Original Research

Ontwikkeling – die illusie van die twintigste eeu?

B.J. van der Walt
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 38, No 2 | a429 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v38i2.429 | © 2004 B.J. van der Walt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 2004 | Published: 01 August 2004

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B.J. van der Walt, Skool vir Sosiale en Owerheidstudies, Potchefstroomkampus, Noordwes-Universiteit, South Africa

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Development – the illusion of the twentieth century?

Extensive research during especially the last decade has indicated inter alia that development has not been the success story so often portrayed; that the concept itself is not as clear as it was supposed to be and that the current kind of development is not necessarily the only way to advance human well-being. The question has even been asked whether development was not the great(est) illusion of the past fifty years. Christians and the various South African denominations which, because of the poverty in society, are getting involved in all kinds of development projects, should take cognisance of these scientific results about development. To prevent ultimate disappointment the aim of this article is not to reject the alleviation of poverty through development. An overview of the massive amount of available material intends to contribute towards more critical insight. By way of a brief historical overview this article first traces the origin and ideal of development. Without ignoring the successful projects, it then draws attention to the general failure of development. This is followed by a more detailed investigation into the possible reasons for its failure. In conclusion the alternative of a Christian perspective on development is considered.


Cultural Differences; Concept Of Development; History Of Development; Christian Perspective On Development; Westernisation; Modernisation


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