Original Research - Special Collection: Spirit Rising Tracing Movements of Justice

Un-thinking the West: The spirit of doing Black Theology of Liberation in decolonial times

Vuyani S. Vellem
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 3 | a4737 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i3.4737 | © 2017 Vuyani S. Vellem | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 July 2017 | Published: 22 November 2017

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Vuyani S. Vellem, Department of Dogmatics and Christian Ethics, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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It is indisputable that Black Theology of Liberation (BTL) intentionally un-thinks the West. BTL has its own independent conceptual and theoretical foundations and can hold without the West if it rejects the architecture of Western knowledge as a final norm for life. This, however, is a spiritual matter which the article argues. The historical arrest of the progression of liberative logic and its promises might be self-inflicted by rearticulating and reinterpreting liberation strong thought. At a time when neofascism, which is virtually an open display of psychological and ideological confusion, racism, classism, sensibilities of integralism and gender violence, having become rife, liberal democracy is arguably in crisis today. BTL has to move beyond rethinking and repeating its tried and tested ways of response to black pain caused by racism and colonialism. Un-thinking the West is not only cognitive but also spiritual. Umoya, the spirit of life, the article argues, to un-think the West, constitutes inter alia, the rejection of Hellenocentric concepts as a starting point of knowledge. Umoya should reject the self-serving periodisation of history centred on Europe, dualistic obfuscating secularism and willingness by black to occlude their knowledge systems. Without this, the article argues, the lethargic sleep, the mocking laughter of the West at the self-wounding black African remains a syndrome that arrests the translation of liberation knowledge from history.


conversion; integralism; neofascism; pistis; weak/strong thought


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