God willing, Mukhanyo will open a new advanced study centre in Durban next year. Preparations have already begun for January 2020. The centre will initially be based in the building of the Reformed Church Pinetown, until more suitable facilities are secured.
The expectation is that the centre will be able to start with some ten BTh Degree of Theology students. Diploma-level qualification will remain available at the various distance learning centres in the greater area.
A number of diploma students from the fifteen distance learning centres in KwaZulu-Natal have indicated that they want to continue their degree-level studies as soon as they have completed the diploma. But these potential degree students are unable to study in KwaMhlanga, Johannesburg or Pretoria. These centres are too far away to enable them to serve in their home churches over weekends. So the degree qualification will be offered in Durban with lectures running from Tuesdays to Thursdays.
In Durban, initial facilities are available, the centre manager has been appointed (see the next article) and a start has been made to recruit lecturers and other staff. In addition, fund raising for this centre has also begun.
Durban will be Mukhanyo’s fourth advanced learning centre. Besides the main campus in KwaMhlanga (now in its 26th year), the Johannesburg and Pretoria centres started a number of years ago, while the Rustenburg centre was upgraded to an advanced learning centre earlier this year. All this development is in addition to more than 70 distance learning centres with 650 active students all over the country and beyond.
Why Durban? Mukhanyo was invited by a number of church leaders to explore possibilities in Durban for a degree programme. After initial explorations, the great need became more apparent. There is now a growing coalition of local leaders and churches who have joined in to support this new centre.
Additionally, this location was chosen since it is a large metropole with an estimated population of 3,8 million, and it is in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal with 11,5 million people. Over many years much ministry work has been done in this province, but there are no suitable Bible training colleges in the greater area. In addition, low-intensity conflict and political instability over many years in KZN has resulted in much social disruption.
But there are many faithful pastors and churches in the area who have been doing excellent groundwork over the years. This had provided fertile potential to build on. It is our hope that the training of pastors and other church leaders will be an important next step to grow churches and stabilise communities.