Original Research

Religion and poverty alleviation in South Africa

Mathias Yuvan Shunmugam
Theologia Viatorum | Vol 48, No 1 | a224 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/tv.v48i1.224 | © 2024 Mathias Yuvan Shunmugam | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 September 2023 | Published: 27 February 2024

About the author(s)

Mathias Yuvan Shunmugam, Department of Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


South Africa, like all nations, faces several societal ills. In recent years, poverty has seen an increase in its prevalence rates – gaining attention from local, national, and international institutions. Poverty as a global phenomenon has existed for centuries and is predicted to continue for the foreseeable future. Amid this gloomy prediction, religion offers a beacon of hope. Religious communities provide a sense of comfort, security, and hope for a better future. However, they are also institutions capable of great social change and influence. Considering South Africa’s diverse and large religious community, the question of how religious communities can support poverty alleviation efforts and curb the growth of poverty becomes important, necessary, and relevant to the existing discourse on multilateral collaboration towards poverty alleviation.

Contribution: This article contributes to understanding different religious views on poverty towards understanding the importance of the religious community and interfaith dialogue and collaboration in addressing the growth of poverty in South Africa.


religion; interfaith dialogue; poverty; South Africa; poverty alleviation; social change; multilateral collaboration; theology

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 1: No poverty


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