Humanities Academic New Chair of Society of Practical Theology
The Society of Practical Theology in South Africa (SPTSA) has elected UKZN academic Professor Simangaliso Kumalo to be its chairperson for the next three years.
The election of Kumalo, who is the Academic Leader for Theology and Ethics in the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, was announced at the society’s recent annual conference hosted by the School.
SPTSA, one of the oldest academic organisations in South Africa, focuses on the development of scholarship in the field of practical theology, drawing its membership from universities in South Africa and has support from other countries in the region.
Its conferences attract scholars from all over the world whose interests are in the fields of Practical Theology, Applied Theology, Missiology, Christian Education, Theology and Development, and Pastoral Counselling, among others.
Its main aim is to promote the study of Practical Theology. ‘No doubt this appointment brings prestige to UKZN in the sphere of Theology, offering endless opportunities for masters and PhD students as well as colleagues wanting to do research and publish in the journal of Practical Theology,’ said Kumalo.
‘My election is recognition of my scholarship by my peers both locally and internationally, and also endorses UKZN as a centre of excellence in the study of Theology,’ he said.
Kumalo will organise annual conferences and aim to grow the organisation’s membership and support its accredited journal.
Kumalo, who has been teaching and doing research in the area of Practical Theology for more than two decades, was recently also appointed as chairperson of the theological task team investigating the COVID-19 vaccine issue for the SA Council of Churches (SACC). Aimed at guiding the response of the Church, the team successfully produced a statement on support for the vaccine by SACC affiliated churches to assist government in the roll out of the campaign. He also serves as Theological Advisor to the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council.
Kumalo, the author of five books and over 60 academic articles, is the founder of the John Langalibalele Dube Memorial Lectures and is well respected in both theological and ecumenical circles as a theologian and leader.
Words: Melissa Mungroo