At 29, Mantima Thekiso is one of the youngest ordained ministers in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. She brings a sound theological understanding and strong academic background to her role, making her arguably one of the country’s most gifted ministers. She strives to empower young people through education and insight and is currently enrolled for her PhD in theology. Thekiso’s work challenges complacent dogmas and ideologies, introducing fresh ways of looking at theology and reaching young minds.
“I draw inspiration from real life faith encounters with women and men who seek to make sense of the world through the lens of their faith,” she says.
“I find it interesting that part of the human quest is to make sense of the role that faith plays in everyday life experiences.”
Thekiso is also inspired by theological education that seeks to challenge previously accepted forms of theological research, mostly male, westernised and elitist, which don’t always communicate to the lived experiences of African people.
“My role, I believe, affords me the opportunity to use my convictions of faith and pair these with theological training in ways that allow me to influence for positive change and the restoration of human dignity in the communities I serve, and to challenge previous biblical readings which have contributed to the adverse treatment of those who are on the margins of society – women, children, the poor and the marginalised,” she says.
Thekiso’s passion is to work with young people and improve their quality of life in terms of moral regeneration and in encouraging participation. Her hope is to see people’s lives positively enhanced through church participation while emphasising the role that religious education has to play.
“It is through this role that I find the space to be an active citizen in moulding our society,” she concludes. “I plan to be even more involved in the education and training of those who seek to follow their calling into ministry and who wish to study theology for their personal benefit.” —Tamsin Oxford