Original Research - Special Collection: HTS 75th Anniversary Maake Masango Dedication

Testing the inescapable network of mutuality: Albert Luthuli, Martin Luther King Jr and the challenges of post-liberation South Africa

Allan A. Boesak
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5297 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5297 | © 2019 Allan A. Boesak | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 October 2018 | Published: 25 July 2019

About the author(s)

Allan A. Boesak, Department of Dogmatics and Christian Ethics, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, 50 years ago on 04 April 1968, has been recalled in the United States with memorial services, conferences, public discussions and books. In contrast, the commemoration in 2017 of the death of Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli, 50 years ago on December 1967, passed almost unremarked. That is to our detriment. Yet, these two Christian fighters for freedom, in different contexts, did not only have much in common, but they also left remarkably similar and equally inspiring legacies for South Africa, the United States and the world in the ways they lived their lives in complete faith commitment to ideals and ways of struggle that may guide us in the ongoing struggles to make the world a more just, peacable and humane place. For South African reflections on our ethical stance in the fierce, continuing struggles for justice, dignity and the authenticity of our democracy, I propose that these two leaders should be considered in tandem. We should learn from both. This article engages Martin Luther King Jr’s belief in the ‘inescapable network of mutuality’, applies it to the struggle for freedom in South Africa and explores the ways in which South Africans can embrace these ethical ideals in facing the challenges of post-liberation.

Keywords

Black consciousness; Black struggle; Black churches; South Africa; United States; Albert Luthuli; Martin Luther King Jr

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