Prof Rantoa Letšosa apppointed as UFS Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion

Prof Rantoa Letšosa. Photo: Johan Roux

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) approved the appointment of Prof Rantoa Letsosa as Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion during a meeting held on 23 November 2018. He will start at the UFS on 1 January 2019 as Dean Designate: Faculty of Theology and Religion, as the current Dean, Prof Fanie Snyman will retire on 31 August 2019. Prof Letšosa will assume office on 1 September 2019 as Dean.

“Prof Letšosa’s experience and scholarly contributions are most valuable to the university and the faculty. He has a good understanding of the higher-education sector and extensive management experience. I look forward to working with him and to welcome him to the university,” says Prof Francis Peterson, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

Prof Letšosa is currently professor in the Faculty of Theology at the North-West University (NWU). He holds a PhD in Practical Theology (Liturgics). He has been involved in church work from the age of 21, first as deacon and later as elder, scribe, and treasurer. He served in various church councils. After matric, he worked as security guard for one year and completed a certificate course in Basic Programming with Intec College.

In 1991, he started his Theological studies at the then Hammanskraal Theological Seminary and completed his BA degree in 1993. In 1994, he did a BA Honours in Greek at Unisa. While busy with his Honours degree in 1995, he was appointed as junior part-time researcher in the Faculty of Arts at Unisa. In 1996, he did an MA in Greek and passed with distinction. During this period, he completed a ThB and BA (Hons) in Theology.

In 2000, he was ordained as minister of the Reformed Church Boskop and the Reformed Church Tlokwe-Botshabela. He completed his PhD in 2005, and in 2010 he became the first black Vice-Rector of the Theological School Potchefstroom (TSP), and in 2011 the first black Director of the School for Ecclesiastical Studies in the Faculty of Theology. In 2012, he was reappointed as Vice-Rector of Academic Affairs in the TSP for a second term. In 2013, he became Director of the School of Ministers’ Training in the NWU Faculty of Theology and received the prestigious HELM Award (Higher Education Leadership Management Award). In the same year, he applied for full professorship, and later that year was appointed Vice-Rector: Teaching-Learning at the NWU. He served in many boards and professional bodies as director, in editorial boards, and in different portfolios, including as chairperson of the Society for Practical Theology in South Africa.

Prof Letšosa’s interest is in Practical Theology, with special focus on black culture. He has (co)supervised more than 10 MA students and several PhD students – some still under his supervision. He also acted as external examiner for more than 20 master’s and PhD students from different institutions. He wrote several articles, both popular and peer reviewed. His PhD was published and became a prescribed work for students.

“I intend to take the lead in connecting the UFS Faculty of Theology and Religion with the many churches in Africa. Many churches have untrained ministers and it is now the requirement of the South African government that ministers should at least have some theological training. I believe that the UFS can take the lead in this endeavour. I also believe that the faculty can build more networks and be exposed to different academic societies that have not yet been explored. Partnerships with many other institutions abroad could easily realise, and as a result the research can be improved even further,” he says.