Un-thinking the West : the spirit of doing black theology of liberation in decolonial times
Author(s)Vellem, Vuyani Shadrack
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AbstractIt is indisputable that Black Theology of Liberation (BTL) intentionally un-thinks the West. BTL has
its own independent conceptual and theoretical foundations and can hold without the West if it
rejects the architecture of Western knowledge as a final norm for life. This, however, is a spiritual
matter which the article argues. The historical arrest of the progression of liberative logic and its
promises might be self-inflicted by rearticulating and reinterpreting liberation strong thought. At a
time when neofascism, which is virtually an open display of psychological and ideological confusion,
racism, classism, sensibilities of integralism and gender violence, having become rife, liberal
democracy is arguably in crisis today. BTL has to move beyond rethinking and repeating its tried
and tested ways of response to black pain caused by racism and colonialism. Un-thinking the West
is not only cognitive but also spiritual. Umoya, the spirit of life, the article argues, to un-think the
West, constitutes inter alia, the rejection of Hellenocentric concepts as a starting point of knowledge.
Umoya should reject the self-serving periodisation of history centred on Europe, dualistic obfuscating
secularism and willingness by black to occlude their knowledge systems. Without this, the article
argues, the lethargic sleep, the mocking laughter of the West at the self-wounding black African
remains a syndrome that arrests the translation of liberation knowledge from history.
The collection entitled ‘Spirit rising: tracing movements of justice’, forms part of the ‘Faith in the City’ research project, hosted by
the Centre for Contextual Ministry in the Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria. Some of the articles were papers presented at the
Biennial Consultation on Urban Ministry, hosted by the Institute for Urban Ministry, in collaboration with other organizations, from 17-20
August 2016. The theme of this Consultation was ‘#We must rise: healers - dreamers – jesters’.
Dogmatics and Christian Ethics
Vellem, V.S., 2017, ‘Unthinking
the West: The spirit
of doing Black Theology of
Liberation in decolonial
times’, HTS Teologiese
73(3), a4737. https://DOI.org/10.4102/hts.v73i3.4737.