Original Research

Theology and culture in dialogue towards harmonious multi-religious and multi-cultural South Africa

Kelebogile T. Resane
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 55, No 1 | a2764 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v55i1.2764 | © 2021 Kelebogile T. Resane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 April 2021 | Published: 14 September 2021

About the author(s)

Kelebogile T. Resane, Department of Historical and Constructive Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


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Abstract

South Africa is the country of many cultures and many religions. This diversity had not created or led to significant internal strife, especially after 1994 when South Africa entered the era of democracy from the shackles of colonialism and apartheid. The previous regimes marginalised cultures as tools of unity, but preferred to use them as tools of separation, segregation, and isolation. This context calls for some dialogue between theology and cultures within South African multi-cultural and multi-religious context. Social divisions perpetuate discrimination based on culture and religion. The scope of this article is to demonstrate that when theology and culture have a dialogue with each other, an understanding of each other is heightened and harmony becomes inevitable. Through literature on history, sociology, theology, and current events, the hypothesis was made that there is a gap between culture and theology. This has created divisions in societies. Conclusions are based on theological findings that when dialogue is used, people of different cultures and religions come to understand each other. Dialogue is a biblical and theological tool to unite diverse people. It brings mutual understanding and promote cooperation and coexistence. South Africa can be a united diversified society living in peace if dialogue is given a chance. As much as there can be understanding and acceptance of people of other cultures and religions, there can be some resistance due to the historical legacy of separateness and societal isolation. Openness to others and dialoguing with them, however, breaks down walls of hostility.

Contribution: This article demonstrates the importance of theo-cultural interaction within a multi-cultural and multi-religious society. It points out the importance of the theology of dialogue engaging culture and theology to build a harmonious coexistence in a diverse society such as South Africa.


Keywords

culture; theology; dialogue; religion; race; segregation

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