Original Research - Special Collection: VukaniBantuTsohangBatho - Spirituality of Black Liberation

Transition, reflection, rethinking and reimagining: The relevance of Black liberation theology in South Africa post-1994 – a tribute to Vuyani Vellem

Sithembiso S. Zwane
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 3 | a6078 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i3.6078 | © 2020 Sithembiso S. Zwane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 May 2020 | Published: 22 December 2020

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Sithembiso S. Zwane, Department of Theology and Ethics, Faculty of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

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This article pays tribute to Vuyani Vellem’s work on the relevance of Black theology of liberation (BLT) post-1994 in South Africa. Firstly, this article provides a synopsis of the political and economic ‘transition’ of South Africa before and after democracy. Secondly, the article seeks to provide a candid ‘reflection’ on the BLT trajectory, especially its critique of white racial theology. Thirdly, the article attempts ‘rethinking’ the location of the Bible and the black interlocutor in the post-liberation context. Fourthly, the article attempts to ‘reimagining’ the relevance of BLT post-1994 with a focus on proposed contemporary theologies.

Contribution: The manuscript is responding to a special issue honouring the legacy and scholarship of the late Prof Vuyani Vellem who contributed immensely to Black Theology of Liberation (BTL) in the South African context. The manuscript attempt to dialogue with Vellem on key issue that he raised, especially racial issues and the role of the recognition of the black interlocutor. The VukaniBathoTsohangBatho special issue is dedicated to this great son of the soil who distinguished himself through research in the area of BTL challenging issues affecting the majority of black people, issues like racism, land, unemployment and economic inequalities in South Africa. This manuscript engages with some of these issues hence its relevance to the journal. The manuscript argues that as long as social and economic injustices exist, Black Liberation Theology (BLT) will remain relevant post 1994 dispensation.


Black Liberation Theology; racism; Churches; the Bible; Black interlocutor and the poor


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