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

Christian activism and the fallists: What about reconciliation?

Selena Headley, Sandiswa L. Kobe
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 3 | a4722 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i3.4722 | © 2017 Selena Headley, Sandiswa L. Kobe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 June 2017 | Published: 29 September 2017

About the author(s)

Selena Headley, Cornerstone Institute (RF) NPC, South Africa and Department of Christian Dogmatics and Ethics, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Sandiswa L. Kobe, Department of Christian Dogmatics and Ethics, University of Pretoria, South Africa and Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Vrije University Amsterdam, Netherlands


This article aims to understand what role Steve Biko and the Black Consciousness Movement, and the Soweto Uprising, played in Christian activism between the early 1970s and late 1980s. The question is: did the Black Consciousness Movement and the Soweto Uprising influence Christian activists to engage differently with notions such as reconciliation during the struggle against apartheid? The article revisits the actions and thinking of Christian activists before 1994 to understand some of their views on reconciliation, but most importantly, to understand their interactions, engagement with the Black Consciousness Movement and the Soweto Uprising. The article focuses on some of the church leaders and liberation theologians who were inspired and encouraged by Black Consciousness movements, including Allan Boesak and Desmond Tutu. To revisit their thinking and actions, in the heart of the struggle against apartheid, may help us understand current struggles on reconciliation, particularly in connection with the new generation of activists known as the Fallists. We may discover that the new generation is opening ‘old or new’ debates around reconciliation in South Africa.


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