Original Research - Special Collection: Black Theology Liberation

Unpacking the downside of sustentasie on African theology and theologians: a need for contextual black theology as a liberative ingredient for the black Reformed churches

Elijah Baloyi
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 1 | a3161 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i1.3161 | © 2016 Elijah Baloyi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 August 2015 | Published: 29 August 2016

About the author(s)

Elijah Baloyi, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, South Africa


The practice of the black church being a follower of the leading white church is a continuous process in the Gereformeerde Kerke in Suid Afrika (or Reformed Churches in South Africa in English). This makes it difficult to contextualise Reformed Theology to address African challenges and problems. There are many reasons for the subordination of the black theologians, but for the sake of this article, I identified the issue of sustentasie1 as one of the causes. The lack of financial independence implies that the black church2 cannot determine their destiny by revising, transforming and even Africanising their theology to fit into their context and challenges, since that would mean they are biting the hand that feeds them. This article will argue that it is time that Africans stop being a theological duplication of the Western theologies and that they take responsibility to ensure that their theology addresses the immediate situation of the Black Reformed people (contextualised) with or without the support from the white church.


Subsidy; black church; dependance; autonomy; contextual theology; liberation theology; domination


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Crossref Citations

1. A continued racial character of some of the Gereformeerde Kerke in South Africa: Strategic moves evading reconciliation and unity of churches in post-apartheid South Africa
Elijah M. Baloyi
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies  vol: 74  issue: 1  year: 2018  
doi: 10.4102/hts.v74i1.4782