Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Doing theology in South Africa, call for papers.

Can a distinctively South African way of doing theology be identified? How does one capture contemporary South African theological discourse? How is “South African theology” different from other regions in Africa and elsewhere in the world? Is it at all possible to address such questions?

The Theological Society of South Africa will explore these questions under the theme, “A distinctly South African way of doing theology? Revisiting and gathering various strands of contextual theology”

For more info check the MISSIO-LOGICAL blog

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tunisia, is in us...

For many of us, Africans, Tunisia is a great soccer team. The last few weeks, for some of us, especially those here in the Southern tip of Africa, the name has become a sign of hope. The dreams for change, for our voices to be heard, are the dreams of the people of Tunisia, as they rose up against a dictatorship, within their own country. Tunisia has become more then a soccerteam, they've become part of us. They are alive in the dreams for change, for justice.

The us that I refer to are perhaps, the cries for justice in Zimbabwe, where another dictator, Robert Mugabe and his cronies, has been looting the breadbasket of Africa for 3 decades now. None of his liberation buddies want to say anything or speak up for the poor people of Zimbabwe, because after-all, he is black and therefore it will be embarrassing to the liberation, to say anything against him. But also, South Africa, after 17 years of ANC rule, is sliding into a state, which only favors those connected to the President in power. Those who stand in line to take over the reins, in the ANC Youth League, already knows how to squander the tax-payers money, and how to pay favors to friends and family. Its becoming endemic, and slowly its becoming part of the culture within the ruling party. There is also here a cry for justice, as the poor continues to suffer and as political enemies are ruthlessly dealt with.

So the dream of liberation still lives within us. The hope for a fundamental transformation of the economic system and realities, still fuels a struggle, at the southern tip of Africa. Its within this context that the dreams of Tunisia, the most northern tip of the continent connect with us. But more so, its the activism, the consistent and relentless marches, demonstrations and writings of ordinary people, the agency of the people, that has won our heart. Its in us, as we start this year, Tunisia is in our hearts, in our activism, in us, as we march forward to take down the Ben Ali's of this world.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Shift in North-Africa...for who?

Is there a reformation taking place within Islam ? Some people believe so. They also suggest that this tectonic shift has the potential to change the face, not only of the Arab world, but also the rest of the world. I have to admit, I still have to get my head around this kind of thinking. The key question for me is whose interests will these shifts serve. What I do observe though is that we see a perhaps a shift of sorts unfolding, errupting in North African states, like Tunisia, Algeria and perhaps also Egypt(?).

If anything, I think there is certianly a painful and bloodsoaked new birth taking place. Reading Fanon, places these shifts in a historical context. But more so, Fanon helps to make me see that the postcolonial political machines, also carried within themselves the seed of their own destruction. Its as if that old doctrine of Augustine, (bishop from Hippo) the doctrine of total depravity, loom large over the excesses of these governments. Unless leaders and their families and friends are kept in check by a vigilant and informed civil society, then they run amock, irrespective of their religious identity or the shifts taking place there. It seems critical to note that it's rather a vigilant and critical civil society, which keep governments, (but also rligious communities!) in check, to serve the needs of all.