liberation theology in africa
Introduction. The PAC unequivocally abhorred totalitarianism. Apartheid policies were formulated by trained theologians. Eerdmans & African World Press: Grand Rapids ,Michigan & Trenton, New Jersey, 1995. In the United States, black liberation theology is preached in some churches such as Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ. South African black theology has some features in common with North American Black Theology and with South American liberation theology, but it has also been shaped by the South African situation. From Reasonsing from the Scriptures Ministries. Black Christianity is fundamentally grounded in a liberation theology that is unique to the African-American experience during forced immigration from Africa, migration around the colonies through the slave trade, and while living their lives as human property. Granted, some of their theologians have since seen the foolishness of their ways and admitted to an error of judgement. Liberation theologies existed long before they became academic disciplines in the both the Latin American and African American contexts. According to Steve Biko, the man who articulated Black Conciousness so many years ago in South Africa, Africans must accept their blackness and humanness and identity as children of God whether or not the rest of the world ever does. Now that would have been a miracle! African Liberation Theology books. “As women resent these stereotypes,” she states, “so Africa must refuse this female typology” (Oduyoye.). I think this, I suppose, because I recognize that violence has never really bought or gained freedom, though I can clearly see the virtue of going to war against an evil like the Rwandan government during the 1994 genocide. Later that day, or the next day, I listened to one speaker say he was tired of people claiming that God didn’t love women as much as he loved men because, after all, who had he chosen to carry his son for nine months, and who had he entrusted with the raising of his son, and if that didn’t prove exactly how high God placed women in the spectrum of humankind, what did? I was at the beginning of what would become the unraveling of my faith, and I was hurting over my place, as a woman, in the church I loved. According to church theologian/scholar John Parratt, feminist theology is the “second generation” of liberation theology. Religious beliefs are an integral part of the way of life of the African people. I have described liberation theology in South Africa as of 'dubious authenticity'. Liberation theology has moved beyond the poor peasants in South and Central America. A few years ago, however, I committed myself to pacifism, then retreated into a limited pacifism, and now find myself wondering once again if total pacifism isn’t the right response. I so desperately wanted to find my place, I so desperately didn’t want to be a second-class citizen, I so desperately wanted everyone to understand that I was of equal value as a woman and that I was smarter and more adept and better equipped to take on the challenges of life than many men I knew and why in the year of grace 1995 I should still be questioning my status as a woman was beyond me. Liberation theology generally refers to a theology applied to the core concerns of marginalized communities in need of social, political, or economic equality and justice. Their false prophets made the promise of divine providence over minions and savages who know no god. These, too, are acts of faith and of prayer, but they are not necessarily recognized by formal religion.) They committed to spread the gospel that confessed to a God of the poor, as an essential point of view of their theological task. Studia Theologica Lundensia 42. This chapter introduces Catholic theology in Africa. Black theology, or black liberation theology, refers to a theological perspective which originated among African-American seminarians and scholars, and in some black churches in the United States and later in other parts of the world. It is still accused of being thinly disguised communism, as evidenced by the words of the book of Acts cited above. By Per Frostin. That Mangaliso Sobukwe stated that Christianity was misrepresented in South Africa meant it could possibly find its true advocates in the new theologians for African liberation. I asked directly: “You mean to tell me that even though I know I’m smarter than many men”—including you, I wanted to say, but didn’t—“and I can prove that empirically, I am still inferior to them intellectually?”, “Yes,” he said. “Because of what’s happened in Zimbabwe, the increasing violence and how the Government is using violence against the opposition, I’ve had to question the whole use of violence,” she says. While Latin American liberation theology focused on class oppression, Black Liberation Theology focused on race, or better, melanin. Church leaders and theological educators as often as not have assumed that African Theology denotes little more than providing traditional Christian theology with an African face,.furnishing Christian truth with contextually sensitive illustrations and applications. Even more radical than Sr. Janice’s involvement, this commitment led some priests and nuns to join guerrilla movements and kill in the name of justice. This falsehood gravitated into the practice of Herrenvolk beliefs and white supremacy. A quest(ion), after all, points to a quest, a search. Chapter 2 provides a historical sketch of origins and development of African theology and diverse types of African theology. Liberation theology generally refers to a theology applied to the core concerns of marginalized communities in need of social, political, or economic equality and justice. “That’s what the Bible says.”, (As an aside, I don’t know where my hurt came from. It said said the church should act to bring about social change, and should ally itself with the working class to do so. Faith could be expressed as a love for freedom of self and of society. As Liberation Theologies in the United States demonstrates, this critical use of religion has often taken the form of liberation theologies, which use primarily Christian principles to address questions of social justice, including racism, poverty, and other types of oppression. Africa is “humble” and “grateful”; if she attempts to assert equality, the world “frowns” and she is persecuted, both openly and covertly. The advantage of this formulation has been that there is a place for liberation theologies after political liberation, as is the case in South Africa. My beating, beating, beating against them with fists was a normal reaction; there was no way they could atone for what they had done. Many years ago, when I was ensconced in the evangelical Christian world, I spent a few months in Australia listening to rather rabid lay theologians suggest how we should view the world. Although liberation theology has been known world-wide as a Latin American concept, there was a development emanating from Africa, beginning in the 1970s. Certain theologians saw traditional African culture and religion as “essentially liberating” (163). The writer is the PAC’s Secretary for Political and Pan African Affairs, Chairperson of the Pan Africanist Research Institute (PARI) and a member of Azanian People Liberation Army Military Veterans Association (APLAMVA) National Executive Committee. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Tribute to Veteran Johnson Mlambo On His Way To His Creator, SAM MOSALAGAE DITSHEGO [1955 – 2020]: THE CHRONICLER OF TRUTH AND JUSTICE. The young people have access to information and they are eager to gain knowledge and transform the obstinate beast ‘that left its heart behind’, as poet laureate of African liberation Ingoapele Madingoane has put it. South African theologian Allan Boesak argued that black consciousness was an early, secular form of liberation theology that set the path for the Church to emphasize that not only are blacks human but they are also children of God (Boesak, qtd. During this period Christianity flourished and produced some of the major theologians of the patristic period, and then survived with difficulty after the rise of Islam. Their view on the written account of salvation in the bible was that of the many interventions of God in favour of the poor and the oppressed. But still, it seems like common sense to me that God would choose a woman, so that didn’t prove anything to me, anything at all; certainly, it didn’t take away the sting from certain Scriptures that indicated my lesser status in the Kingdom of God. There is so much to say, all at once. The Emergence of Liberation Theology in Latin America and Africa Liberation theology originated in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in South Africa. New York: Collier Books, 1961. Bogus pastors acting like fake biblical prophets tend to hypnotise unaware congregants, making them eat green grass, snakes and rats as a path to salvation. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Although I am firmly committed to an Africa free of its colonial legacy, and freed from neocolonialism, I also see violence as a trap—and I recognize that use of the word “liberation” has become propagandized. I felt the need to be free and for me, that meant leaving organized religion. This new theology in the African American church and the Latin American Roman Catholic Church had deep roots in Marxism. In other parts of Africa, however, the struggle was not about race and justice for all. The PAC position on the practical relations with religious formations as stated in its founding aims and objectives, and in the adopted slogan that “Africa is for Africans, Africans are for humanity, and Humanity is for God”, has been less understood, and at times violently opposed by its misguided younger generations. It stressed both heightened awareness of the “sinful” socioeconomic structures that caused social inequities and active participation in changing those structures. By ‘poor’ we do not really mean the poor individual who knocks on the door asking for alms. Those sorts of incidents made me feel trapped. 1 P.N. Sr. Janice’s involvement with guerilla-style liberation movements highlights some important historical trends in the 1970s, as around the world nuns and priests committed themselves to the idea that Christianity meant not only spiritual liberation—or liberation from sin and suffering after death—but also physical liberation here on earth for people who were suffering from poverty or discrimination or unjust regimes. Copyright © All rights reserved. I am aware that many people find freedom and joy there—liberation is one of the fundamental concepts of any religion. I was a child in my vision, sitting on someone’s lap, and this someone was trying very hard to put his arms around me and I was beating, beating, beating at him with my fists so that there was no way he could embrace me. Her support for the cause gained her notoriety among big-wig guerrillas and, ultimately, Robert Mugabe himself invited her to join the “liberation soldiers” in their Mozambique camps. But I still had a chip on my shoulder, and it had partly to do with the incongruities between treating a woman as equal but insisting that she couldn’t be a pastor and that she had to be “submissive” to her husband.). In his view, what Africa needed most was a theological articulation that took into consideration the need for reconstruction in line with the New World Order. In a speech to the World Council of Churches in 1999, she compared Africa’s treatment at the world’s hands like that of a woman. been that there is a place for liberation theologies after political liberation, as is the case in South Africa. Theologians who have observed the course of liberation theology in Latin America have noticed a similar theme; according to one scholar, liberation theologians “are no longer offering the easy justifications of the necessity of ‘counterviolence’ against the ‘institutionalized violence’ of the political establishment,” largely because of “the bloodshed associated with the movement in recent years” (Rhodes). The theologians made a vow of liberation, and in word and action joined the struggle for national independence, basic freedoms, democracy and a human rights culture. I don’t believe Liberation Theology was easily dismantled, but was indeed violently dismantled, beginning with the 1964 coup in Brazil. “From Cover to Core: A Letter to my Ancestors.” World Council of Churches. African Liberation Theology is a text framed by two interlocking questions. His writings stirred the heart of Roman Catholic theologians and they began developing a Roman Catholic Liberation Theology. In 1977, Sr. Janice became (in)famous when the Rhodesian government arrested her as a terrorist and Communist after they realized she was publishing a book, The Propaganda War, which exposed the government’s methods for discrediting the “liberation soldiers.” Sr. Janice’s detention without bail caused an enormous international stir; under U.N. pressure, the government tried and deported her. Liberation theology is a cry for justice. Gerald O. Liberation theology (Spanish: Teología de la liberación, Portuguese: Teologia da libertação) is a synthesis of Christian theology and socio-economic analyses, that emphasizes "social concern for the poor and political liberation for oppressed peoples." The list of conference participants who presented their exposition of a theology of liberation in the struggle to decolonise and transform the African continent included Kofi Appiah-Kubi, Ngindu Mushete, Jose Chipenda, John Mbiti, Gabriel Setiloane, James Cone, Constance Baratang Thetele, Sabelo Ntwasa, Allan Boesak, Rose Zoe-Obianga, Desmond Tutu, Sergio Torres, among many others. Before examining more recent developments, a historical perspective is helpful in coming to understand the emergence and evolution of liberation theology in South Africa. The United States supported this coup and a … Two major strands of theology have developed in Africa - inculturation and liberation - each in response to different needs. The 1970s were the decade for liberation theology. They are no different from the pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die preaching of western missionaries resplendent in African history, who sought to tame the captured souls of the colonised and enjoin them as passive subjects in their own oppression. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. I don’t know if we have the stamina, which is why we simply condemn and then create social engineering programs to achieve what we hope will be the desired outcome. For me, as a woman, asserting my identity as an equal meant—no, not becoming a pastor, though I considered it but rather, like Biko, refusing to participate in a community where I felt stifled and stymied and unequal. The continued use of violence in Zimbabwe mimics the continued violence in other colonized countries that are now independent. Faith based communities are a reflection of the times they live in. Why did he need to be served? Nevertheless, as real a problem as racism is, Boesak suggested that the economic question is as vitally important in the quest for liberation: “We have to make a proper analysis of the realities of power and powerlessness” (271). I started to hate Christianity that day. Charismatic churches – as a sign of the times – are riding the crest of the waves in popularity. Theology and Ministry in Context and Crisis: A South African Perspective By John W. De Gruchy W. B. Eerdmans, 1987 Read preview Overview Practical Theology for Black Churches: Bridging Black Theology and African American Folk Religion By Battle, Michael Anglican Theological Review, Vol. I wept and wept and wept in that room, alone, in southeastern Australia, I wept while the snot and tears pooled on the desk in front of me and I didn’t wipe it up because I was that sad. Liberation theology was a radical movement that grew up in South America. This chapter introduces Catholic theology in Africa. Only a handful of their leaders had identified with African political organizations in their struggle against segregation and apartheid. African Liberation Theology African Liberation Theology by Chukwudum Barnabas Okolo. The opposite was true for me. Instead, today, I find solace in William James’s rather broad definition of religion: “Religion, whatever it is, is [wo]man’s total reaction upon life…” (James, 45) [brackets mine]. In the last couple of years, those of us in the Western world have been treated to hours of rhetoric outlining a strategy of violence in order to achieve safety and democracy and to protect freedom. This new epistemological approach revealed the Christian truth to mean the struggle to overcome the fear of freedom by confronting and embracing it. I might argue that Mugabe (and, perhaps, other African strongmen) internalized the violence they used in order to liberate and it corrupted them. Reinventing Christianity: African Theology Today. Click Download for free ebooks. It is good that there are those who work from the inside to ensure they become the institutions of justice they are intended to be. A couple of years ago, I met Sister Janice McLaughlin, a Maryknoll nun on leave from Zimbabwe, where she has lived and worked off and on since 1977. Similarly, the Abahlali baseMjondolo, which is a movement of shack dwellers in South Africa, was also inspired by liberation theology. It highlights the relationship between African theology and her liberation offspring, and outlines the major themes and concerns of both "theologies." James H. Cone founded black liberation theology, which has roots in 1960s civil-rights activism. Abstract. In her early work, she challenges the Church and, by extension, the world to see women’s experience as “an integral part of what goes into the definition of being human” (Parratt, 51). She nodded her head and one of the other women laughed and said in an apologetic tone, “Jessica is sort of the Christian version of women’s lib.”. The church occasionally finds itself used for wrong reasons by dubious forces, to the detriment of the common good of the African people. Article Metrics. It rarely is because social engineering frequently has unintended side effects; and then we must create more programs to fix the unintended side effects. The financialization of the new world order and its impact on the lives of those who are at the bottom of the social pyramid – particularly the underclass, from broken families, without skills and without the chances of employment – makes ‘hell on earth’ a harsh reality. In Latin America, priests and nuns had started defying local and national authorities in order to liberate the oppressed—in this case, the poor who were under exploitive capitalist economic systems. I was at a religious retreat, in my late teens, observing a married woman serve her husband breakfast. The Religions special issue, “Transforming Encounters and Critical Reflection: African Thought, Critical Theory, and Liberation Theology in Dialogue,” addresses the concern over the present postcolonial context in which African persons and societies find themselves. In Latin America, priests and nuns had started defying local and national authorities in order to liberate the oppressed—in this case, the poor who were under exploitive capitalist economic systems. To my mind, liberation theology's essential concern is about the harnessing of religious faith and commitment for the transfer of power to the powerless, to ensure justice for all and to remove all human impediments to Allah's Grace reaching all of Allah's people. And later, I thought exactly how stupid of a comment that was because even if you accept that Mary was impregnated by some divine event, and the entire story of Jesus is miraculous, who else was God going to choose but a woman? Emancipation in African Theology: An Inquiry on the Relevance of Latin American Liberation Theology to Africa: 14: WAN-Tatah, Fon Victor, Wan-Tatah, Victor: Amazon.nl Liberation Theologies: The Global Pursuit of Justice. We were the “lesser sex” and that meant, he said, intellectually, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. 299] EVOLUTION OF LIBERATION THEOLOGY 301 were apolitical. Two major strands of theology have developed in Africa - inculturation and liberation - each in response to different needs. The encounter between Africa and Christianity is divided into three periods. I could not answer that in the church—I had to leave. It is still accused of being thinly disguised communism, as evidenced by the words of the book of Acts cited above. But no, I do not see it that way. As such, theology in Africa does not have its end product simply in understanding, but in understanding that leads to transformation of the entire African society. For just that reason, the theology of liberation in Africa may well have more staying power, because it’s unlikely to generate the same backlash from officialdom. Read online. Emmanuel Martey's African Theology provides a clear, scholarly examination of these two basic approaches, solidly based on Martey's understanding of contemporary theology and his first-hand knowledge of Africa. They have found resonance in sections of the African faith communities who hold aspirations to acquire wealth – and exhibit it in a vulgar sense of conspicuous consumption. African theology which will authentically and scientifically marry the Inculturation approach with the orientation of liberation theology adhering strictly to orthodoxy and relevance to our changing society and new economic, political and cultural realities. I sat in my chair after the speaker had finished, and I let everyone leave, and then I started to weep. The encounter between Africa and Christianity is divided into three periods. The Jacob Zuma administration is found to be in prayer with strange bedfellows – the National Religious Leaders Council headed by the Reverend Ray McCauley of Rhema Church – who have no known record of taking part in the struggle for a liberation theology. Her statement referenced the now famous method of killing suspected “collaborators” in South African townships, a method known as “necklacing.” Perpetrators would place a tire around a suspect’s neck, douse him with gasoline, and light him on fire. SEK 220. Oduyoye, Mercy Amba. Others, like Mercy Oduyoye, attempt to transform the structures and institutions that have participated in both the liberation and enslaving process. Shocked that he couldn’t get his own damn cereal (how hard could this be? Abstract. While Cone coined the term “liberation theology” in connection with its African American expression, it belongs to a larger complex of theological movements that now embrace the label, including Latin American Liberation Theology, Feminist Theology, “Womanist” Theology done from the particular perspective of Black women, and a wide variety of socially located theologies in Asia and Africa. There are four main strands of African liberation theologies and though they share important similarities, each has made a distinctive contribution. Winnie’s comment linked two concepts together: liberation and violence. 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