Cura vocalis.

An interdisciplinary exploration of voice care in service of preaching


  • Cas Wepener US, praktiese teologie & missiologie
  • Dr Stellenbosch University, Department of Practical Theology & Missiology



Speech and Language Pathology, Practical Theology, Homiletics, Preaching, Voice use


In this article the fields of speech and language pathology and of homiletics join hands to explore the theological and spiritual aspects of preaching in combination with the aspects influencing voice production in the (South) African context; this is done to highlight the importance of reflexivity/self-awareness and the self-care of preachers. The main aim of the article is to promote the need for a distinctly (South) African cura vocalis by exploring factors that influence preaching and use of voice in this context. This aim is pursued by firstly describing preaching as a performance that involves the whole human body. The article then describes and discusses the challenges that preachers face in the (South) African context. These homiletical and contextual insights are augmented with insights from the domain of speech and language pathology, which includes a brief description of the main organs involved in voice production and how voice works, along with factors that have an impact on voice production and vocal quality. The final section presents the need for a cura vocalis in the service of a cura homiletica, which promotes early intervention to deal with voice pathologies related to the practice of preaching as well as methods to prevent such pathologies from developing.