Contextual Theology in South Africa





Document Type

Book Chapter


Theology played an influential role in South African politics, for the apartheid system was established, in part, on theological principles. The situation also gave rise to a distinctly South African form of black liberation theology. The apartheid system of government that would control South Africa from 1948 to 1994 was rooted in Afrikaner nationalism—a pride in Afrikaner cultural and linguistic identity. The origins of liberation theology in South Africa can be traced to 1912 when the African National Congress was founded as a political party to secure the rights of black and mixed-race citizens. Theologians who are oriented to the framework of black liberation thought approach their task as a recovery of the central message of the prophets and of Jesus, and as a disentanglement of that message from the racist presuppositions that had enabled white theologians to justify the enactment of apartheid.

Published in

The Christian Theological Tradition, 4th ed.

Citation/Other Information

Kimberly Vrudny and Richard Cogill. “Contextual Theology in South Africa.” In The Christian Theological Tradition, 576–580, 2020.

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