African publics and the role of Christianity in fostering human-hood : a public pastoral care proposition within African pluralistic contexts / Vhumani Magezi
Quality life is an aspiration for all human beings. Hence, promoting and upholding quality human-hood or personhood (quality life) is the ultimate goal that international institutions, continental and regional bodies, as well as nations strive to achieve. Theology and Christian religion, from a faith perspective, is one player that should make a contribution. To that end, pastoral care as a frontline ministry is positioned to take a lead in performing that role within church settings. As this task is located within the public domain, pastoral ministry should adopt a public pastoral care dimension. However, to perform public pastoral care within African contexts, the target publics should be identified and described within the pluralistic contexts that people exist. This paper reflects on the notion of public pastoral care that is positioned at the nexus of practical theology, public theology and pastoral care to foster quality of life denoted by the term human-hood. The paper establishes a case for public pastoral care, spells out presuppositions underlying the notion of public pastoral care, describes an additional public called traditional African forum, and suggests the markers of public pastoral care to note. It ends by highlighting the challenges that public pastoral care theologians should consider and overcome.