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The Crucified Reflected in Africa's Cross-Bearers

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In this article, given as a keynote address at the Tenth International Congress of IAMS in Hammaskraal, South Africa, South African theologian Tinyiko Maluleke attempts to paint a rough picture of popular African Christology in the light of the Conference theme: "Reflecting Jesus Christ: Crucified and Living in a Broken World." He first notes that grass-root African Christianity harbors a dialectic of identification and non-identification with the suffering and experiences of Christ. On the one hand he is recognizable to Africans in his suffering and yet on the other hand it is recognized that he is like no one. Secondly, Maluleke reflects upon the challenge of reconciliation in Africa and in the light of the crucified and broken body of Christ. He explores the notions of forgiveness and truth and their relation to power. Thirdly, he considers the need and scarcity of hope in Africa. Hopelessness is in a sense one of the greatest indicators of Africa's brokenness. Fourth, Maluleke notes and briefly explores some possible implications of the shift of Christian gravity and the place of Africa in it. Fifth, he notes some contradictions to the massive Christian presence on the continent. Our theological approaches, he says, must acknowledge and own up to the brokenness of the continent. Only thus can African Christians come to appreciate the reality and worth of Jesus' brokenness for themselves. Perhaps in this way African Christians may be able to reflect (on) something of both the death and the resurrection of Christ.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Religious Studies, University of South Africa (Unisa), Pretoria, South Africa., Email:


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