Original Research

Morality in Africa: Yesterday and today The reasons for the contemporary crisis

B.J. van der Walt
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 37, No 1 | a458 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v37i1.458 | © 2003 B.J. van der Walt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 2003 | Published: 01 August 2003

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B.J. van der Walt, School of Social and Government Studies (Philosophy), Potchefstroom University for CHE, South Africa

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We are experiencing the results of moral decline in South Africa and on the continent at large daily. Academics are also worried by this “moral vacuum”. It seems as if something important has disappeared and nothing good has replaced it. This article will, by way of introduction, mention some of the moral virtues of traditional Africa. They reveal a stark contrast with contemporary “morality”. The main emphasis will be on the possible reasons for the present moral decline, because knowledge about the causes may assist us in our search for solutions. By quoting extensively from African authors on the topic the article provides an in-depth look at the following reasons for the moral crisis: (1) some general characteristics of traditional morality, (2) inherent weaknesses in traditional morality and (3) different external influences. The article concludes with a few ideas of how the challenge of the moral crisis can be met from a Christian perspective.


Africa Contemporary Crisis; Africa Traditional Characteristics; Ethics; Morality


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