Original Research - Special Collection: Yolanda Dreyer Festschrift

‘Black Pain is a White Commodity’: Moving beyond postcolonial theory in practical theology: #CaesarMustFall!

Daniel J. Louw
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 4 | a4504 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i4.4504 | © 2017 Daniel J. Louw | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 January 2017 | Published: 08 September 2017

About the author(s)

Daniel J. Louw, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa and Faculty of Theology, North-West University, South Africa


Postcolonialism and decolonising campaigns are expressions of human pain on the level of identity confusion (inferiority), ideological abuse (cultural discrimination) and structural oppression (imperialistic exploitation). The slogan ‘Black Pain is a White Commodity’ in the #MustFall campaigns is critically analysed within the framework of postcolonial theory and imperialistic power categories. The basic hypothesis of the article is that in early Christianity, pantokrator images of God were influenced by iconography stemming mostly from the Roman Emperor cult and Egyptian mythology. The power (omnipotence) and dominiumship of God directly and indirectly played a role in Christian imperialistic thinking regarding the expansion of the Kingdom of God and missio Dei strategies during times of European and colonial expansionism. In order to address the quest for ‘moving beyond’ in postcolonial theory, the impact of pantokrator-images of God on ecclesial thinking is researched. In order to contribute to sustainability and stability within the complexity of cultural diversity and current civil unrest on campuses in South Africa, the paracletic notion of compassionate being-with is developed within the framework of practical theological thinking. Instead of a Caesar-depiction, the theological notion of passio Dei is proposed: the decolonialising (post-imperialising) God.


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