, including traditional healers, teachers, traders, women and youth associations‟ leadership, religious leaders, and all key grassroots communities (Green, Halperin, Nantulya & Hogle 2006:342). For this reason, the community must be mobilised and educated for further action, such as interpersonal interventions. Foster, quoted in James, explains that every child is a responsibility of a holistic community, hence the saying “it takes a village to raise child”. A child belongs to the mother once in the womb, but once born she or he becomes everyone‟s child and responsibility (James 2011:307). The community takes charge in shaping the child into a responsible child, adolescent and adult by guiding and teaching him or her contextual life skills. Life skills education is crucial for children and youth in creating awareness about HIV and AIDS, and as Kanyoro (2002:75) writes, a life skills education approach that imparts knowledge, shapes attitudes and develops coping interpersonal and leadership skills is effective in helping young people assume responsibility for making healthy choices and resisting negative pressures.

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Table of Contents
Contents Page
Title page
Table of Contents
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Background and Motivation
1.3 Problem Formulation
1.4 Research Questions and Objectives of the Study
1.5 Desired Practical Outcomes and Significance
1.6 Research Method and Design
1.7 Definitions and Operational Definitions of Key terms
1.8 Chapter Outline
CHAPTER TWO Research Methodology and Research Design
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Research Methodology
2.3 Research Design
2.4 Research Methods and Data Collection Techniques
2.5 Data Collection Techniques
2.6 Sampling Design
2.7 Data Analysis
2.8 Ethical Considerations
2.9 Conclusion
CHAPTER THREE The Socio-Economic and Political Situation in Zimbabwe
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Children, HIV and AIDS in a Zimbabwean Context
3.3 History of Migration between Zimbabwe and South Africa
3.4 Changes in Migration
3.5 Unaccompanied Child Migration Internationally
3.6 Unaccompanied Child Migrants in Africa
3.7 Unaccompanied Refugee Minors from Zimbabwe to South Africa
3.8 Impact of Migration on Wellbeing
3.9 Conclusion
CHAPTER F OUR Practical Theology and Pastoral Care
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Practical Theology
4.3 Pastoral Care: The Presumed Meaning
4.4 Migration and Pastoral Care
4.5 Migration in the Bible: The Alien and the Stranger
4.6 Pastoral Care Methods and Strategies for Children in Crisis in a context of HIV and AIDS
4.7 Conclusion
Chapter Five Theological Framework: A Theological Position and Praxis of study
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Practical Theology
5.3 Liberation Theology
5.4 Feminist Theology
5.5 Contextual Theology
5.6 Linking Contextual Theology to the study
5.7 Mead‟s Cultural Adolescent Development Theory
5.8 Conclusion
Chapter Six Unfulfilled Promises or Fulfilled Promises: Children’s Rights and Pastoral Care
6.1 Introduction
6.2 The History behind Children‟s Rights
6.3 The Introduction of Children‟s Rights
6.4 South African National Laws on Children‟s Rights
6.5 Zimbabwean National Laws on Children‟s Rights
6.6 Fulfilled or Unfilled Promises: The Implementation of the CRC and the ACRWC
6.7 Children‟s Rights and Pastoral Care- Perspectives from Jesus in the Gospels
6.8 Children‟s Rights and Pastoral care with children in crisis 148
6.9 Conclusion
Chapter 7 Presenting Findings: URMs and their Caregivers’ Voices
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Selection of Participants
7.3 Invitation to Participants
7.4 Outlining the Compliance of Confidentiality
7.5 Push and pull factors from Zimbabwe
7.6 Emerging Themes
7.9 Presenting the building blocks/categories of a Contextual model of Pastoral care for children in crisis
7.10 Conclusion
Chapter 8 Theory-Data Interplay: Towards a Contextual Model of Pastoral Care with Children in Crisis in the face of HIV and AIDS
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Cultural-gendered: The creation of Conceptual meaning
8.3 Presenting the Cultural-Gendered Pastoral Care model through Storyline -Isikhumba sigoqwa sisemanzi
8.4 Cultural-gendered Pastoral Care and Family
8.5 Cultural-gendered pastoral care and Religion
8.7 A Meta-Narrative Analysis: A Cultural-Gendered Pastoral care with children in crisis
8.8 Polishing the Model: Towards a Cultural-Gendered Pastoral care model with children in crisis in a Context of HIV and AIDS
8.9 Conclusion
Chapter 9  Conclusion and Recommendations
9.1 Introduction
9.2 Conclusion and Key Findings
9.3 Unexpected findings and potential Implications
9.4 Strengths and Weaknesses of the Study: Recommendations for future research

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