Urban Africa 2050
Gauteng City-Region, South Africa

2018: 14.717 million (GCRO, 2018)
2050: 25.184 million (Landau &Gindrey, 2008)

Host Institution
Institute for Urban Ministry

Overview of the City:
The African city of study is the Gauteng City-Region, the economic and administrative hub ofSouth Africa. Long before there was a city-region rocky ridges cascading into freshwater valleys sustained human settlements, migrations and economic development for thousands of years (Mabin 2013; Okihiro 1973; Rasmussen 1976, Van Schalkwyk 2014:3). The society and settlements started to take an urban turn with the establishment of Pretoria in 1855 and the Witwatersrand gold rush in the 1880s (Mabin 2013). According to reputable town planners, Fair and Mallows (1959:130), by 1896 ‘the polynuclear structure’ of the modern-day urban pattern was already formed. It was not until 2004 that the notion of the Gauteng City-Region functioning as a ‘continuous polycentric urban region’ captured the imagination of planning processes (Mabin 2013:3; SACN 2004:167). Today, we are enquiring how the Gauteng City-Region can be a flourishing African city in 2050 as urban theology engages urban planning

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  1. Ribbens, M. & De Beer, S.F., 2017, ‘Churches claiming a
    right to the city? Lived urbanisms in the City of
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  2. Ribbens, M.L. & Van Dyke, J., 2018, ‘Born from below: Urban regeneration through incarnational theological formation in Guatemala City and beyond’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 74(3), a5039. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i3.5039


  1. Doing Theology in the City
  2. Researching Urban Neighbourhoods
  3. Understanding Urban Congregations
  4. Understanding Urban Systems and Power
  5. Concrete Spirituality: Reading the Bible in the City,
  6. Making Ministry Multicultural
  7. Developing Community Ministries

Short courses:

  1. Intro to Urban Ministry (3-day),
  2. Starting and Sustaining Community Projects (3-day),
  3. Building Sustainable Urban Community Organizations (1-year)

Name: Michael
Surname: Ribbens
Position at the institution: Director, Institute for Urban Ministry
Email address: mribbens@crcna.org