Original Research

Violent protests as language of agency in a post-apartheid South Africa – A theological pastoral study

Magezi E. Baloyi
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 80, No 1 | a9695 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v80i1.9695 | © 2024 Magezi E. Baloyi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 January 2024 | Published: 10 July 2024

About the author(s)

Magezi E. Baloyi, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, Faculty of Theology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


The South African political and social landscape has been dominated and characterised by, among others, a growing number of protests in recent years. Protesting and marching are allowed by the constitution of the country, provided the required permission is granted by relevant authorities. Unfortunately, very few protests and marches end peacefully. Most lead to the destruction of property and even loss of life. Recent violent protests demanding the release of the jailed former President, Jacob Zuma, were estimated to cause losses of not less than a hundred million rand, with shops looted and trucks burnt. Violent protests have become the norm – similar to the period of contestations against the apartheid government. The point of departure of this article is that destructive protests need to be investigated to determine the causes while unveiling the challenges such protests bring to the community and the nation at large. The critical reading of post-apartheid academic and non-academic texts relevant to the topic will be read within the South African context, to determine the causes as we seek ways to minimise or even eradicate the violence that is destroying South Africa. The article will also advance the role of theology, particularly practical theology, in the elimination of such practices.

Contribution: Working towards eliminating and arresting the social ills that are destroying South Africa cannot be achieved without addressing the destructive protests, which are delaying and even reversing the achievements of democracy. It is the role of practical theology, through its pastoral care and counselling, to engage with broken communities in trying to teach, counsel and show them the importance of avoiding vandalism and cruelty when seeking service delivery from their leaders.


African traditional religion; authorities; community; hooliganism; protests; theology; vandalism


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