The vision of Mercy Amba Oduyoye an African feminist theologian and educator: Pedagogy of human dignity

Bartholomew Udealo Chidili, Fordham University


This study investigates the meaning of human dignity through the lens of Mercy Amba Oduyoye, an African feminist theologian and educator. In order to disclose the potential meaning of human dignity Oduyoye's corpus of writings were thoroughly analyzed. The analysis reveals that equal right to participate in all things, co-responsibility, shared power, shared glory and equal respect for both genders are the essential requirement for authentic human dignity. The study further affirms the liberation of men and women from the uncritical acceptance of a heritage that enthrones hierarchies and declares patriarchy to be the will of God. Moreover, the analysis roots the whole idea of human dignity in the image of God. It contends that tracing human beings back to God will halt the imposition of derogative divisions on humanity. Chapter One treats feminist consciousness as an inevitability that needs urgent attention. To tackle the subject effectively, Mercy Amba Oduyoye was chosen. The study of her life history provided a socio-cultural context for this study. Chapter Two unearths all the known oppressive institutions and behaviors, such as patriarchy, sexism, segregation and poverty perpetrated on women by men in their cultural behaviors and thematically discussed them. While the author regrets the global prevalence of such experiences, he however placed them on the table ostensibly for communal discussion that would lead to an honest redressing of the abnormalities. Chapter Three deals with the theological vision of Mercy Amba Oduyoye. The chapter discovers that Mercy's theology is neither the traditional systematic nor dogmatic theology. Rather it is liberationist and feminist. Hence African women's bitter social experiences turned out to be the focal point. The chapter further charged the church with the responsibility of reforming its structures to create a hearth-hold where all children would interrelate equally regardless of people's sexual and or class orientation. Chapter Four names miseducation as the key problem inherent in the concept of human dignity. The chapter unveils domestication and elitism as the potential cause of miseducation. Besides, the work discovers storytelling as an image-making agent, which the African education must rely upon to achieve the new required image of African women.

Subject Area

Religious education|Womens studies|Theology|Biographies

Recommended Citation

Chidili, Bartholomew Udealo, "The vision of Mercy Amba Oduyoye an African feminist theologian and educator: Pedagogy of human dignity" (2003). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3081402.