The Role of Ecumenism, Church, and Missiology in Violent Conflict from an African Postcolonial Theological Perspective

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Reginald W. Nel Professor of Missiology, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University Stellenbosch South Africa

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The defining sign of our time in relation to violent conflict is the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war. It impacts not only European countries, but also the Global South. From an African postcolonial theological perspective, the question is how to discern the ‘neutral’ stance of South Africa and various other African countries on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? Therefore, this article aims to present a postcolonial African analysis of violent conflict and trauma in Africa. This will be done referring to the debate between Tinyiko Maluleke and Emmanuel Katongole on the future of African theology. It concludes that the churches in Africa and theology can play their role in a posture of humility, leading in performing rituals of lament in the face of trauma. The narrative of a future African theology (and African ecclesiology) may not adhere to Eurocentric (neocolonial) dictates, or to reductionist analysis of the context.

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