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Violence in post-apartheid South Africa and the role of church and theology

C.F.C. Coetzee

In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi; Vol 38, No 2 (2004), 333-348. doi: 10.4102/ids.v38i2.433

Submitted: 01 August 2004
Published:  01 August 2004


South Africa is known as one of the most violent countries in the world. Since the seventeenth century, violence has been part of our history. Violence also played a significant role during the years of apartheid and the revolutionary struggle against apartheid. It was widely expected that violence would decrease in a post-apartheid democratic South Africa, but on the contrary, violence has increased in most cases. Even the TRC did not succeed in its goal to achieve reconciliation. In this paper it is argued that theology and the church have a great and significant role to play. Churches and church leaders who supported revolutionary violence against the apartheid system on Biblical “grounds”, should confess their unbiblical hermeneutical approach and reject the option of violence. The church also has a calling in the education of young people, the pastoral care of criminals and victims, in proclaiming the true Gospel to the government and in creating an ethos of human rights.

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Author affiliations

C.F.C. Coetzee, School of Ecclesiastical Studies, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa


Counter Violence; Liberation Struggle; Structural Violence; Violence


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1. The church’s pastoral role concerning challenges faced by teachers in South-African public schools: Some practical theological perspectives
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In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi  vol: 50  issue: 1  year: 2016  
doi: 10.4102/ids.v50i1.2107

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