School of Religion, Philosophy & Classics

Honours Self-Study Research Focuses on Biracial Identity

Ms Belinda Crawford
Photos: Supplied
Ms Belinda Crawford

UKZN staff member Ms Belinda Crawford graduated with an Honours degree in Theology following self-study research examining her biracial identity in relation to Genesis 2-3 in the Bible to find belonging within South African society.

Crawford’s research was derived from a biblical methodology known as the tripolar method that allows the biblical text to be analysed within its context, followed by an individual analysing the context as a reader then appropriating the biblical meaning in the context of the individual as the reader.

While conducting the study, Crawford found it difficult to revisit aspects and events of her life lying dormant and that needed to be either addressed, challenged or affirmed. ‘I discovered meaning in my biracial identity and was utterly satisfied with it. I was able to shift my worldview from a marginalised view to inclusivity, meaning that I don’t view people in categories that promote segregation and division; however, I can be a social being in a society that is all-inclusive.’

Crawford hopes her research will benefit society from a racial perspective that protests against racial oppression, segregation, and suppression through religion or the religious text study. Her research also aims to inform society that everyone is included.

Her supervisor Professor Helen Keith-van Wyk said: ‘Belinda has overcome tremendous odds to complete her honours degree. Making her biracial identity the focus of her research is nothing short of heroic. To the best of my knowledge no-one has read Genesis 2-3 from the perspective of their biracial identity to date. Hers is thus a fresh contribution, and that at Honours level! As her supervisor, I couldn’t be happier. I am blessed and humbled to have walked this journey with her and look forward to walking alongside her academically as far as she wants to go.’

Director of the Ujamaa Centre for Community Development the Rev Sthembiso Zwane added: ‘Belinda’s academic journey can be characterised as an inspiration for emerging young scholars. She has managed to overcome most of the pitfalls to acquire her honours degree. Her commitment to excellency suggests that she is destined for success in the academia. The Ujamaa Centre for Community Development and Research team is proud of her achievement.’

Crawford thanked her family, friends and supervisor for their support.

She is currently working towards a Master’s degree in Theology