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Abstract

In terms of goals and approaches, the potentials of religion and faith communities have had a prolonged marginalisation from the rather intense academic and political engagements in the suitability discourse with a consensus on the concept of sustainability as both an approach and a goal. In this paper, I argue that the highly religious African context would require a religiously inspired and phrased recourse towards a comprehensive sustainability, rather than a solely secular concept of environmental sustainability. This is much more so when environmental sustainability is largely a secular vision of a religious one – environmental stewardship. Ignoring the beliefs, norms and values that faith communities generate in motivating human decisions and practical responsibilities that religious stewardship impose on the religious, would be working against any contextually pragmatic sustainability discourse in Africa. Therefore, using the Sabbath, this article suggests that the religious concept of environmental stewardship provides promise for a viable and workable moral framework for sustainability discourse in Africa. The paper concludes that this is practically realisable in two main ways (i) religious groups themselves as individuals or institutions/groups developing environmental sustainability norms and values, such as those of the Sabbath, as a moral duty, and (ii) religious norms and values, such as that of the Sabbath, serving as eco-dimensional resources for sustainable thinking.

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