Original Research - Special Collection: Reception of Biblical Discourse in Africa

The transmission and reception of biblical discourse in Africa: The language of the oppressor in Hymn 11, Hosanna

Boitumelo B. Senokoane
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 80, No 2 | a9242 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v80i2.9242 | © 2024 Boitumelo B. Senokoane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 July 2023 | Published: 13 June 2024

About the author(s)

Boitumelo B. Senokoane, Department of Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology, College of Human Science, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Singing is central in African life and among the many reasons provided is that traditionally it is believed that people who can sing have a very special connection with the spiritual world. Songs are celebratory and could convey the message of joy and happiness in context of freedom, culture, love, gospel, etc. and could convey joy and happiness that is unique and beautiful. However, the songs can equally be dangerous. Music has the potential and possibility to carry messages of oppression, suppression, exclusion, abuse, rape, crime, xenophobia, among others. In this article, the author uses the hymn in Hosanna Hymn Book titled ‘Jehova Modimo wa Iseraele/Jehovah God of Israel’ to argue that what seems to be innocent and neutral carried the message (by and through education) and acceptance of colonisation. The transmission and reception thereof become dangerous for the unsuspecting colonised. The article deals with the history of colonialism relating to ‘Christian’ literature or hymns that carry with them a systematic theology aimed at oppressing others. The author does a minimum exegesis to express the worldview and language and content of the Hymn.

Contribution: This study contributes to an ongoing liberation discourse and Hymn 11 is used as an example of oppressive language and negative transmission (through education).


transmission; reception; education; hymns; oppression.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education


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