White theologian in a semi-post-Apartheid South Africa

March 4, 2010

Apartheid ended in 1994. Yes, I know. And the voices who reminded me in the past that I must remember that things were much worse under Apartheid, and not downplay this by making as if nothing has changed have a point. But to say we are post-Apartheid, fails to recognize that neither our hearts nor our systems have gotten rid of this legacy completely. Much has changed, and we can thank God for that. But much didn’t change for many South Africans.

I am white. Sibitiwe might have complimented me with a black heart. But I remain a white theologian in Africa. Less and less European as the months go by. More and more being baptized in the water of Africa as transformative experience after transformative experience, as relationship after relationthips, and relationships over time, is deepening my experience of this country, this continent. With all it’s problems and questions. I don’t want to be anywhere else. This is my home. I am from Africa.

My church may be irrelevent, in spite of the examples of really good works of development being done, for which we also thank God, and should not consider futile. I know that for the bigger part of South Africa we won’t be missed when we are gone. They might miss our help, but in very few circumstances will they miss our friendship. There are exceptions, but they are exactly that: exceptions.

The journey that Dutch Reformed congregations will have to go on is a long journey I know, it’s a difficult journey, and we will require a lot of help. But it is a journey which some of us are willing to commit to with everything we have.

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6 Responses to “White theologian in a semi-post-Apartheid South Africa”

  1. Nelius Says:

    I love passages such as Rom 10:12, 1 Cor 12:13 and Gal 3:26-29. I’m mad [in a good way] about the children’s song: “Jesus loves the little children, al the children of the world…” and you know the rest.
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could see ourselves through his eyes and not through the spectacles of magnifying glasses of race, tradition or the past? Not one of us will be able to hide behind the colour of our skin or to blame one another when we stand in his light. Let’s rather take hands and be part of the new generation [race?] that belongs to the Lord! We all are part of his family and his people! “Yellow, red, black and white – we are precious in his sight!”

  2. gawie Says:

    What I would like to know, and struggle with is why should we “save” an instition who’s mess we didn’t create? If we are really as into nation building as we tell ourselves, shouldn’t we simply join an organisation/church that’s already on the boat instead of wasting enery to transform a denomination that’s leadership consist mostly of white males spoiled rotten by the gains of apartheid?

  3. attie Says:

    Cobus ek lees graag wat jy skryf en jy sê ‘n ding soos hy is. Somtyds vat dit op n manier aan ‘n mens wat jou erg ongemaklik maak. Stem ook nie altyd 100% saam nie, maar, dit laat my dink. En soms instem – Cobus het n punt. Dis lekker.

    Nelius se opmerkings ook. Ek luister graag na die man en lees ook graag wat hy skryf.

    Maar…”leadership consist mostly of white males spoiled rotten by the gains of apartheid.” Nou ja, ek is waarskynlik een van daai. Ons probeer ook so wat ons kan om hierdie ding reg te maak, maar dit is nie maklik nie. Inteendeel… dit is n opdraande stryd.

    En die mense wat ons moet saamneem, man, die Here is lief vir hulle ook. Blanke pensioenarisse en jongmense wat sukkel om te verstaan en tieners wat gebombardeer word met teenstrydige standpunte oor versoening en haat en apartheid en misdaad en al hierdie dinge. Maar ons is oppad. Dit is my “soutmyn” by wyse van spreke en ek wil nie op ‘n ander plek wees nie.

    Verhoudings bou tussen kinders van Waverley en kinders van Mamelodi – vriendskapsverhoudinge tussen die kinders. Wat maak dat hulle selfs op n Vrydag-aand op hulle eie n kuier gereel het. Dit gaan nie te sleg nie. Dit is waaraan ons werk – hard werk. Want hierdie land is my kinders se land. Ek wil hê dit moet beter wees vir hulle en ek wil hê dat hierdie kerk wat bestaan gelei word deur “manne wat vrot bederf is deur die vrugte van apartheid” onthou sal word as ‘n kerk wat ter wille van die Koninkryk bereid was om te verander.

    Maar opmerkings soos hierdie wil my laat sê: “Gawie, my maat, hoekom “join” jy dan nou nie maar die VGK nie.”

  4. gawie Says:

    Attie ek vra daardie vraag baiekeer vir myself af maar my antwoord is baie dieselfde as die inhoud van jou opmerking. Dit is tog nog my mense en ek twyfel of ek beter sou vaar as ek voor dieselfde besluite as hulle sou staan. Ek glo ook God is lief vir hulle en het die laaste tyd deeglik bewus geword van hoe apartheid ook die wat materieël daardeur bevoordeel is, verwond het. Boonop word ek ook nog bevoordeel deur die apartheidregime al is dit nie in dieselfde mate as die boomer en silent generasie nie. Ek is dalk nie so self righteous en arrogant soos wat dit in my opmerking voorkom nie. Ek worstel. Ek baklei nie. Jammer as ek jou gekrenk het met my hardop gedinkery.

  5. attie Says:

    Gawie – ons ouer manne stry n stryd wat ons onsself dikwels moet kruisig. Ons doen bediening soos ons nooit geleer is om bediening te doen en nooit gedink het bediening gedoen sal moet word nie. Ons truikel dikwels oor ons eie onvermoe. Maar, ons wil. Kom ons stry die stryd saam. Ons as ouer manne het baie om te leer by julle ouens wat tussen die mense leef wat die kosbare boodskap van die kruis en opstanding van ons Here Jesus moet uitleef. Maar dalk kan julle so nou en dan ietsie uit ons sakkie van ervaring kam haal. Een van Braam Hanekom se liedere se: “In ‘n wereld wat verward is en na ware liefde vra.” Kom ons doen dit saam.

    Groete…


  6. […] nu als blanke theoloog in het ZA van na de […]


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