The Ujamaa Centre is the product of the merger of two independent organisations, the Institute for the Study of the Bible (established in 1989 in the then Department of Theological Studies of the University of Natal) and the House of Studies for Worker Ministry (established in 1994 as a Non-Governmental Organisation). These two organisations merged in 1998, forming a single entity, the Ujamaa Centre, within the School of Religion and Theology, recognised by the University of KwaZulu-Natal as a community development and research centre.
The day-to-day work of the Ujamaa Centre is managed by the Management Committee, consisting of all Ujamaa Centre full-time staff and representatives of the School of Religion and Theology. All Ujamaa Centre full-time staff are also staff of the School of Religion and Theology. In addition, the Ujamaa Centre has an Advisory Board which offers guidance and direction to the organisation.
The management structure of the Ujamaa Centre consists of a Director, a Deputy Director, and a Financial Director. Each of these management positions are filled from the Programme Coordinator staff of the Ujamaa Centre.
The Ujamaa Centre currently has seven Programmes:
- Research and Pedagogy
- Advocacy and Leadership Development
- Women and Gender
- Theology and Economic Justice
- Solidarity with People Living with HIV and AIDS
- Religion and Governance
- Economic Justice
- Community-based Service-learning.
These Programmes are generated and shaped by the contextual realities of particular socio-historical moments in South Africa.
Here is a diagram that illustrates the management structure and programmes of Ujamaa:
The Ujamaa Centre is located in the School of Religion and Theology (SoRaT). Given that our primary tools are biblical and theological, this location is strategic and deliberate. Being organically linked to SoRaT not only provides access to important resources for our work, it also enables the Ujamaa Centre to have a direct impact on theological education and so the formation of new generations of church and community leaders.
The institutional location of the organisation within a University is not, however, the primary social location of the Ujamaa Centre. Our primary social location is among particular communities of the poor, the working-class, and the marginalised. Our seven Programmes serve these constituencies. The special "giftedness" of Ujamaa Centre staff is their ability to make use of the University's resources for local communities. The Ujamaa Centre's institutional location enables us to make a direct contribution to the training of theological leadership in South Africa and beyond.
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