Child Sexual Abuse Dialogue: The Place of Religious Sermon Discourses

Clemenciana Mukenge, Evans Chapanga, Prosper Takavarasha, Decide Miti


This article investigates the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe (AFM) church’s responses to the problem of child sexual abuse, through a discourse analysis of its sermons. Studies on this topic are scarce, and this study makes a modest contribution to this seemingly understudied area. AFM church was chosen as it is the oldest and fastest growing Pentecostal church in Zimbabwe. The study employs Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) as both a framework for conceptualising the sermon discourses and a methodological thrust. In the CDA scheme, discourse is perceived to be in a dialectical relationship with social reality. A total of thirty sermons collected using the Library Research technique, and purposively sampled, were analysed using Fairclough’s five-step model of data analysis. This involved identifying trends in discourse, interpreting the discourse patterns, evaluating the interpretations, drawing generalisations and lastly suggesting recommendations. It is indicated that, although religious sermons are organs of moral, social and political education, those delivered in the AFM church fail to address the horror of child sexual abuse, owing to various socio-cultural factors such as ideologies, taboos, gender inequalities and patriarchal attitudes. Recommended is the need for preachers to address this dilemma, given their power of influence in the society.

Keywords: Child Sexual Abuse; Sermon Discourse; AFM Church; Critical Discourse Analysis.

DOI: 10.7176/JPCR/46-01

Publication date: November 30th 2019

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