Original Research

COVID-19 and resilience through Integral Mission: The impact of Social Enablement as Mission in previously disadvantaged communities in South Africa during the COVID-19 disaster

Phillipus J. Buys, Jane M. Korevaar, Guy R. Stubbs
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 54, No 1 | a2663 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v54i1.2663 | © 2020 Phillipus J. Buys, Jane M. Korevaar, Guy R. Stubbs | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 July 2020 | Published: 17 December 2020

About the author(s)

Phillipus J. Buys, School for Ecclesiastical Science, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Jane M. Korevaar, Management and Administration, Reformational Study Centre, Kameeldrift, Pretoria, South Africa
Guy R. Stubbs, Khanyisani Trust, Centurion, South Africa


The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic is seen as the most severe global disaster in history since the Second World War. How do two similar previously disadvantaged communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic disaster? In the uMfolozi, community in KwaZulu-Natal, an intensive integral mission project through social enablement has been piloted during the past five years. In the Thembalethu community in Kwamhlanga, Mpumalanga, Social Enablement as Mission was about to be started when COVID-19 and, subsequently, the lockdown struck South Africa. This article summarises the key missiological and sociological principles of integral mission being done through Social Enablement and then compares and reflects on the response of 100 households in each of the communities on how they are handling the COVID-19 disaster. The article evaluates the developing resilience against disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic that Social Enablement as Integral Mission has had on the uMfolozi community and compares it with the Thembalethu community. Finally, some recommendations are suggested on how to strengthen the resilience of people living in previously disadvantaged and poor communities through Social Development as a vital aspect of Integral Mission.


Integral Mission; Social Enablement as Mission; COVID-19 disaster; coronavirus; Asset Based Community Development (ABCD); community development.


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