Discipline of Practical Theology

Prof Marilyn Naidoo

College of Human Sciences
School of Humanities
Tel: 012 429 4547
E-mail: Naidom2@unisa.ac.za


  • Doctorate in Practical Theology (DTh), 2005, University of Zululand

NRF Rating


Field of Specialisation

  • Empirical Research in Theology (CGM 3704)
  • Faith Development (CGM 2604)
  • Religious Education and Christian Ministry (PTH4803 /PTH422C)
  • Theological Education
  • Diversity within Christian practice
  • Spirituality/ Spiritual Formation


  • 2015. Naidoo, M. (Editor). Contested issues in training ministers in South Africa. Sun Media: Stellenbosch, 180 pages
  • 2012. Naidoo, M. (Editor). Between the Real and the Ideal: Ministerial Formation in South Africa Churches. Unisa Press; Pretoria, 184 pages

Books chapters:

  • 2019. Naidoo, M. Racism, whiteness and transformation: reforming the space of theological education in South Africa, in Auli Vähäkangas, Sivert Angel, and Kirstine Hellboe Johansen, (Eds) Reforming Practical Theology: The Politics of Body and Space. International Academy of Practical Theology: Conference Series, 1: 177-184. 
  • 2018.  Naidoo, M. The impact of human rights discourses on the multi-faith space of South African higher education, in Tania ap Sion, Jeff Astley, Leslie J. Francis, David W. Lankshear (Eds) Values, Human Rights and Religious Education: Contested Grounds, Oxford: Peter Lang, 155- 171.
  • 2015.  Naidoo, M. Dealing with the Other: Managing diversity in theological education. In Naidoo, M. (Ed), Contested issues in training ministers in South Africa, Sun Media: Stellenbosch, 71-83.
  • 2015. Naidoo, M. Key words “Diversity in Theological Education” and “Ministerial Formation”. In Mark A. Lamport & George Thomas Kurian (Eds), Encyclopaedia of Christian   Education, Scarecrow Press, Lanham, Maryland.
  • 2013. Naidoo M. Spiritual Formation in Theological Education. In Werner, D, Phiri, I (Eds). Handbook on African Theological Education, London: Regnum Books UK, 755-770. 16 pages
  • 2012. Naidoo, M. Ministerial formation in South Africa: The way forward. In  Naidoo, M. (Ed). Ministerial Formation in South Africa. Unisa Press; Pretoria, 157-177.
  • 2010. Naidoo, M. Spiritual Formation in Theological Education. In  Werner, D, Esterline, D & Raja, J. (Eds) Handbook on Theological Education in World Christianity, London: Regnum Books UK , 185-195.

Journal articles

  • 2019. Naidoo, M. The nature and application of formational learning in the distance medium, HTS Theological Studies, 75 (1), 1-8.
  • 2018. Strecker, A. & Naidoo, M. 2018. The dynamics of multicultural Youth Ministry in a changing South Africa, Missionalia 46 (1), 163–182.
  • 2017. Naidoo, M. The potential of multicultural congregations in supporting social reconciliation, HTS Theological Studies, 73 (4), 1-8.
  • 2017. Naidoo, M. Challenging the status quo of an institutional culture in theological training, Stellenbosch Theological Journal 3 (2),
  • 2017. Naidoo, M. The globalising effect of commercialisation and commodification in African theological education, HTS Theological Studies 73 (3), 1-8.
  • 2016. Naidoo, M. Liberative Black Theology: A case-study of race in theological education. Acta Theologica, Supplementum 24,157-177.
  • 2016. Naidoo, M. An ethnographic study on managing diversity in two Protestant theological colleges, HTS Theological Studies, 74 (2), 1-8.
  • 2016. Naidoo, M. & De Beer, S. Diversity: Negotiating difference in Christian communities, HTS Theological Studies, 72 (3), 1-8.
  • 2016.  Naidoo, M. Overcoming alienation in Africanising theological education. HTS Theological Studies, 71(3), 1-7.
  • 2015. Naidoo, M. Ministerial Formation and Practical Theology. International Journal of Practical Theology, 19 (1), 1-25.
  • 2015.  Naidoo, M. A REDCo study: Learners’ perspectives on religious education and religious diversity in Catholic schools in South Africa. Journal for the Study of Religion, 28 (1), 165-201.
  • 2015. Naidoo, M. & Thomas, D. Moral formation: the motivations of young adults in the moral decision-making process in the Charismatic tradition. The South African Baptist Journal of Theology, 24, 179-207.
  • 2015. Naidoo, M. & Sutcliffe-Pratt, D. A Study of a Relevant Contextual Christian Education Model within a Township Baptist Convention Church. The South African Baptist Journal of Theology, 24, 175-178.
  • 2015. Naidoo, M. Transformative remedies towards managing diversity in South African theological education. HTS Theological Studies, 71 (2), 1-7.
  • 2014. Naidoo, M. Student Attitudes Towards Religious Diversity in Catholic schools in South Africa. Religious Education Journal of Australia, 30 (2), 32 -37
  • 2014. Naidoo, M. African identity and the challenge of modernity. Theologia Viatorum 38(1):1-14.
  • 2014. Naidoo, M. Racial diversity and social cohesion in South African theological education. The South African Baptist Journal of Theology, 23, 242-255.
  • 2014. Naidoo, M. The potential of spiritual leadership in workplace spirituality.  Koers: Bulletin for Christian Scholarship, 79 (2),1-8.
  • 2013. Naidoo, M. Engaging difference in values education and religious identity formation in South African schools. Alternation,10, 54-75.
  • 2013. Naidoo, M. Persistent issues impacting on the training of ministers in the South African context. Scriptura, 112:1-16.
  • 2012. Naidoo, M. Ministerial formation of theological students through distance education. HTS Theological Studies 68, 1-8.
  • 2012. Naidoo, M. Approaches to ministerial formation in theological education in South Africa. Theologia Viatorum 36(1), 50 - 75.
  • 2012. Naidoo, M. Spiritual formation at the Baptist Convention College of South Africa: A qualitative study. The South African Baptist Journal of Theology. 21,159-171.
  • 2012. Naidoo, M. Spiritual formation at the Baptist Convention College of South Africa: A quantitative study. The South African Baptist Journal of Theology. 21, 172-187.
  • 2011. Naidoo, M. For “An empirical study on spiritual formation at theological training institutions in South Africa”. Religion and Theology, 18, 118-146.
  • 2011.Naidoo, M.  Citizenship Education, Religion Education and Religious Identity in public schooling in South Africa. Theologia Viatorum, 35(1), 28-60.
  • 2010. Naidoo, M.  Ministerial Training: the need for pedagogies of formation and contextualization in theological education.  Missionalia, 38 (3), 347-368.
  • 2008. Naidoo, M. The Call for Spiritual Formation in Protestant Theological Institutions in South Africa. Acta Theologica, Supplement 11, 128- 146.
  • 2008. Naidoo, M. Iviyo as African Spiritual Direction. Practical Theology in South Africa Journal, 23 (2), 102 – 119.
  • 2006. Naidoo, M. The healing work of Spiritual Direction.  Practical Theology in South Africa Journal, 21(3), 139-154.
  • 2005. Naidoo, M. Spiritual Direction: Assumptions and Application. Practical Theology in South Africa Journal, 20(1), 59-76.

Professional positions, fellowships & awards

Local Academic Memberships:

  • Member for the Society of Practical Theology South Africa (PTSA), from 2003 to current
  • Executive Committee member for the Society of Practical Theology South Africa (PTSA), from 2010-2014
  • Member of the Society of Spirituality of South Africa (SPIRISA), from 2009 to current
  • current 
  • Member of Association of the Study of Religion in Southern Africa (ASARA), current

International Academic Memberships:

  • Member of International Academy of Practical Theology (IAPT), from 2011 to current
  • Member of International Seminar on Religious Education and Values (ISREV), from 2012 to current
  • Member of International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education (IAPCHE), from 2015 to current
  • Member of Advisory Committee of Global Forum of Theological Educators, from 2015 to current

Editorial Boards

  • Editorial Board member of the Journal of Practical Theology in South Africa from 2010 to current
  • Editorial Board member of the International Journal of Adult Theological Education (JATE), from 2011 to current
  • Editorial Board member of Religious Education Journal of Australia (REJA), from 2014 to current

Professional Bodies:

  • Board Member of Professional Body (SAQA/QCTO) Association of Ministry Training Practitioners, from 2014 to current
  • Evaluator of Theological Programmes at the Council of Higher Education (HEQC/CHE), from 2009 to current


  • 2008-2010 NRF Thuthuka Grant holder (principal)
  • 2011 Pre-proposal grant by SANPAD (SA-Netherlands Partnership for Alternatives in Development). Colloborative project on Religious Identity in public schools
  • 2012 REDCo II Research, Grant from College of Human Science, UNISA
  • 2013 Leadership in Research Women Award - College of Human Science
  • 2013-2015 NRF Thuthuka Rating-Track Grant holder (principal)
  • 2017-2019 NRF CSUR Grant holder (principal)


Project 1 – African Theological Advance – Integrated Ministerial Education in African theological institutions: 2018-2020

The project will conduct a descriptive and theoretical study on integrative ministerial formation within Protestant theological institutions incorporating African values such as communalism, cooperation and interdependence. The goal is to evidence a holistic approach, combining both curricular and extracurricular activities in an educational plan, which embraces concern for the students' spiritual and vocational as well as academic development. This project is hosted at the Baptist Theological College, South Africa with three research sites: South Africa, Ghana and Zambia.   

Project 2 – National Research Foundation – Multicultural Congregations and Social Cohesion: 2017-2019

Multicultural congregations are well equipped to articulate powerful, discursive justifications for social reconciliation. Although not common in South Africa, there are congregations that successfully reach across race and cultural lines to attract adherents. This study seeks to present a theory of congregational identity to account for why some congregations succeed at accommodating multiple racial groups in a society where religious life remains overwhelmingly segregated. Masters and Doctoral bursaries are attached to this project.

Project 3 - National Research Foundation - Culture and Formation in Theological Education: 2013-2015

The aim of this ethnographic study was to understand the critical role of institutional culture in relationship to student formation. Special focus was given to understand how theological institutions deal with diversity within this institutional culture and how these interactions of dealing with diversity form and prepare future religious leaders.

Project 4 - REDCO II – Religious Diversity in Catholic schools: 2012-2013

Collaborative follow-up project: Religion in Education. Contribution to Dialogue or Conflict in transforming societies of European Countries (REDCo). The aim was to establish and compare the potentials and limitations of religion in the educational fields of selected European countries and South Africa. The main theoretical stimulus was the interpretive approach to the study of religious diversity.

Project 5 - National Research Foundation - Spiritual Formation in Theological Education: 2008-2010 

Descriptive study on the practice of spiritual formation within Protestant theological institutions with the aim to develop a Scale as an assessment tool to test the spiritual formation emphasis. This study highlighted spiritual and moral values in the theological education process that affect the quality of religious leaders trained.