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The Rights of Children: A New Agenda For Practical Theology in South Africa

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The aim of this article is to give prominence to the rights of children as a new agenda for Practical Theology in South Africa. Adopting a distinctly contextual approach, the article takes a critical look at the problematic situation of children in present-day South Africa and then focuses attention on the emergence of a children's rights agenda, both internationally and in South African society. A discussion of these aspects leads the authors to address pertinently the issue of Christian theology's complementary role in the children's rights agenda, which, however, is problematised in the light of theology's one-sided and limited involvement thus far in the issue of children. It is argued that a practical theological paradigm – in which a praxis of liberation, change and transformation is of prime importance – should reflect an active involvement in the children's rights agenda. In the light of the special realities of South African society, the importance of meeting distinct contextual and hermeneutical challenges is stated as condition for an effective practical theological involvement in the problematics of the rights of children.

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