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

The idolatry of white supremacy in church and society? Some reflections on Black Theology of Liberation in present-day South Africa in memoriam of Vuyani Vellem

Rothney S. Tshaka
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 3 | a6166 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i3.6166 | © 2020 Rothney S. Tshaka | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 May 2020 | Published: 04 December 2020

About the author(s)

Rothney S. Tshaka, Department of Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


In remembering Vuyani Vellem, this paper delves into his scholarship, a scholarship that admittedly exudes his activism in academia, church and society. Choosing intentionally the marginalised as the primary interlocutors in discourse, Vellem demonstrates that he is situated in the arena of those who are otherwise seen as the wretched of the earth, insisting that Black Theology of Liberation must engage in a praxis that centres the lived experiences of black people and creates for itself legacies that would attest to Black Theology of Liberation as a formidable hermeneutic that recognises the sanctity of black life in a context of the prevalence of white supremacy. It notes however that a history of colonisation and subjugation has wrecked the humanity of black people, and as a result, a contract with black people becomes essential on this path towards the total emancipation of black people in South Africa and the world.

Contribution: The scholarly contribution of this article is its focus on the systematic and practical reflection, within a paradigm in which the intersection of religious studies, social sciences and humanities generate an interdisciplinary contested discourse.


Vuyani Vellem; white supremacy; Black Theology of Liberation; Malcolm X; James Cone


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