Original Research - Special Collection: Unshackled

Unshackling the Church

Vuyani Vellem
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 3 | a3119 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i3.3119 | © 2015 Vuyani Vellem | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 July 2015 | Published: 13 November 2015

About the author(s)

Vuyani Vellem, Department of Dogmatics and Christian Ethics, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


In whose ‘order’, ‘newness’ and ‘foundation’ is ecclesiology based in South Africa? The colonial legacy of pigmentocracy, the cultural domination and annihilation of the indigenous dispensation of black Africans, is not devoid of institutional structures of faith and their historical performance in South Africa. The church is one institution in South Africa that played a crucial role in perpetrating perversities of racial, economic and cultural exclusion with a fetish of its institutional character that is still pervasive and dangerously residual in post-1994 South Africa. By presenting a brief outline of the basics on ecclesiology, the article argues that things remain the same the more things seem to change if the methodological approach to ecclesiology circumvents the edifice and foundations on which the history of ecclesiology in South Africa is built. To unshackle the church, a Black Theology of liberation must begin from and debunk the foundations of models of ecclesiology that are conceived on perverse theological and ideologised forms of faith that have become residually hazardous in South Africa post-1994.


Ideologized; Model; Pigmentocracy; Subversive; Unshackled


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