Original Research - Special Collection: Black Theology Liberation

Black theology in South Africa – A theology of human dignity and black identity

Timothy van Aarde
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 1 | a3176 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i1.3176 | © 2016 Timothy van Aarde | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 August 2015 | Published: 29 August 2016

About the author(s)

Timothy van Aarde, Department of Humanities, North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa


Black theology in South Africa is still relevant 20 years after the apartheid regime ended. It is a theology that gave to Black South Africans human dignity and a black identity. Black theology in South Africa confronted the imbalances of power and abusive power structures through an affirmation of human dignity and the uniqueness of the identity of black people. The biblical narrative of the Exodus is a definitive narrative in American black theology and liberation theology in overcoming oppression understood as political victimisation. Black theology in South Africa is not primarily about power and economics but also about the rediscovery of human dignity and black identity and to a lesser extent about victimisation. A third generation of black theology in South Africa will gain impetus through a rediscovery of human dignity and identity as its core values instead of a Black American liberation theology of victimisation or a Marxist liberation theology of the eradication of all power or economic imbalances.


Black Theology; Rwanda genocide; human dignity; African identity; identity; Liberation Theology


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Crossref Citations

1. Liberation Theologies of the Twentieth Century: Insights for Integral Development of Africa in the Twenty-First Century
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