Last updated: 15 November 2017
worldviews || culture || justice || freedom || beauty || morality & ethics || national identity & expression
Personhood and human identity has seldom been so central to cultural debates as it is now and yet, all cultural and political discourse has always revolved around the question, “What does it mean to be human and how do we live human lives as members of local and global communities?”
Assuming there is in fact a way of truth that leads to life and beauty, what do laws, traditions, customs, institutions and creative expressions look like which will facilitate individuals towards personhood in community?
I seek to commit myself to the interpretation and evaluation of cultural narratives by which individuals, communities and societies understand reality and their own humanity, from which they aspire to live free and meaningful lives.
After obtaining qualifications in commerce and marketing and working in the Cape wine industry for nearly five years, I began pursuing this vision through graduate studies in theology and involvement in learning communities. During these studies I focussed on themes related to personhood, salvation, worldviews and political theology. Most recently, I completed an MA in Philosophy by Research taught by Sir Roger Scruton through the University of Buckingham, under the supervision of Samuel Hughes. (scroll down to read my full story)
My research thesis was titled, Reforming Individualism: A Critique of Sartre’s Account of the Self and Responsibility.
“I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Servaas first as a theology student, and then later as a conversation and ministry partner through East Mountain near Stellenbosch. His is a relentlessly inquiring mind complemented by a gentle and inviting personality. A rare combination in a young man passionate about truth, and thus a real gift to the Christian community.”
-Dr James B Krohn, KRUX Centre for Christianity and Culture
While reading for my MA degree through Buckingham, I participated as a non-residential member in the Community of St Anselm, as per the invitation of Anglican Archbishop, Justin Welby, to ‘spend a year in God’s time’. This was a formational experience through which many questions relating to faith and humanity was posed in a very personal manner.
“Servaas lived as a residential member of the East Mountain Community for three years and for two of those years served as the Residential Advisor, helping to shepherd and care for the other Residents and many guests from all over the world. His humility, intellectual curiosity and unique ability to relate across cultures made him an invaluable member of our missional community. Wherever he goes, Servaas is sure to make an impact for the Kingdom of God.”
– Gabriel Smith, Co-Founder and Director of East Mountain
I am currently exploring employment opportunities related to my background and vision while I will continue to conduct personal research into these matters and in time hope to enrol in a PhD course in the field of philosophical theology. I would love to keep you informed of my whereabouts and experiences via an occasional newsletter. Register your interest by sending me a personal message.
Through my Servaas Hofmeyr Study Fund I invite you to assist me in exploring these questions. The target amount pertains roughly to the next step in this journey but you are invited to partner with me both during and beyond the year that lies ahead.
EFT to my South African account
Acc.: ABSA Depositor Plus Acc. nr: 9320829482 Branch Code: 632005
Reference: SHSF_your surname (feel free to remain anonymous)
Make a deposit to my UK account
Acc.: HSBC Basic Account Acc. nr: 71853740 Sort Code: 40-06-07
Reference: SHSF_your surname (feel free to remain anonymous)
No contribution is too insignificant and all contributions are greatly appreciated.
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READ MY FULL STORY BELOW
Along the Augustinian notion that people are united in the loved things they hold in common, I hope to invite and encourage people to “love better things so that we might become a better people”; a people able to recognise and pursue beauty. In talking about ‘better things’ and ‘beauty’ we assume truth could be known; if not fully, at least intimately. I believe it is crucial that society continues to appreciate the uniquely valuable contribution the Biblical view, with its positive affirmation of truth, brings to public discourse and the sustaining of free and flourishing human societies. In light of this, I intend to play an active role in equipping the Church to be a thinking people, able to participate in the public square within pluralistic societies, and so continue to contribute to the common good as they seek God’s peace and prosperity where they dwell as a people who seek life through the Cross.
Where it began…
I was personally challenged, while a senior student at Stellenbosch University, to seek out wisdom and gain understanding. The “unexamined life” became unliveable to me, to echo Socrates. It was my turn to face up to the question we all face at one time or another: who am I? What does it mean for us to be human and how do we live proper human lives? I believe this remains the greatest question we face as society today. This ongoing evaluation of my personal worldview naturally grew into a greater critique of cultural interpretations of truth. As it turned out, Wisdom was in fact seeking me out, calling me to pursue life in Christ. With this call began my active participation in God’s mission in and restoration of the world; seeking to engage the public square through reason and, importantly, by example; seeking a peaceful society based on the Biblical view of the world.
The journey so far…
After my studies I worked in the Cape wine industry, being drawn to wine as a global product which is so central to the human experience and the creative cultural expressions of cultivation, labour and celebration. During this time I was given the opportunity to complete a graduate degree in theology (SATS through Shofar Institute ) and exchanged my former career path in order to pursue my call and passion. It was a costly decision in many ways but also one which I could not refuse to make. I completed my degree in theology, focussing mainly on the themes of personhood, worldviews and political theology. During this time I joined a cross-cultural community (East Mountain ) which provided me with the opportunity to live experientially what I am pursuing academically. I have since completed the University of Buckingham’s MA in Philosophy by Research programme where I enjoyed the opportunity of studying under philosopher, Sir Roger Scruton. During my year of study in the UK, I was a non-residential member of the St Anselm Community at Lambeth Palace and lived as a resident in a London-based postgraduate student residence – the multicultural, multifaith student community based in the International Lutheran Student Centre. This provided me with the opportunity to participate in and serve through community alongside my academic engagement.
The journey so far could be described as a walk of faith, as opportunity and provision has always come from beyond what I envisioned or was able to obtain. One of the great motivators on this road is the excitement and encouragement of others with whom I share my passion and vision. I will continue along this path and am therefore inviting you to invest in my journey if you are one of those excited by what I am pursuing.
Joining me in the next step…
I am now back in South Africa, looking to be employed in the broader Cape Peninsula and Winelands area, ideally in a capacity of researcher and communicator with regard to personhood, worldview and related ethical questions. I will look into opportunities in private or public institutes, learning communities, and corporate organisations. I will remain a life-long learner, reading and writing as I continue on this journey, and eventually hope to enrol in a PhD course to further equip myself for the role of researcher and communicator. My long term vision is to become established as a researcher who seeks to interpret, practice and communicate a Christian understanding of personhood and reality in conversation with alternative understandings.