Research Centres and Units within the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics

Ujamaa Centre for Community Development and Research
Established in 1989, the Ujamaa Centre has pioneered an interface between academic biblical studies (and theology) and local forms of biblical interpretation, within the context of social transformation. The Ujamaa Centre has worked extensively throughout South Africa, across the African continent, and has an international reputation for its community-based work and research.


Sinomlando Centre for Oral History and Memory Work in Africa
Established in 1996, the Sinomlando Centre for Oral History and Memory Work in Africa aims at building resilience in people and communities through oral history and memory work. The Oral History Programme runs research projects on aspects of South African social, cultural and religious history and assists local communities in retrieving their histories. The Memory Work Programme provides psychosocial support through storytelling to children and families experiencing adversity.

The Centre for Constructive Theology (CCT)
The Centre for Constructive Theology (CCT) is one amongst other centres housed within the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) with offices in Pietermaritzburg. CCT offers basic but quality theological education to church leaders who, despite being ordained as pastors and ministers in their respective churches, for a number of reasons have never had an opportunity to obtain theological training. Given that a large number of such church leaders come from African Initiated Churches, otherwise known as the AIC’s, CCT has for a long time been in partnership with several AIC’s throughout the province of KwaZulu-Natal offering theological education to their church leaders. During this period CCT researches in partnership with members of these faith communities initiated a number of research projects on a range of topics. Finding for these research projects are published in various SAPSE Accredited Journals in the area of religion and theology including the then Journal of Constructive Theology (JCT) (now Journal of Gender Religion and Theology in Africa) (JGRTA). As the former title of the journal indicates, this journal is also housed at CCT. In addition to offering theological education, CCT also conducts a series of structured workshops in various communities in regions where the churches that are in partnership with CCT are situated. These workshops address a wide range of themes such as HIV/AIDS, counseling, Home-Based Care for those infected with HIV/AIDS, and empowerment for children who become bread winners in child-led-household.

The Collaborative for HIV and AIDS, Religion and Theology (CHART) was founded in 2007 and is a collaborative space for research, reflection and engagement. It seeks to coordinate current HIV and AIDS research initiatives in the School and to promote new ways of engaging with the pandemic from a religious and theological point of view.

CHART has the following eight aims:

  1. To build collaboration in research around HIV and AIDS amongst staff within SORAT.
  2. To understand religious obstacles to prevention and treatment and to communicate these in a language accessible to non-religious people.
  3. To coordinate relationships and represent the work being done within SORAT with other appropriate groups within UKZN.
  4. To provide a channel for collaboration with agencies outside of UKZN, including religious groupings, faith based organizations, other Universities, and funding agencies.
  5. To develop and oversee post-graduate research and reflection focusing on HIV and AIDS, religion and theology, through formal teaching programmes at this level.
  6. To create a cadre of CHART researchers through sponsorships of postgraduate students working in the field of HIV and AIDS, religion and theology.
  7. To create a structured environment conducive to hosting post-doctoral fellows from UKZN and other international institutions.
  8. To develop a resource centre that documents all research which directly links HIV and AIDS, religion, and theology.


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