The Ministry of Reconciliation. A Comparative study of the
The Ministry of Reconciliation. A Comparative study of the role of the churches in promoting reconciliation in South
Africa and Angola.
Lutiniko Landu Miguel Pedro
Submitted in accordance with the requirements for the degree of
In the Faculty of Theology
Department Science of Religion and Missiology
University of Pretoria
Promoter: Professor PGJ Meiring
When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion,
We were like men who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
Our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
Like streams in Negev.
Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will turn with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.
To the leaders of all Christian churches and faith communities in Angola; the ministry of reconciliation is an urgent and noble mission toward which we are called to serve God. This thesis indicates where opportunities for reconciliation exist in this country and suggests when and how to exercise this ministry.
To the Angolan and South African governments, leaders of political parties, academics, students,
African and other researchers and all who are concerned with reconciliation, human rights and peace in Africa.
To you, Igreja Evangelica dos Irmãos Menonitas em Angola (IEIMA), my field of ministry and my partner in this project; and Mennonite Brethren Mission and Service International (MBMSI): your financial and moral support made this doctoral project possible. But it will nevertheless be wasted if we cannot tangibly work for the reconciliation of Angola and elsewhere in the world.
To you my lovely wife, Lunfwnkenda Carolina and my children Munzambi Ntemo, Muntukalendi
Nzash, Luzayisa Kisungu, Kamisa Ebenezer and Luzala Rachel who have suffered so much owing to my long absence from the family: your care of and love towards me have strengthened me to work hard with the aim of seeing you again and sharing the warmth of the family fellowship. It was not easy for you, Carolina, to bear alone the responsibility of caring for our children but you did so in order to support me to complete this major academic task. I remember how hard it was when fire broke out in the house and you burnt your feet, experiencing stress and sorrow and being alone in the hospital bed.
To all of you, I dedicate this thesis.
I acknowledge heavenly assistance during my research and during the writing of this thesis. I give
God honour and glory for the good health and protection with which he provided me, to make the completion of this project a reality.
Thanks to the head of the Department of Religious Sciences and Missiology, Professor Piet van der Merwe, who processed my application and gave wise advice, suggesting many books to refresh my mind in the field of Missiology, and recommending that Professor Piet Meiring be my promoter during my doctoral studies.
To Professor Piet Meiring, as father and son, professor and student and master and disciple with whom I learnt about good relationships in action, seeing the ministry of reconciliation in his own life.
We worked hard. It was not easy to determine the final path on which I should walk, and dialectical feelings were our daily experience: despair and hope, frustration and encouragement, fatigue and endeavour, rapid progress and slow made us close companions in this field. To him I am greatly indebted.
To Mrs Rina Roos, the faculty secretary who received my applications and recommended me to
Presbyterian leaders Professors Duncan and Masango who found me accommodation. Thanks to you as well as to them; also for your love in Christ in supporting my staying in Sedibeng when I was awaiting financial aid. Particular thanks to Rev. Ramurundi and Mrs Sandra Duncan, the manager of Sedibeng, who showed much kindness in making food available even when I had not yet paid.
To Professor Katrina Poetker, who financially and academically contributed support to this project, reading and correcting some of the chapters of this text: I am grateful to her.
To Professor Nzash u Lumeya, you are the channel through whom God revealed his purpose to me. I do not have the words to express my real gratitude, but let me say that the liyoto (solidarity) theology you defend is not empty: you know how to enact your teaching and prayers.
To Brooklyn Methodist Church I am greatly indebted, for their material, financial and spiritual assistance. This project would not have achieved its goal if I had not been able to visit my home country for a fortnight. An unnamed member of Brooklyn Methodist Church made this possible.
Finally, the editing could not have been handled without the cheque I received from this congregation. May Reverend Paul Bester and all members of this church know of my sincere gratitude. God bless you indeed.
To David Levy I owe my gratitude for the editing my thesis. This thesis has become more accessible as a result of your touch.
To those who morally and financially assisted me to finish this project I am thankful. I cannot forget a cheque received through the Biblical Institute of Mission in California: when my studies were about to be terminated someone whom I did not even know paid for them. God has indeed done great things. You are unknown to me but are well known to God. May you be blessed.
The researcher acknowledges that the church in Africa is growing fast; accepting its role of proclaiming the gospel, and that the ministry of reconciliation is still needed in all spheres of life and institutions in Africa, including the churches. After twenty-seven years of civil war, reconciliation in Angola becomes an imperative for the churches and faith communities as regards the healing of a wounded and victimized population.
Being in the middle of Africa, Angola was during these troubled years of civil war as disturbing an issue for all Africa as were the thirty-four years of the apartheid policy in South Africa. In both countries dramatic changes took place and people experienced a new era of their histories, posing new challenges that churches need to face boldly. The Luena memorandum did not lead the country into national reconciliation or into the needed process of healing. Hence the present study. focusing on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), aims to offer a comparative study of the South African and Angolan experience so that a ministry of reconciliation might be developed for Angola.
The researcher firstly endeavoured to define these key terms: Mission, Church, Leadership, and the ministry of reconciliation in which the biblical perspective indicates that reconciliation is an inclusive and imperative ministry, being itself part and parcel of the mission Dei. The study looked all Africa as a continent in need of reconciliation because Africa has become a field of various tensions, including political; sociological, economical, cultural, religious, and ideological ones, and in particular the poverty, HIV/Aids that threaten Africa today.
In spite of many criticisms levelled against the TRC, the process of truth and reconciliation did play a role in the country, to put South Africa on the road to national healing and nation building.
Drawing from the South African experience the people of Angola, after drawing up their Luenda
Memorandum, need to follow suit. The study indicates that the Luena memorandum, as well as the
Cabinda memorandum, are catalytic events, which call for an all-inclusive effort of all Angolans in a structure like the TRC, for people to tell their stories so as to achieve repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation. The role of the churches in both countries varied during and after apartheid as well
vii as the civil war. Churches were often used as instruments of oppression instead of being the light; fortunately the time arrived when the churches awoke and stood against apartheid and civil war.
The churches need to rediscover their mission – comprising the dimensions of kerugma, koinonia,
diakonia and leiturgia – to play their part in society, both in South Africa and Angola.
The study reflects on the ministry of reconciliation in Angola from a theological and practical perspective. Theologically, reconciliation is viewed as soteriological, christological, pneumatological, historical and missiological: these perspectives are interconnected and include a number of practical dimensions, inter alia cultural, sociological, economical, and political. Particular attention is accorded to the cultural dimension where ubuntu (humanness) and tata nlongi
(teacher-catechist) are compared as examples of contextual theologies, necessary for the ministry of reconciliation in South Africa and Angola.
The conclusion offers recommendations to the society and the state, to the churches and communities of faith, adding a specific recommendation to the Mennonite churches regarding their world-wide endeavours for peace and non-violence over the world and pointing out that in Angola the Mennonites need to be more active in this field. Areas for further research, in future, are noted at the end of the thesis.
Forgiveness and Peace
Reconciliation requests Truth and Justice
Reconciliation has Theological and Practical Perspectives viii
Title Page i
Key Terms viii
1. Background 1
2. Objectives 2
3. Approach in the Thesis 3
4. Hypothesis 3
5. Methodology 3
6. Definitions of Terms 4
6.1. Mission 4
6.2. Church 4
6.3. Leadership 5
6.4. Reconciliation 5
6.5. A Biblical Perspective on Reconciliation 5
6.5.1. Reconciliation in the Old Testament 6
6.5.2. Reconciliation in the New Testament 8
6.6. Biblical Perspectives during the History of the Church 10
7. Research Gap 11
8. Overview of the thesis 11
8.1. Chapter 1. Introduction 12
8.2. Chapter 2. Africa a Continent in need of Reconciliation 12
8.3. Chapter 3. The South African Experience 12
8.4. Chapter 4. The Angolan Experience 12
8.5. Chapter 5. Developing a Ministry of Reconciliation for the Angolan Churches: Theological and Practical Perspectives 13
8.6. Chapter 6. Conclusion and Recommendations 13
AFRICA, CONTINENT IN NEED OF RECONCILIATION
2.1. Africa at the Beginning of the 21 st
Century: Despair and Hope 15
2.2. Africa Field of Tensions 15
2.2.1. Leadership: Legacy of Despair 16
2.2.2. Political Tensions 18
2.2.3. Economical Tensions 22
2.2.4. Socio-Cultural Tensions 26
2.2.5. Poverty and HIV/AIDS Threaten 28
2.2.6. Ideological Tensions 30
2.2.7. Religious Tensions 32
2.3. The Role of the Church In Africa: To Promote Unity and Reconciliation 35
2.3.1. Disunity among the Churches 36
2.3.2. The Role of the Church in Africa 38
2.4. Conclusion 39
THE SOUTH AFRICAN EXPERIENCE
3.1. South Africa A.D. 1994: The Need for Reconciliation in the a Divided Country 41
3.1.1. The Apartheid Regime 41
3.2. Truth and Reconciliation Commission Process 45
3.2.1. The Process of Reconciliation 48
3.2.2. The Committee for Human Rights Violation (HRV) 49
3.2.3. The Committee for Reparation and Rehabilitation 53
3.2.4. The Committee for Amnesty 58
3.3. South Africa Today 62
3.4. The Role of the Churches and other Faith Communities in Promoting Reconciliation 68
3.4.1. The Role of the Churches 68
184.108.40.206. Kerugma Mission 69
220.127.116.11. Diakonia Mission 69
18.104.22.168. Koinonia Mission 73
22.214.171.124. Leiturgia Mission 75
3.4.2. South Africa, Complex Society 76
3.4.3. The Ecumenical Mission 77
THE ANGOLAN EXPEREINCE
4.1. Colonization and Slave Trade 83
4.2. The Struggle for Independence 88
4.2.1. The National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) 89
4.2.2. The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) 91
4.2.3. The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) 92
4.2.4. Independence and Civil War 94
4.3. The Role of the Churches During the Civil War 101
4.3.1. The Roman Catholic Church 103
4.3.2. The Protestant Churches 107
126.96.36.199. Alliance Evangelical in Angola (AEA) 109
188.8.131.52. The Christians Council of Churches of Angola (CICA) 110
4.3.3. Independent Churches and other Communities of Faith 112
4.3.4. Other Independent Churches and Faith Communities 114
4.3.5. Traditional Faith 114
4.4. Angola Today 115
1.4.1. Prejudice 116
1.4.2. Education 117
1.4.3. Election 117
1.4.4. Economy 118
1.4.5. Human Right 120
4.4.6. The Case of Cabinda 121
4.4.7. An Angolan Truth and Reconciliation Commission (ATRC) 122
4.4.8. The Role of the Churches after the Luena Memorandum 123
184.108.40.206. The Kerugma Mission 124
220.127.116.11. The Diakonia Mission 125
18.104.22.168. The Koinonia Mission 127
22.214.171.124. The Leiturgia Mission 127
4.4.9. Other Communities of Faith in Promoting Reconciliation 128
4.4.10. Conclusion 130
DEVELOPING A MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION FOR ANGOLAN CHURCHES:
THEOLOGICAL AND PRACTICAL PERSPECTIVES
5.1. Theological Perspectives 132
5.1.1. Soteriological Perspective 134
5.1.2. Christological Perspective 135
5.1.3. Pneumatological Perspective 137
5.1.4. Historical Perspective 139
5.1.5. Missiological Perspective 140
5.2. Practical Perspectives 142
5.2.1. Cultural Perspective 142
126.96.36.199. The Ubuntu Theology: Effort for Reconciliation in South Africa 143
188.8.131.52. The Tata Nlongi Theology: A Hope for National Reconciliation 145
5.2.2. Sociological Perspective 148
5.2.3. Economical Perspective 150
5.2.4. Political Dimension 152
CONCLUSION AND FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1. Final recommendations 159
6.1.1 To the State 159
6.1.2. To the Churches and Communities of Faith 164
6.2. Specific Recommendations To Mennonites Churches 168
6.3. Further Research 169
Appendix I: Questionnaires Given to South African and Angolan leaders 190
1.1. Questionnaires to the Leaders of Churches In South Africa 190
1.2. Questionnaires to the Leaders of Churches in Angola 191
Appendix II: Newspaper images of Desmond Tutu 193
2.1. Pretoria News 193
2.2. Sunday Times 194
Appendix III. Case of Cabinda FLEC’s Documents 195
3.1. To His Excellency Mr. Daniel da Rosa, Politic Counsellor and Diplomat of the Angolan
Embassy in Paris, France 196
3.2. To the President of Angola, His Excellency Jose Edouardo dos Santos 197
3.3. From People of Cabinda to the President of Angola, His Excellency Jose Edouardo
dos Santos with a copy for information to the National Assembly 199
An image of an Angolan landmine disaster 201
When the Lord brought *peace into Angola,
We were like men who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
Our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!
Restore (Cabinda) our fortunes, O Lord,
Like streams in Cunene.
Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will turn with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.
The motivation for my research stems from my deep experience of suffering as an Angolan pastor who – together with my compatriots – has struggled through thirty years of civil war in
Angola. Now Angola is experiencing a new era in its history. A new future with new challenges awaits the country and its people. But we also need to face the past. We need to address the problems of the past: the inequalities and injustices that occurred cannot be avoided. The churches have a major role to play in terms of peace, justice and reconciliation because the mission of the church includes helping to build bridges in a divided society. David Bosch, from his South African experience, once wrote about the need for reconciliation: “Our missionary involvement may be very successful in other respects, but if we fail here, we stand guilty before the Lord of mission. Peace-making, I therefore suggest, is a major ingredient” (1991:119).
The time has come to present the Angolan Churches, especially the Anabaptist Mennonite community - the church I serve - with an overview of the recent experiences in South Africa and
Angola in terms of peace-making and reconciliation. Against the backdrop of what is happening on a larger scale on the African continent, Christians need to be alerted to the importance of a
Ministry of Reconciliation. By developing a suitable model, I hope to inform and empower clergy and laity in my home country in this regard. I am of the opinion that building a new country after war always requires us to evaluate the past, so that we can plan for the future.
Hence reconciliation is needed.
2. The Objectives of the Thesis
My objectives will be essentially first to offer Angolans a true understanding of the need for facing the past violence, war and anger among these people, and second to identify the challenges of reconciliation and nation building in our country. We need to promote forgiveness and reconciliation between the ‘regressado’ (returning Angolan refugees) and ‘shungura’ (those who stayed at home, who consider themselves as the ‘genuine’ Angolans). The Angolans will need to face the truth of atrocities perpetrated towards their fellow people. Repentance for shedding the blood of innocent people is extremely important for the whole nation: it is one of the keys to a true reconciliation.
I furthermore wish to assist the Protestant Churches’ Council, the Conselho de Igrejas Cristas
em Angola (CICA), and the Alliance Evangelical Church in Angola (AEA) in finding new ways to work together, eventually to become one council of Protestant churches in Angola.
I desire to promote the national effort for a lasting peace, which will lead the country into an era of social progress and development. I do this in the belief that neither social progress nor development is possible in a community where division and power struggles hold sway over the population.
My final aim is help the churches to develop a new, comprehensive definition of mission, a definition that includes the four mandates of kerugma (preaching the gospel), diakonia
(demonstrating the gospel by acts of charity and love), koinonia (building up and empowering the communion of believers who truly care for one another as well as for society at large) and
leiturgia (worshipping God through faithful service). Only by carrying out all four tasks will the
Angolan churches be able to fulfill their mandate to be builders of peace and agents of reconciliation.
3. Approach in the Thesis
The first stage of this research comprises an analysis of the socio-political, economic, cultural, and other factors which led Africans in general, and South Africans and Angolans in particular, into acts of discrimination, racism, conflicts, and tension between different groups that eventually cause division and separation.
Secondly, I hope to discover anew the challenge that the Biblical message of reconciliation, contained in both the Old and New Testaments, poses to the churches and the Christian communities worldwide – especially in communities undergoing rapid social and political change.
Thirdly, I endeavour to describe and analyse the South African experience of Truth and
Reconciliation, before attempting to apply my findings to the Angolan situation.
Finally, from this analysis, I hope to develop a workable model for a Ministry of Reconciliation that may serve the churches in my home country, Angola, well.
After three decades of civil war, did the Luena Memorandum really lead the country into national reconciliation and healing? In terms of this question I find that by obeying the Biblical imperative of reconciliation, and by carefully observing the South African Truth and
Reconciliation process, analyzing its efforts and learning from its results, a model for a Ministry of Reconciliation may be developed that will serve the Angolan churches in their efforts to promote repentance, justice, reconciliation and peace, in the aftermath of three decades of civil war.
The present study contains a qualitative as well as a quantitative dimension. In terms of the first dimension, I conducted a wide ranging literature review, using all the books, articles, reports and memoranda available that pertain to the subject of my research. Secondly, in terms of
4 qualitative research, I involved myself in empirical research. With the help of The Institute for
Missiological and Ecumenical Research (IMER) at the University of Pretoria, I have developed a questionnaire to use in South Africa as well as Angola, in order to obtain the necessary information and to test some of my findings. Numerous theologians, church leaders and members of civil society in Angola as well as South Africa were interviewed. I am undertaking my research from the vantage point of a participant observer who has chosen a participative research approach, interacting with the churches and communities under observation. I am a member of the Mennonite Brethren Church in Angola, and have been serving the church as a pastor since 1996. I have spent a number of years in South Africa, studying the work of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, observing reconciliation initiatives in that country. Although a proper distance from my subject will be maintained some of my personal experiences and observations will, of course, surface during my research.
6. Definitions of Terms
The thesis will accord especial attention to the following terms: mission, church, leadership, reconciliation and liturgy. Here I describe how these terms are understood in this study:
: in this thesis the term mission will refer to Missio Dei (God’s Mission) as well as
missio ecclesiae (the mission of the church). I use a comprehensive definition of mission, incorporating the four facets of: kerugma (proclaiming the love of God in preaching); διακονια
(demonstrating the love of God in many ways – also in standing for peace and justice and in promoting reconciliation); κοινωνία (the building up of the church, being the communion of the saints in the world); and λειτουργία (worshipping God through our faithful service to Him). Dons
Kritzinger has commented: “mission is much more than just proclamation (kerygma). It includes at least two other dimensions also, namely the loving serving of those in need (diakonia), and the planting and building up of community (koinonia)” (Kritzinger 2002:3).
: I regard the church, in this thesis, as the imperfect community of believers, the mystical and lovely body of Christ called to become perfect for its own sake, as well as to help
5 transform the world to the glory of God. It is, as Lesslie Newbigin wrote: “the bearer of the presence of the kingdom through history, it is surely not as the community of the righteous in a sinful world… it is a sinful community” (1978:59).
: Leadership should be understood as guidance and direction, by which the leader and those who are guided walk together. Leadership implies a vision, plan and strategies, which the leaders, in their dealing with people, characterize and demonstrate.
: Reconciliation is the concept by which two separated individuals, tribes, communities, nations and/or religions come together and accept each other, in order to work together, and to endeavour to solve their differences, bound together by a common motive and by mutually accepted principles. This is the way I understand the Greek terms
καταλαγή / καταλλασσω (reconciliation/ to reconcile). Reconciliation liberates people, as
Maake Masango has pointed out: “Reconciliation sets people free, if it does not free people, then it is not the kind practiced by Jesus, and proclaimed by Paul” (2005:134).
A Biblical Perspective on Reconciliation
Reconciliation is clearly part of the biblical message. It concerns all the relationships that pertain to us: those with God, ourselves, our neighbours and lastly, with nature. To experience complete “shalom” (peace) one’s relationship with these four dimensions needs to be perfect.
Reconciliation is God’s redeeming work in bringing back the human being to his/her intimate relationship with the Creator after the fall in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). The covenant
God made with humankind is the central message of the Bible, in which reconciliation is one of the aspects of God’s redeeming work on behalf of the whole universe.
This section summarizes the biblical approach to reconciliation. It looks briefly at the Old and
New Testament analyses of reconciliation. In the fifth chapter a number of theological and practical implications of the scriptural message of reconciliation will be discussed.
Reconciliation in the Old Testament
The Old Testament does not really express the concept of reconciliation specifically but contains themes related to it, as W.R. Domeris confirms: “Reconciliation in its technical sense as used by Paul is not an Old Testament idea” (1987:77). But investigating the notion in the Old
Testament I find that the covenant represents the pattern of and the most important theme related to reconciliation. John W. de Gruchy points this out: “This covenantal relationship of trust between God and humanity expressed in faithful stewardship is the first presupposition of the doctrine of reconciliation” (2002:48). How is covenant related to reconciliation, and why?
And how should it be applied? Reconciliation, as any other biblical doctrine, is not isolated but connected to many others. John W. de Gruchy comments on this, showing that reconciliation is
“God’s saving work” which he compares with a German term, Versöhnung, itself linked with salvation, redemption, or atonement (ibid: 45) and furthermore adds that sacrifice, repentance, forgiveness and justice are all inter-connected. Gabriel Abe points to salvation as being the goal of reconciliation as kerugmatik mission. He writes: “The feature of the biblical faith is that its fact of salvation is kerugmatik. It is a proclamation of the need and means of salvation in
God through a divinely schematized historical progression from creation to redemption and salvation” (1996:3).
Covenant in the Old Testament is central and concentrates on the relationship between God and all humankind. The whole of this Testament concerns the covenant, expressed in multidimensional rules and commands, so that reconciliation is in fact a covenantal doctrine. De
Gruchy writes: “ In terms of the legal character of the Old Testament covenant of God (Rom.
3:2 – 6) reconciliation is understood in terms of the Old Testament covenant of God as electing love (cf. Rom. 9: 11, 13; Col. 3. 12)” (2002:54). Redemption or atonement comes about as a covenantal act of God’s work to restore the broken relationship with humanity in the garden where the first covenant was unconditionally ratified. Human beings broke it yet God took the initiative to reconcile them to Him (Genesis 3: 9), shedding innocent blood in order to redeem them and bring them back to God (Genesis 3: 21). However, the consequences would burden all humankind from generation to generation. The covenants of God in Eden as well as with
Noah in Genesis 9 concern the whole universe. From here the history of the covenant shifts from the universal to the individual realm in the form of one family (that of Abraham), then to a covenant with a whole nation (Israel), subsequently from one nation to all nations through
Jesus Christ and finally to the whole cosmos (universe). The covenant that God made with
Noah concerns all creatures, the relationship of people with God and human beings with all creatures. In order to maintain the covenantal relationship, various rules and commands are to be found in terms such as sacrifice, mercy, forgiveness, repentance, redemption, justice, and peace, all of which are linked in the doctrine of reconciliation. God is the One who initiated the notion of sacrifice when Adam broke the covenant and He decided to give the humans clothes
(to cover their nakedness) (Genesis 3:21). Secondly, when He concluded the covenant with
Abraham the greatest time of intimacy with God occurred at the time of the burnt sacrifice
(Genesis 15:9). Leland Ryken et al. confirm this by pointing out that the smoking pot and flaming torch passing between the animal carcasses are symbolic of the fact that the covenant is God’s alone (1991:177).
Sin causes separation between human beings, God and their neighbours; sacrifice is the way in which the offender receives atonement or makes expiation for his/her sin to God so that the broken relationship will be restored. Blood was an extremely important symbol of atonement.
This is clearly seen in the notion of the scapegoat. As Domeris observes: “The dark cloud created by someone’s sin requires a cure, a victim or a scapegoat in order to dispel it” (op. cit:
77). The sinner ought to pay with his/her own life for the damage he/she has caused but since he/she has found a substitute God redeems the offender and restores his/her relationships with
God and with the entire community. The covenant in the Old Testament should be understood as the means by which God desires to care for us and keep us all close to Himself. Murray has expressed this as follows: “In entering into Covenant with us, God’s one object is to draw us to
Himself, to render us entirely dependent upon Himself, and so to bring us into the right position and disposition in which He can fill us with Himself, His love and His blessedness” (1898:9).
Likewise, when one enters into the ministry of reconciliation God’s object is to draw us to
Himself. PM Venter notes the warning in Deuteronomy 13, which stipulates that when a prophet or a close relation or a rebellious city leads people away from the Lord he or she or they have to be put to death (op. cit: 14).
Since Israel was a covenantal community it was vital for them to work towards justice and to maintain a good relationship with God but not in a superficial manner, offering multiple forms of sacrifices and other activities within the temple: those practices would only be helpful if justice were done to all in the nation in the fear of the Lord and for his sake. The Sabbatical and Jubilee laws were instituted to
8 maintain justice and equal rights in Israel: Leviticus 25:8 expresses a notion connected to reconciliation, as Itumeleng Mosala shows: “Kippurim on the other hand, is unambiguously the term for restoration. It is primarily a socio-economic term which conjures up a process of socio-economic and political reconciliation” (1987:24). God’s concern is not only for people but also for the environment. God’s grace is not cheap but stipulates requirements. The prophets played an important role in proclaiming this issue in Israel’s history. Jeremiah for instance condemned injustice, the main cause of the broken covenant, calling for repentance to avoid the exile which was at hand and insisting that the religious activities in the temple would not help to avoid God’s wrath and the resulting destruction which Jeremiah described in 7:1 –15 and 26. Justification would be fully achieved in Messianic times where metaphorically reconciliation would go beyond humankind to reach all creatures, as Isaiah saw: “The wolf will live with the lamb, … and a little child will lead them”
(Isaiah 11:6). In the same vein Jeremiah perceived the renewal of the covenant (Jeremiah 31) where
Israel and Judah would be one united nation and the law for all would be written in their hearts.
6.5.2. In the New Testament
The New Testament clearly discusses reconciliation as such. The preaching of the Kingdom, which characterizes Jesus Christ’s ministry on earth, has as its goal the reconciliation of people with God, themselves, and nature. John the Baptist perceived Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Paul will focus on this notion in 2 Cor. 5: 16 – 21 where he reveals that reconciliation is a major and perennial ministry of the disciple in particular and of the
Church in general. D.A. Carson, R.T. France et al. consider this text as the theological basis of this particular ministry (1994:1197), while as De Gruchy puts it: “The Church is God’s reconciled and reconciling community” (op. cit: 55). This ministry in Paul’s understanding is multifaceted, reconciling and uniting all things in heaven and on earth in Christ (Eph. 1: 10).
In New Testament Greek the philology of the term καταλαγή describes a generic reconciliation, which is one of the most important terms, to which many others are linked. Domeris discusses a term such as αποκαταλλασσω, used in Ephesians 2:18 where it refers to two antagonistic nations being completely reconciled: the gentiles and the Jews (2007:79).
Another term related to καταλαγή is the term διαλλασσω, a substantive which means to be
9 reconciliation (ibid: 79); its associated verb is διαλλασσοµαιi (to reconcile), which refers to the offering that first requires reconciliation with one’s fellow-Christian (Matthew 5:24). And the last term,
συναλλασσω (to reconcile), is to be found in Acts 7:26 where it refers to Moses wishing to bring peace between the two Israelites who were fighting (op. cit.:79). All these terms denote the doctrine of reconciliation in diverse contexts. The rhetorical dimensions of reconciliation have more to do with social contexts but do not limit the doctrine to social concerns only. The term Greek καταλαγή is an inclusive, not exclusive, term. According to Itumeleng Mosala in his semantic analysis of the Greek verb, καταλλασσω (to reconcile) is technically a composite term, in which the prefix Greek “κατα” (to, for) is followed by the Greek verb “αλλασσω” (transform and change) in which reconciliation should be understood as “transformation or changes” (op. cit: 23). Mosala perceived reconciliation in connection with the Jewish ceremony of jubilee, of which the restitution of the land to its first owner is the cornerstone. He considers the word καταλλασσω as equivalent to the Hebrew word kaphar, translated into English as atonement, and gives it the sense of the Hebrew word Kippurim to uphold the position of restitution of land and freedom expressed in Leviticus 25 (1987: 24). His analysis is persuasive but I consider that his position regarding restitution calls for a further understanding of
God’s will in His reconciling work to avoid mistakes. If the land is the main aspect of reconciliation, therefore one should also understand the theology of land from the biblical perspective.
Reconciliation with God is not cheap: it costs lives. In the Old Testament atonement called for sacrifice to be offered according to the gravity of the sin. In the New Testament Jesus Christ is the great priest who sacrifices, not the life of animals, but His own life once for all for the redemption of all humankind (Hebrews 9: 12), as Biema demonstrates (op. cit: 39). Christ died for us while we were still sinners, as Romans reveals (5:8). Reconciliation has to do with our inner relationship with God as individuals and also with “the other”, whether a group of people or a society, and/or with God (de
Gruchy 2002: 51).
As suggested above, Paul’s understanding of καταλαγή is more universal: it incorporates the redemption of all creatures because they were also subject to bondage and need reconciliation to be set free
(Romans 8:21). Reconciliation encompasses more dimensions than the bilateral vertico-horizontal dimensions which are well known: multi-dimensions, vertical, horizontal, and so on, and is truly
Missio-Dei. For instance de Gruchy refers to reconciliation between the living and the dead in the
TRC (op. cit: 65).
6.5.3. Biblical Perspectives during the History of the Church
We are not the first to debate this doctrine. During the history of the Church much attention was devoted to understanding it. Augustine, Anselm and Abelard, as well as the theologians of the
Reformation, sought answers to the question: “Why did Christ die?” And the question still arises for the Christian in the 21 st
century: “what does his death mean to me?” writes David Van Biema
(2004:39). Answers to this fundamental question have adopted one of three positions: Christ died as a victory over evil powers; His death is a sacrifice; and He set for us an example to follow.
Augustine of Hippo, according to Biema, argued that Christ’s death should be understood as His triumph over evil and the devil. He writes that Augustine described Christ as “a great champion against an evil that is a real and formidable supernatural force – of invisible kingdoms battling above our heads and below our feet” (op. cit.: 40). The argument regarding the debt paid for the deliverance of sinners was linked to the death of Christ, where some church fathers argued that God had paid the ransom to the devil (ibid.: 40); see also (de Gruchy 2002: 59).
For instance, Anselm perceived the death of Christ as a payment to the devil. According to De
Gruchy, he stresses the satisfaction of the demands of God’s justice (2002: 60). Christ died for us to become righteous before God, condemned in order to satisfy God’s justice. “For Anselm, the gravity of sin and guilt could only be overcome through paying the penalty for human disobedience and its consequences” (de Gruchy 2002: 60). theologians who perceive extreme violence in the doctrine of sacrifice. This is why the reconciliation ministry, today, has much to do in this 21 st
century, as a ministry of love not of violence.
For Peter Abelard, according to Biema (2004: 41), Christ’s death is an example for us, not a sacrifice. “Love answered love’s appeal”, Abelard wrote. With Jesus’ example before it, humanity, its deaf ear reopened, could now gain reconciliation with God (ibid.: 41). This theory is welcomed by some modern theologians who perceive extreme violence in the doctrine of sacrifice. This is why the reconciliation ministry, today, has much to do in this 21 st
century, as a ministry of love not of violence.
In conclusion, reconciliation spans the Old Testament and the New Testament. While in the former the term is not clearly expressed we find that it is connected with many other concepts like atonement, redemption, restoration, justice, repentance, forgiveness and peace, where bloody sacrifices were essential for redemption from sin. In the New Testament the death of Jesus Christ constitutes the basic theological pattern of the reconciliation ministry that is God’s mission. The
Church, through her members, is God’s instrument to bring fallen humanity back to him. We briefly recounted the views of influential church fathers, remarking that in modern times the meaning of the death of Christ continues to be an important debate among theologians where, for example, child abuse and violence provoke many questions. This is why the following chapters discuss the need for the ministry of reconciliation in Africa with a focus on the South African and Angolan experiences in the light of a biblical model of reconciliation.
7. Research Gap
: After an overview of a number of studies of reconciliation, it became clear that this field in the case of Angola has been largely unexplored. One Master’s thesis on the field has been written by Afonso Teca promoted by Professor Masamba Mampolo, entitled: La
Guerre de l’Angola et la Crise d’ Identite – Quete d’une Pastorale de Reconciliation (The
Angolan War and Crisis of Identity – Quest for a Pastoral of Reconciliation) (Teca 1997). That thesis was orientated toward a pastoral practice of reconciliation with a focus on preaching.
The present thesis on the contrary despite its wide scope focuses on the ministry of reconciliation, developing a model which should help to promote repentance and national reconciliation. It compares and observes the TRC experience.
8. Overview of the Thesis
The thesis, including the introduction, consists of six chapters.
8.1. Chapter 1: Introduction
The background of the thesis is discussed, together with notes on the research question related to the objectives, approach, hypothesis, methodology, research gap and on the different terms used in the research.
8.2. Chapter 2: Africa, a continent in need of reconciliation
The chapter draws attention to many issues of tension regarding Africa as a continent of despair, where political, ideological, socio-economic differences, racism, and crimes are discussed as areas of conflict. It also discusses the question of how churches as well as communities of faith are instruments which must play their role in promoting reconciliation in
Africa, that is in offering hope for Africa.
8.3. Chapter 3: The South African Experience
The chapter considers the context which gave birth to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
(TRC), analyses the work of the TRC and looks at the actual South African experiences.
Special attention is given to the role of the churches and communities of faith during apartheid
(involvement with and struggle against the system) and participation in the TRC, which reveals awaiting challenges that should be addressed. The objective of this approach is to determine how the dynamic of some findings of the TRC could be applied in the Angolan experience.
8.4. Chapter 4: The Angolan Experience
The chapter briefly describes the Angolan history of civil war, which was rooted in colonial history. It presents the three liberation movements and the role of the churches during the civil war, draws attention to the Luena memorandum after Savimbi’s death, investigates the case of
Cabinda province and identifies challenges that are awaiting the churches and communities of faith.
8.5. Chapter 5: Developing a Ministry of Reconciliation for the Angolan
Churches: Theological and Practical Observations
The chapter presents and discusses the model of the reconciliation ministry, both theological and practical. Theologically, Missio-Dei is seen as the anchor of reconciliation, which also entails the practical dimension. It examines five perspectives of the reconciliation ministry which are related to the theological dimension: soteriological, Christological, pneumatological, historical and missiological. Practical observations take up four perspectives: Political; cultural; where ubuntu (the essence of the human being) and Tata Nlongi (catechist teacher), are compared as contextual theologies; sociological; and economic. Churches and communities of faith in ecumenical tune are as well as other institutions as God’s instruments, Missio-Dei.
8.6. Chapter 6: Conclusion and Recommendations
The focus of this chapter falls on the recommendations made, which are divided into four recommendations: To the state; to the churches and communities of faith; a specific recommendation to the Mennonites and a recommendation for further research.
AFRICA, A CONTINENT IN NEED OF RECONCILIATION
Today Africa is well known in the world for its specific problems such as political tension, high rates of HIV/AIDS, her numerous debts to the world economy, and human rights abuses. It seems that all that is bad, and nothing which is good, belongs to Africa. Even though the continent possesses numerous mineral resources, they were exploited in the colonial period and even today Africa is still fighting for its economic independence, facing many internal and external problems. The whole continent stands in need of reconciliation. Rebels everywhere increase political tension, and the imperatives for democracy as well as increasing globalization all pose challenges to Africa.
This chapter offers a panoramic view of certain African countries which have been struggling for a long time for peace and reconciliation, discussing Africa as a continent exhibiting the lack of these features. This need is clearly seen in human rights violations and the struggle to set up a new mood of democracy, as well as in the new ideology of globalization which constitutes the present world market. We are not writing the history of all of Africa. Rather, insights are given into a smaller section of the continent for those who wish to investigate the field of reconciliation, so that readers can find specific information about some countries. The information in this chapter stems from many materials, including books, electronic documents and articles. The chapter provides a broad framework before we accord special attention to
South Africa and Angola, which we wish to study comparatively in terms of their events of reconciliation, and their actual needs for reconciliation. Africa’s struggles for independence have resulted in many difficulties such as political, economic, social and religious tensions.
Africa is still struggling to discover its identity, and achieve greater development or economic independence. Conflicts and rebellions are everywhere observable in Africa, along with civil war, all of which give birth to crises. Reconciliation is an urgent need for Africa as we shall discover in this chapter.
2.1. Africa at the Beginning of the 21 st
Century: Despair and Hope
The 21 st century in Africa has been characterized by many challenges in Africa, especially those stemming from political tensions. It seems that in the previous century coups were the most common model of access to the various presidencies, instead of free and democratic elections. Hence there is despair almost everywhere in Africa. But might we also say that there is hope in Africa during this 21 st
century? We believe this, but our hope needs the combined action of Christians and other faith communities to combat the evil in Africa. Democracy, as well as globalization, in Africa is a challenge which calls for real endeavour and good leadership. Among all the problems that Africa is facing we number: leadership, political, economic, socio-cultural, ideological and religious tensions as stated above. We will investigate these below. We have selected some of the many materials available concerning Africa, among them: Human Rights Law in Africa volume two: Domestic Human Rights Law in Africa edited by Christof Heyns; Amnesty International Reports 2004, 2005 and 2006; Human Rights
in Africa edited by James T. Lawrence; State, Conflict, and Democracy in Africa edited by
Richard Joseph; Government and Politics in Africa edited by William Tordoff; Freedom’s
Distant Shores: American Protestants and Post-colonial Alliances with Africa edited by R. Drew
Smith; and many other books in addition to electronic documents and articles. Despair and hope in Africa live side by side, as we now discover.
2.2. Africa: Field of Tensions
Despair in Africa is easily visible in a series of tensions throughout the continent as well as despair within the political, socio-cultural, ideological, and religious spheres. All these tensions find their pattern in the legacy of leadership in Africa, where we have to work especially hard in order to offer Africa hope.
This section focuses on details concerning Africa as a field of tensions, providing cases to illustrate our view. Although many more examples could be quoted, the following will provide sufficient evidence of the need for reconciliation on the continent.
Leadership: Legacy of Despair
Despite some exceptional cases, the general opinion of leadership in Africa is, according to
Sello Patrick Rankhumise, Tony Modise & Meshack Mbowane, one where: “African presidents
[have] appointed themselves as life-time presidents” (2003:3). Roger Southall and Henning
Melber confirm that it was a dominant perception until the early 1990s that African rulers did not vacate their office alive (2006:xvi). To the majority of Africa’s leaders, democracy is incompatible with their vision of being a “life-time president”. This section deals with the despair related to African legacies in terms of the issues referred to above. When one views Africa there is no way to ignore these negative legacies of leadership. Piet Meiring quotes Archbishop
Desmond Tutu’s words in this regard: “Africa, oh Africa, where are your leaders?” (2002:719); furthermore, Meiring names some African leaders he considers able to lead their countries, but also the legacies of some who failed their people by not offering good leadership. He wrote:
But the disappointments, too, were many when leaders were not able to produce what their people had been promised. In many African countries – Uganda under Milton
Obote and Idi Amin, Ethiopia under Mengistu Haile Mariam, Somalia under Mohamed
Siad Barre, Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe, as well as Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda and Liberia under a succession of military rulers – the high ideal of the democracy of an independent judiciary and economic growth gave way to autocratic rule either in one party states or military dictatorships, where repression, injustice, human rights abuses, mal-administration, misappropriation of public funds and other resources, as well as corruption became the order of the day (op. cit.: 720).
How painful must such leadership and its leaders be to the people who are called to elect them or are used to support them as leaders. Repeatedly, Lawrence writes that many African countries are dominated by a strong presidency (2004:21).
Poor leadership in Africa seems to be the root cause of most of the problems Africa faces.
Norman Mlambo in his article: “Africa and World Bodies” discusses the relationship between
African countries and the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the United States of America (USA), in which it becomes clear that lack of leadership in Africa is the continent’s biggest problem. For instance
17 in writing about Africa and the UN interventions in numerous situations, Norman Mlambo argues:
Moreover, some of the blame for the continuation of Africa’s intractable conflicts must go to the African Union and its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, which also failed to effectively intervene and resolve the continent’s conflicts (2004: 9).
Why should Mlambo make such allegations regarding the African Union and its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU)? Obviously, some African leaders, who had been members of the OAU, are still seated in the African Union, which has changed its name, but not necessarily its policies. It is clear that most African countries are led by a “strong presidency and centralised power” (op. cit. p.4). Mlambo’s allegation concerning the African Union, where
African leaders meet to resolve questions regarding Africa, is accurate. In the case of Africa and the EU, where the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seems to be a sign of hope for Africa, the failure is still one of leadership. Mlambo points out that the largely good relationship between the EU and Africa has been disrupted by a number of disagreements, especially over matters of governance. The Zimbabwean issue is such an instance (op. cit..:
11). He shows how meetings were cancelled owing to the lack of good governance in the case of Zimbabwe. In the case of the World Bank and the IMF, where Africa is seen as the most indebted continent, these monetary institutions still control most of the available funds, which could, as a means of control, be taken away from corrupt leaders. Mlambo considers both institutions as “puppet masters in Africa” (ibid: 11). Africa, because of its leaders’ legacy of debt, is exploited, not only in its mineral resources, but even in its human resources. Many sound initiatives like the Southern African Development Community (SADC), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and others find themselves undermined by the lack of leadership. For instance Jikang Kim criticises NEPAD for its dependence on its partners, terming this “neo-colonialism” because there is no plan by African countries to obtain sustainable funding by their own initiative (2003 http://www.ai.org.za
). African leaders must therefore gather together soon, discuss this issue thoroughly and redefine its relationship to these initiatives if they really want to give hope to Africa. A good partnership cannot be based on imposition or imperialism as is the case in Africa today but should be based on fair negotiation and mutual understanding; equivalent participation from an equal position. To reinforce such a disposition, Africa needs to review her own leadership and focus on policies encouraging good governance. The legacy of those who have opted for a lifetime presidency,
18 such as Mobutu who called himself “sese-seko” (forever), should not be tolerated. As Sello
Patrick Rankhumise et al. observed, South Africa’s first democratically elected President
Mandela only served one five-year term of two five-year terms afforded by the South African constitution (op. cit.: 1).
Such examples of leaders willingly stepping down constitute signs of hope for African change towards good governance; this will encourage partnership with others.
2.2.2. Political Tensions
Power struggles comprise one of the weapons which leaders use to manipulate their people and institutions. The resulting political tensions likewise create despair. Most of the time, the political process is hampered by the ambitions of leaders and their ruling political parties. Little knowledge of the democratic system, and patterns of ethnic loyalties and traditions, often influence politics and the economy in a country for the worse. Here lie the real reasons for conflict and the rise of rebellions. There is no doubt about the existence of political tensions in
Africa. If one checks the election files in Africa, some of which were declared fair and free by outside observers, it becomes evident that local observers, including civil society, do not share the same view. They perceived them as unfair and thus not as free democratic elections. As a result, struggles between ruling and opposition parties break out and civil society pays a high price, resulting in more bloodshed and extreme poverty. The cases presented below will be enough to indicate how political tensions are tearing Africa apart.
In the case of Sierra Leone, 11 years of political tensions ended on 18 January 2001. The cause of this conflict, according to the Lawrence Report, was firstly a power struggle. According to Lawrence (2004:155) the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) insurgents fought successive governments since 1991 for a very simple reason: power. Both parties wanted control over the country. In May 2001 presidential and parliamentary elections took place in which Ahmed Tejan
Kabah was again voted president and his Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) succeeded in gaining a majority of seats in the parliament. International observers declared the election to be free and fair. However, as one might expect there were numerous contradictions, accompanied by reports of irregularities and abuses (ibid: 155).
In the case of Sudan the Amnesty International Report (2006:242) records the death of John
Garang de Mabior, head of the government of south Sudan and first Vice-president in the new
Government of National Unity, in late July, which resulted in widespread rioting in Khartoum and Juba. This occurred in spite of what had previously been achieved politically. But according to Lawrence, tensions emerged when President Omar Hassan al-Bahir took control in a military coup during 1989 (2004:187). He was re-elected in the 2000 elections that all major opposition parties boycotted. The major opposition political parties, for the most part, remained marginalized from the political process. Lawrence reports:
National Congress (and) National Islamic Front NC/NIF members and supporters continued to hold key positions in the Government, security forces, judiciary, academic institutions, trade unions, professional associations, and media. The judiciary was not independent and was subject to Government (ibid: 185).
A lack of hope stemming from Sudan’s complex conflicts was not only due to internal factors since the international community also failed to discover any solution. The civil population was slain by armed troops on all sides of Sudan’s conflict.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) political tensions issued from the fall of
Mobutu’s regime. According to Nzongola Ntalaja: “The fall of Mobutu came as a consequence of the drive by the new Rwandan authorities against Hutu extremists in the Congo” (2002:225).
To this the Amnesty International report adds that the transitional power-sharing government, created in 2003 and including members of the former government, major armed groups, opposition political parties and civil society, made little progress towards a transition to democratic rule. Serious delays in the passing of electoral laws and the organization of elections planned in June 2005 resulted in the transition being extended to June 2006 (2006:
Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo took place on 31 July 2006. They were declared to be fair, free and democratic but were followed by tensions and violence. The result was that a second round of presidential elections needed to be held for there was no winner with a clear majority. A great measure of instability in the DRC still exists.
Cote d’Ivoire, with both delight and darkness in its history, is today one of the African countries under United Nations care: firstly by means of the political mission called the “United Nations
Mission in Cote d’Ivoire” (MINUCI), set up in May 2003; secondly in terms of the peacekeeping mission termed “UN Operations in Cote d’Ivoire” (UNOCI), established on 4 April 2004, as
Tshiliso Molukanele, Grayden Ridd & Jamila el Abdellaiou report (2004:48). Why should the
United Nations dispatch peacekeepers to Cote d’Ivoire? Lawrence answers that although in
October 2000, Laurent Gbagbo became the country’s third elected president, ending an almost
10-month period of military rule, the election, which excluded two of the major parties, was marred by significant violence and irregularities (op. cit.: 47).
It is clear why political tensions persist in this country.
In Burundi Molukanele et al. indicate that the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB)
“was created by UN Security Council Resolution 1545 on 21 May 2004 for an initial period of six months” (2004:50). Unfortunately, or fortunately, the ONUB continues to operate because tensions are continuing. Lawrence writes that in July 2001, President Buyoya and the regional leaders signed an agreement to begin the 3-year transition period agreed to in peace negotiations on November 1, 2002 but that the two major armed rebel groups declined to join the peace process. A transitional Constitution was adopted in October 2001, and on November
1, 2001, Buyoya was sworn in as president; Domitien Ndayizeye, the secretary general of the predominantly ethnic Hutu opposition party FRODEBU, as vice president. Under the agreement, Buyoya would serve as president for 18 months and then be succeeded by
Ndayizeye, who would likewise serve 18 months as a transitional president. Continued efforts to negotiate a cease-fire with the two largest rebel groups were unsuccessful. As a result political parties operated under significant restraints (2004: 15).
It seems that Burundi shared the same experience as the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Suggestions such as that all opposition leaders should be incorporated into the transitional presidency might bring some comfort to those who feel marginalized but will probably be offensive to the ruling party.
To end this section, we consider what is occurring in Zimbabwe where the cries of
Zimbabweans are being heard everywhere, as declared by Reverend Reginald Mudenda:
“Zimbabwe is currently struggling through an economic and political crisis. Most Zimbabweans
21 lose hope when they look around them” (2004:6). To provide some background to Zimbabwe, the Atlas of World History records that Zimbabwe had been a British colony and became independent as the Republic of Rhodesia on 11 November 1965. On 1 June 1979 it became the Republic of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, for a while remaining as a British colony until 18 April
1980, when complete independence was granted (1994:91).
The actual Zimbabwean situation has raised many questions politically and economically, regarding what is taking place as regards the intimidation of its civil population and destruction of the infrastructure. Lawrence has pointed out that Zimbabwe is a republic in which president
Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) have dominated the executive and legislative branches of the Government since independence in
1980 (op. cit.: 223).
In 2003 the World Mennonite Conference meeting in Bulawayo gave to the Zimbabwean
Government a General Council Declaration concerning Zimbabwe. The World Mennonite
Conference (WMC) participants were disturbed about the decline of the economy, the deterioration of social order and the increase in cases of HIV/AIDS. This Declaration of the
General Council (Declaracion Del Concilio General Sobre Zimbabwe) was ratified on 17 August
2003. A summary follows:
The document especially deplored the actual situation of suffering within Zimbabwe: The fear and brutality resulting from oppression and political conflicts, excessive political power and arbitrary arrests, and legislation that limits democratic expression and freedom of assembly; the difficulties and the exploitation which result from the bankrupt economy, the abuse of privileges and the corruption, scarcities on all levels, the unemployment and the endemic poverty; The disunity and death result from a humanitarian crisis in large part caused by the poor administration of the economy, the massive lack of provisions, medications and medical services, and the calamity of HIV/AIDS (My translation from Spanish, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, 17
This information does not contradict what Lawrence writes further about the Government security forces, arguing that security forces committed extrajudicial killings. Ruling party supporters and war veterans in some cases killed, abducted, tortured, abused, raped and threatened farm owners and their workers. There were reports of politically motivated
22 disappearances. Security forces and Government youth militias tortured, beat raped, and otherwise abused persons (op. cit.: 224).
As long as the behaviour of Zimbabwean leaders continues, the necessity exists for a reconciliation process to give hope in Zimbabwe. As we saw above in the case of Zimbabwe, the progress made in the SADC did not help because many meetings were postponed. Not only Zimbabwe, but also Africa in general, illustrates lack of good leadership. I argue that security forces which do not defend and protect the civil population, which is their first mission, but one-sidedly serve those who are not acting justly, can be seen as hunting the very people they have the duty to protect. They work like “rural dogs”, only good as hunting animals for their owners.
From the above examples we can easily conclude that Africa is a continent filled with tensions.
Many questions arise: Why the lack of respect for the constitutions? Why do the terms of certain presidents double in length, at least? Political ideologies such as democracy do not hold because the traditional or cultural societal policies are still alive and control the minds of most national African leaders as well as of leaders in the churches.
Africa today is characterized by great unemployment everywhere and poverty reigns, even where growth is rapid. The socio-economic divide is a mirror reflecting huge differences between the rich and poor. The rich constitute a minority and most of them are members of the ruling party. The poor, always the majority, are voiceless. The economic situation is one of the issues that illustrate the results of poor leadership in Africa. It leads to many African countries experiencing tension and despair. When a reconciliation process begins, in whatsoever country, the population expects economic and health issues to be solved. Some instances follow. As a backdrop to them, Poku K. Nana in his article on “Poverty, debt and Africa’s
HIV/AIDS crisis” shows that deprived social conditions favour the spread of HIV. According to him, some debt would have to be cancelled, including that owed to the multilateral institutions themselves (which accounts for almost one-third of Africa’s total debt). Creditors agreed that, in principle, as much as 80 percent of external debt could be cancelled (2002:539).
Africa is well known as a continent burdened by huge debt and poverty. As a consequence, in
Puko K. Nana’s opinion, HIV/AIDS results from the impoverished economies which contain most black Africans. Thomas M. Callaghy also describes Africa’s debt since 1998 in these terms:
In 1974 the total debt of sub-Saharan Africa was about $14.8 billion, but by the end of
1984, according to World Bank figures, it had reached about $91 billion. Other estimates put the figure closer to $125 billion. Of the $91 billion, 63.5 percent was public and publicly guaranteed medium- and long-term debt, broken down as follows, as percentages of the total $91 billion: bilateral, 24.3 percent; multilateral, 16.1 percent; suppliers’ credits, 2.4 percent; and private bank, 20.7 percent (1998: 384).
When close attention is given to what is said above, there is no doubt that Africa carries heavy debt as a continent. On 14 December 2001 BBC News revealed the collapse of the African economy in many countries, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit source, which added that the African Development Bank had predicted that current economic growth would be barely 3-5%, no more than the continent’s rate of population growth as projected for 2002 in sub-Saharan Africa: Zimbabwe –5.0%, Gabon –0.6%, Liberia + 1.0%, Kenya 2.5% and South
Africa 2.9% ( www.bbc.co.uk
However, BBC News also reports the fastest growth in some African countries: Equatorial
Guinea 34%, Angola 10.3%, Chad 10%, Mozambique 9.5%, Ethiopia 6.8%, Burkina Faso 6%,
Mali 6% and Senegal 5.9% ( www.bbc.co.uk
Economic growth in the case of Mozambique is also confirmed by Sello Patrick Rankhumise et
al., where they estimated its growth rate to be approximately 10% (op. cit.: 2). Lawrence provides a succinct economic report about each African country. Most political tensions are linked to the economic behaviour of African political leaders, who appropriate for themselves with their allies the wealth of the country. For instance, in Malawi, it is said that wealth remained highly concentrated in the hands of a small elite. Annual per capita income was approximately $178 (op. cit.: 93). This is the case, not only in Malawi, but also elsewhere in
Africa. In the case of Nigeria, Lawrence also perceives the national wealth as being in the
24 hands of the numerically small elite and notes the deterioration of the general economy which was hindered by “mismanagement”; the agricultural sector declined greatly during the oil boom decades and years of military rule, which contributed significantly to increased unemployment.
The majority of economic activity took place outside the formal sector (ibid: 121).
Paul Collier in his article on “The Economic History: The Colonial and Postcolonial Eras,” referring to Africa, likewise mentions the decline of agriculture and the growth of oil wealth among the ruling classes, citing the case of Nigeria as “the classic example (2005:6).
In The Republic of Congo the tension between Pascal Lisuba and Denis Sassu Nguesso resulted not only in political problems but also in difficulties regarding the exploration of national oil resources. Lawrence notes that oil and timber exports remained the country’s main sources of foreign exchange, adding that although per capita gross domestic product was estimated in
2001 at approximately $700, this figure included substantial oil export revenues, which were not distributed widely throughout the population (ibid: 45).
If the national revenues are not distributed to inhabitants in general and are subject to foreign exploration, it becomes obvious that those who have already allowed such exploration want to see it sustained and desire to get rid of those who wish to hinder such exploration. Again it is clear that the wealth of the country remains in the hands of the small elites.
In the case of Zimbabwe, to which BBC News refers above, the economy collapsed and
Lawrence states clearly that gross domestic product (GDP) dropped to an estimated $4.1 billion (ZS$6,560 billion). During the year, per capita GDP fell to $344 and, according to authoritative estimates, more than 70 percent of the population lived below the poverty line
In Kenya, according to Lawrence, many international financial institutions still maintained pressure by means of financial subsidies based on anti-corruption measures. The gross domestic product for 2001 was officially published as $300 million, which meant that about 57 percent of the poor population, their conditions exacerbated by poverty, survived on less than
$1 per day as their standard of living. Many people are infected with HIV/AIDS: those living with infection comprise about 13 percent of the population between the age of 14 and 49, a situation
25 which increased many kinds of reactions to the salaries earned among civil society professionals (ibid: 79-80).
Economic tension should not be isolated from the others since it is linked with political and cultural factors. In Sudan for instance, Lawrence reports that the talks at Machakos focused on power and wealth sharing, and on November 18, 2001the two sides agreed to extend the ceasefire and humanitarian access agreements until March 2003 (op. cit.: 187).
For many African leaders, usually black, the economic issue seems to take second place, but it is central to all the other tensions. For those who are in power, politics often means extending their respective tribes’ and family members’ control over the country. As shown above in both preceding sections, political and economic tensions are linked with each other and with sociocultural differences. Economies are concentrated in the hands of small elites. Government leaders create tension with the people by marginalizing minorities and ignoring opposition parties. This pattern is not sustainable and dialogue regarding reconciliation should therefore be adopted as a peaceful way to resolve economic differences. In his article “Africa: Still on the
Anti-graft Crusade,” Adewale Banjo refers to the broad campaign against corruption from northern to southern Africa in the new programmes of the “Economic West African States
(ECOWAS)” and of the “Southern African Development Community (SADC)” but observes that anti-corruption campaigns and the institutionalisation of anti-graft crusades in Africa may have become superficial in nature, rarely addressing the actual fundamental problems (2003:3).
Furthermore he demonstrates that some African countries are among the world leaders as regards corruption. Among them are listed six African states, the most corrupt of which is
Nigeria, followed by Madagascar, Angola, Kenya, Uganda and Cameroon (ibid: 3). The anticorruption campaigns adopted in almost all African countries do not seem to function effectively. Adewale Banjo suggests in his conclusion that loans granted to African countries without direct economic benefits should cease and that cross-border economic crimes should be tackled (op. cit. 4).
African poverty, exacerbated everywhere, even where growth is rapid, is caused mainly by corruption which is perceived as a failure of leadership. Unemployment is an outcome of this.
2.2.4. Socio-cultural Tensions
The postcolonial period has been considered a time of renaissance for Africa, a time of the rediscovery of African cultures trampled upon by the colonialists. Africans fought for independence; political, religious and traditional leaders thought their ethnic and other interethnic organizations would rediscover their lost identities. Yet ethnicity continues to play the same role as in the period of independence. Ethnic groups seek to prove their pride and capabilities to their fellow citizens. Leaders of major ethnic groups, by showing how powerful they are, cause tensions with other ethnic groups who feel marginalized and offended by the leading ethnic group. This kind of ethnic conflict leads to diverse conflicts and tensions in all levels of life in Africa. Wim M. J. van Binsbergen, in his article on “Ethnicity: Central Africa”, indicates how ethnicity can be a constructive as well as a destructive tool in the reconstruction of a country. The case of Rwanda evidences a destructive aspect of ethnicity, he argues.
Ethnicization turns class conflict into ethnic conflict over control of the state, and having captured the state, an ethnic group seizes its political and military resources to further its own aims. With the global availability of sophisticated weaponry, ethnic conflicts are easily precipitated into large-scale violence, of which the 1994 tragedy in Rwanda is only one example from central Africa (2005: 5).
During the era of democratisation in Africa, ethnicity played the role of supporting leaders fairly or blindly in various areas. The results of such strategies are seen everywhere in Africa.
Lawrence confirms that this problem is found in many countries. Certain cases follow.
In Botswana, ethnicism seems to result in a policy of marginalizing others, as Lawrence writes:
“Some citizens, including groups not numbered among the eight ‘principal tribes’ of the Tswana nation, the majority ethnic group, remained marginalized in the political process” (op. cit.: 9).
This means that the president’s ethnic group dominates the country. Desperation results from such policies, which shows that the influence of leadership in Africa remains a significant problem.
In Cameroon members of the Beti and Bulu ethnic groups dominate the government, civil service, and management of state-owned business (ibid: 19), while in Mauritania Lawrence notes the concentration of much of the country’s wealth in the hands of a small elite, including
27 the president’s tribe and related Moor tribes (ibid: 99). This reinforces the point that frustration stemming from socio-cultural tensions is a result of a lack of good governance. Earl Conteh-
Morgan (in chapter 6 of his book) “Democratization in Africa”, “The Ethnopolitical-
Democratization Conflict Nexus”, demonstrates that everywhere in Africa, ethnicity is often/always involved in the pattern of conflicts. He writes: “In Ethiopia [emphasis the researcher’s], until recently the societal trend has been one of Amhara dominance in government; in Liberia [ditto] until 1980 it was one of Americo-Liberian hegemony over the native groups”. Furthermore, he evokes the case of Rwanda again, saying that in January
1994 a dispute erupted with opposition leader Bernard Kolela following parliamentary elections.
The following clashes took place along ethnic lines. In Burundi, the success that ushered in the first Hutu elected president was quickly shattered in 1993, when a coup d’etat led by Tutsi military officers overthrew the new regime and killed its president (1997:94/113).
As regards Kenya, the article written by D. Foeken & T. Dietz, “Of Ethnicity, Manipulation and
Observation: the 1992 and 1997 elections in Kenya,” published in Election Observation and
Democratization in Africa (2000: 122-149), commented extensively on this country’s sociocultural and political conflicts. It shows how manipulation was possible in two ways: first, by demarcating the boundary of a constituency and second by the determination of numbers of constituencies. These authors adduce further evidence in the fact that the registrations of voters for the 1997 election continued for 48 days, while the 1988 registrations took three months amidst alleged anomalies regarding the inability of many voters to participate caused by the lack of identity cards in some sectors of the population.
In this context we need also to discuss the question of racism in Africa. Africa exhibits not only tribal tensions but also tensions based on racism. The cases of South Africa and Angola focus on this aspect. Apartheid policies were based on racism and similarly the guerrilla Savimbists in
Angola fought against the government, which they alleged was corrupt because of whites within the Angolan government. This was adduced as one of the reasons, among others, for civil war. The living together of black, white, and coloured people in Africa becomes problematic even though apparently in some areas they do cooperate. Generally they reside separately and only if there is some kind of obligation do they come together for a while.
2.2.5. Poverty and HIV/AIDS threaten
HIV/AIDS and Poverty also bring despair to Africa’s inhabitants. HIV/AIDS as well as poverty surely kill everywhere, every day and every class, indiscriminately, leaving many orphans and widows. To HIV/AIDS, we must also add other diseases such as malaria. Nana K. Poku confirms this by remarking: “Today HIV has become the leading infectious killer on the continent, but its structural impact threatens to be much more devastating than that of Africa’s other infectious killers” (2000:532). The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and the Acquired
Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has reached all nations and does not spare any country.
Fiona Fleck comments: “It is said that over two-thirds of the world’s HIV/AIDS cases were in southern Africa but now the virus is spreading fastest in eastern Europe and Central Asia, where the number of cases tripled between 1999 and 2002 ” (2004:77). Hence HIV/AIDS really is threatening the world in general with a rapidly-increasing fear as regards Africa in particular.
Cases multiply wherever there are high rates of poverty, resulting in death and many other problems. The world economy is now in danger because of HIV/AIDS, observed Nana K. Poku:
Of course, by treating the pandemic as a health crisis caused by a crisis of a hypersexualized culture, the World Bank and the IMF can continue to pursue their structural adjustment programmes (SAP) on the continent uninterrupted (op. cit. : 538).
For some, HIV/AIDS is not only a medical issue: it becomes more political than medical. R. A.
Freedland’s words are quoted by Poku: “For some time many observers of this grotesquely pervasive HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa have taken the view that its dominant feature has been politics, not medicine” (2000:532). The South African government came under heavy criticism for its perceived underestimation of the pandemic, and the lack of programmes to try to curtail the disease. Discussing the issue of HIV/AIDS, Nana K. Puku states: “Mbeki’s ‘audacity’, as one Western scientist viewed it, was to challenge the view that Africa’s HIV crisis was functionally related to its unusually high rates of sexual partner changes” (ibid: 532). He discusses this issue cautiously, commenting that although this view merely reiterates the central thrust of prevention programmes over the past two decades it can be refuted in these terms:
It is important to remind ourselves that significant levels of unprotected multipartnered sex take place in the Western world as well, as evidenced by serious epidemics of other STDs, such as herpes-2 and chlamydia. Sexual behaviour is undoubtedly an important factor in the transmission of any sexually based disease. Alone, however, it appears totally inadequate in explaining HIV prevalence as high as 30 per cent anywhere in the Western world (2000:533).
He believes that HIV/AIDS can be linked to the dramatic and extreme poverty which control
Africa and its population. Regarding this view, echoed also by Pastor Louis and Jonathan
Mann, he argues that the environment in which any infection is transmitted is bound to be strongly influenced by crucial societal factors such as the levels of poverty, sanitation, malnutrition, environmental degradation, and access to preventive and curative care. Herein lies Africa’s vulnerability to diseases more generally and to HIV in particular (Ibid 533).
It is important to point out that sexual behaviour is the main issue identified in the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. But poverty is undoubtedly also a factor.
Today the rate of sexual immorality in our towns is high. Poverty is the accelerator of HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS is facilitated by extreme poverty. Shall we observe how the economy is connected with HIV/AIDS? Nana K Poku considers that cutting the health budget for the purposes of international debt payment is a high risk for Africa. For him such circumstances make it almost impossible to treat the virus effectively, or to undertake effective campaigns to reduce high–risk behaviour and provide essential resources in the fight against the pandemic
Even though the World Health Organization (WHO) is making enormous efforts, HIV/AIDS remains a massive challenge for Africa in particular and for the world in general. The WHO’s
AIDS epidemic update 2003, released on 25 November, calculated that 40 million people – 5 million of whom were infected in 2003 – were living with HIV/AIDS (WHO News, 2005:77).
Hope as far as the WHO is concerned was based on getting antiretroviral drugs to 3 million of these by 2005. The WHO news states that this plan, known as the 3-by-5 initiative, is seen as a vital step to providing universal treatment for AIDS patients across the world (2005:77).
This effort embodies the best of medicine’s resources in dealing with the pandemic but there still remains the economic question of how the poor gain access to this treatment or the drugs.
Branwen Gruffydd Jones, in his article, “Africa and Poverty of International Relations,” draws attention to studies of development and international relations. He considers poverty as a phenomenon of the shift from traditionalism to modernism, where structures themselves alter, adding that the modern social condition of poverty in Africa can only be understood as a global phenomenon, in the sense that conditions of local poverty are the outcome of a historical process of social change rooted in the world history, and reproduced today through social relations which are themselves globally structured (2005: 987).
It is important to point out that the move from the traditional to the modern world should be taken into consideration if we want to solve the problem of poverty in Africa, rather than by violently challenging structures which hold to the traditional type of life. In Jones’s words: “The logic of analysis consists of identifying empirical characteristics and patterns of behaviour of the state” (ibid: 991). In this respect Lasswell states that the science of development is necessary to inform policy because the process of modernisation requires assistance from the more advanced states (ibid: 990). It is important to investigate what is keeping Africa in such precarious conditions. According to Branwen Gruffydd Jones, it is obvious that Africa is still controlled by traditional processes, which produce a modernism still surrounded by traditional behaviour. Thus assistance is necessary for training people as regards sustainable development.
2.2.6. Ideological Tensions
Africa is not only burdened by political, economic and socio-cultural tensions but also by ideological pressures, which further contribute to despair. Democracy, federalism, capitalism, and socialism are political ideologies and in the international market economic ideologies such as partnership and globalization create confusion for the leaders of new African nations and their people in general. It is often claimed that these ideologies function on behalf of the developed and industrialized countries of western cultures, in order to keep the third world under their control. This is neo-colonialism. Norman Mlambo writes: “On the one hand, globalisation is concentrating economic power and centralising political control in a few
Northern countries while at the same time it is marginalizing and impoverishing parts of the third world” (2004:11). Lawrence observes for instance that in Malawi no clear-cut ideological difference among the three political parties is evident (op. cit.: 93).
Such confusion may be verified within many major African nations. Political parties should really identify with one of these ideologies and focus their attention on the reconstruction of the country. The government too should develop a clear vision of its leadership. For instance the
African National Congress (ANC), according to Saunders, thought that apartheid was an integral part of the capitalist system in South Africa. The previous rulers were concerned about the influence of communism in the ANC (2005: 3). This kind of ideological misunderstanding has existed since the struggle against colonialism began among African leaders.
The case of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reveals this tension in the person of
Lumumba, who is considered a national martyr who died for the sake of his country’s freedom.
His socialist ideology caused him to experience great tension with other ideological leaders who laid many traps for him and led to his making many mistakes. For instance Lumumba requested the withdrawal of UN troops to welcome the Russian troops in Congo, but when, during the crisis between Lumumba and Kassa-vubu, Joseph Desire Mobutu seized power by force, Lumumba again called on the UN for help, contradicting his previous request. His mistakes were both political and ideological and reined in his great personality and his extreme nationalism. Ralph, Uwechue et al. write about his death that some observers believed that the
UN had handed him over to Mobutu’s troops who later claimed to have arrested him. Lumumba was severely beaten up before being jailed in Thysville, pending his trial (1996:363/4). Although the apparent democratization of Africa has taken place, most political leaders are still mired in federalism, which is not proclaimed as such, but in practice each leader clings to his homeland village or tribe. In the case of Ethiopia, Lawrence observes that highly centralized authority, poverty, civil conflict, and unfamiliarity with democratic concepts combined to complicate the implementation of federalism (op. cit.: 61). When discrimination and “marginalisation” dominate within the process of democratisation in Africa, we can only say that these kinds of mistakes among African leaders constitute an ideological crisis. Workshops and seminars dealing with democracy, federalism, capitalism, etc., could be helpful to leaders and people in general.
The world today tends toward universal liberal globalisation policies because the open market has both a constructive and a destructive impact on the third world, as Mlambo states above. If today we do not understand how to live peacefully, tomorrow, when we try to make peace with each other, the challenge of global mission will find us without anything to share with other developed countries. Ecclesiastical leaders, with their theological belief that God does not
32 abandon the world, in which he commissioned the church, should take part in the political issues of their own countries without reserve. In doing so, the churches could become the light of the world in all aspects of life. But it should be noted that religions in Africa have also contributed to many tensions during both the pre-colonial and post-colonial periods.
2.2.7. Religious Tensions
Colonization in Africa brought with it many difficulties, including poverty, political tensions, economic differences, ethnicism, racism and religious tensions. In particular, the religious tensions arrived on the scene early when Africa was divided into territories with boundaries, which separated one state from another state in terms of the religions to which each state had been tied. The history of religious tensions goes back many centuries. Sanneh confirms this when he writes:
From such dispersal, both planned and unplanned, Christianity from the fourth century onward penetrated beyond the boundaries of the Roman Empire into Egypt, Meroe, and Aksum, and the sixth century into Ethiopia, a penetration that stamped the religion with its territorial character (2005: 3).
In later centuries, during the period of colonization, Roman Catholic as well as Protestant missionaries were either welcomed or prohibited, according to the “faith” of the colonial government. Sanneh observes that Christianity began to shed its territorial complexes only with the nineteenth century Catholic and Protestant missions (ibid: 3). Although these missions could share their traditional territories, this exceptional case is not the same with other religions. Today there are tensions between Christians and Muslims, Christians and traditional
African religious practitioners and other religions or unidentified beliefs which resist Christianity.
In Nigeria where Christians comprise 45.8 percent and Muslims 44.0 percent of the population, according to Barrett’s data (1999:26), they are always in tension. Throughout Africa, two major religious groups (Christianity and Islam) are dominant and are often in conflict with each other.
When we observe Barrett’s statistics and those of other scholars relating to religious groups in
Africa, we find that in northern Africa, Islam is the leading and influential religious group, while in Central Africa as well as in southern Africa, Christianity is the leading religious group. A table of data adapted from David B. Barrett (1999:26) follows:
Country name Christians
9.3 % 87.5 % 1.9 % - -
0.2 96.7 - - -
16.0 83.4 - - -
3.9 95.4 - 0.1 0.3
0.6 98.2 - - -
16.1 71.7 11.1 - -
0.5 98.9 - - -
0.3 99.3 - - -
92.6 0.1 6.3 0.1 -
92.3 - 5.7 - -
*Angola 94.8 - 4.2 -
*Congo DRC 95.9 1.1 1.9 -
Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Barrett’s data are included in central Africa which includes Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo Brazzaville,
Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Zaire. In this region, Christians represent 82.6% of the populace, Muslims 9.1%, Hindus 0.1%, Buddhists and traditional religions 7.2% (ibid: 26). The data show that Christianity and Islam, in spite of the presence of other religions, are the two leading religions in Africa. The majority religious group usually wields strong influence, as
Lawrence confirms (op. cit.: 122). Even though a majority of African states declare themselves to be secular, they take sides in religious issues. In the countries where Christians are a
34 majority, Muslims and other believers are subject to discrimination while where Muslims are a majority, Christians and other believers are subject to discrimination and violence. Abraham
McLaughlin describes such tensions between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria and Sudan: In
Nigeria’s religious city of Jos (short for “Jesus our Saviour”) the Government reported that 50
000 people died between 1999 and 2004 in sectarian clashes. Until a peace deal last year,
Sudan’s northern Muslims and southern Christians had been at war for two decades (2006) www.csmonitor.com
These kinds of mistakes and unfortunate behaviour have led Africa into its current crisis, of which inexperienced democracies have also been alleged to be one of the main causes.
It is possible to trace the roots of this behaviour to the colonial period where leadership was weakened and developed into the kind of leadership legacy described above. For instance in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the case of Simon Kimbangu and the Kimbanguists, when the movement announced the country to be a “Catholic State”, the taking into custody of its leaders was influenced by Catholic leaders, according to David W. Shenk (1997: 119; see also Marie-Louis Martin’s similar view (1975:58). As a further example, when in some African countries their constitutions recognize only one form of religious wedding as legal, only the most influential religious group enjoys this privilege. Others’ weddings are then not recognized.
We think that such situations should be minimized to give consideration to all religious groups, allowing them to benefit from the same privilege. Frontline Fellowship News comprised a valuable source in reporting how Christians and Muslims proceed in mutual persecution: “The
Muslims then went on the rampage down the main road in Jos burning Christian businesses, churches and homes. The next day the Christians rallied together and stood firm to resist the
Muslim attacks” (2003:5).
We are living on the same planet and in the same continent. This situation should be redressed. We should put aside all religious tension under the Holy One who gives us this beautiful continent with our differences as a wonderful world to be part of, with countries as our inheritance to share with each other. The church should promote dialogue as regards the unity of religious groups and all other human beings’ beliefs, as a continual process without discrimination. This should occur at the regional as well as at the local levels.
Africa is a field of tensions, where the United Nations is very busy resolving conflicts, and sending out not messengers of the gospel of peace for the proclamation of the kingdom, but armed peacemakers who challenge militias and government troops. Hope in such an atmosphere seems to be utopian but the church and communities of faith must join their hands together to reflect deeply on how Africa can be made a peaceful, reconciled and united continent rejoicing in the diversity of its abundant resources and beauty of life for the Lord’s glory.
How could this become possible? Jessica Powers, quoting Canon Taylor, as regards understanding Muslims, writes that: “Islam is an imperfect Christianity;” she termed it “a half-
Christian faith” (2006) www.csmonitor.com
. Christianity too, in the eyes of Muslims, is an imperfect Islam. Christians recognize that the Q’uran expresses some basic truths about and respect for Jesus, whom it believes to be a holy prophet of Allah. Hence there is the possibility of working towards peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians. Abraham
Mclaughlin in his article referred to above, entitled “In Africa, Islam and Christianity are growing
– and blending”, indicates the progress of coexistence between Muslims and Christians in
Nigeria in some places, even though there are hostilities and tensions elsewhere. A well developed reconciliation ministry, understood in the local and regional context, could be helpful to foster such cooperation between Muslims and Christians and other faith communities.
2.3. The Role of the Church in Africa, to promote Unity and Reconciliation
The rapid growth of Christianity in Africa also offers hope for the world. Churches are spreading everywhere, in the cities as well as in the rural areas. John Mbiti estimated that by the year
2000 A.D. 400,000,000 Christians would be found in Africa (1975: 182); in this respect Drew
Smith writes that worldwide, members of Pentecostal churches numbered more than
147,000,000 in 1970 and in 1995, more than 605,000,000 (2006:2). But this growth of
Christianity in Africa is for some people associated with the fact of western influence, which is perceived in terms of cultural propaganda. John Mbiti notes that in the minds of some people it is still associated with Europe and America, since the majority of the missionaries stemmed from those territories (op. cit.: 182). But one should recall that Christianity in Africa is not a question of the arrival of European or American missionaries: this religion boasts an ancient history, in the north since patristic times.
Many western thinkers and theologians consider African spirituality as offering hope for the evangelization and re-evangelization of the world. But they also see the legacy of the growth of the Church in Africa, which does not self-finance, auto-manage or auto-sustain itself. Siaki Paul writes the following on behalf of Anglicans: “Africa will probably lead all continents for the
Anglican Communion with an estimated 42% of all Anglicans by the year 2010” (2002: 34).
Such an affirmation could be seen as overall support for his denomination. But Africa represents hope only if we address the questions which challenge Africa and produce despair.
The first legacy that the churches must put aside is western denominationalism, which has a strong hold of our Christianity and divides us. If we do this the unity, for which the Lord prayed, would be seen by all nations in one united Church. The case of Rwanda, as one example, shows how fragile our Christianity is. We will examine what this means concretely for the
Church’s mission. Thus, two points are central to the following section: Firstly the disunity among the Churches and secondly the potential role of the Churches.
2.3.1. Disunity among the Churches
As stated above, denominationalism is so strong that the unity for which the Lord Jesus Christ prayed turns us into divided believers, not in the Christ but in the denominations.
Denominationalism, some will argue, is a diversity of services in Christ. But when we investigate more deeply, there is not just diversity, but really division and tension among
Christians. In the church councils we perceive tension between Ecumenical and Evangelical movements in the denominations founded by western movements. Among African churches that are influenced within their already divided ethnic contexts, denominations adopt all sorts of western cultural influence as part of the gospel and, under pressure, require all members to submit to these, which then results in divisions and the proliferation of new independent and charismatic churches. Sherwood Lingenfelter’s criticism is worth considering:
Why is it that in the process of establishing churches in non western nations we transfer our culture of church? Can we find a biblical basis for this practice? Are missionaries planting biblically founded indigenous churches, or are they transferring their culture of Christianity to every nation of the world? (1997: 12).
The case of the Methodist Church in South Africa has been cited as one example of division resulting from cultural differences between white and black. Hendriks & Erasmus wrote:
All who know the history of the Methodist church will be well aware of its missionary zeal in previous centuries, but also the large numbers of Black people who broke away to form Africanised or indigenised ‘African Methodist’ Churches (2002: 28).
Much of the disunity of the churches stems from the racism and ethnocentrism which dominate the various denominations. The genocide in Rwanda should summon us to realize how weak
Christianity is in Africa so that fellowship is patterned not on Christ but on our ethnicities and race. Brothers and sisters killed each other within the church in Rwanda because they belonged to Hutu or Tutsi ethnic groups. And as Piet Meiring asks: ‘what was the role of the church in Rwanda? (1999: 110). “The Kigali Covenant”, in A New Version for Africa (Geneva:
World Council of Churches 2005), paraphrased by Itonde Kakoma, states:
The church, called to be a light upon a hill for the whole world to see, continually covers its flame with shadows of complacency and hypocrisy. Where were the cries and confessions of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice when thousands of Rwandans sought refuge in sanctuaries, only to perish at the hands of parishioners, nuns, monks and clergy? (2005: 15).
Most of the leaders of the different denominations are supported by their tribal or ethnic members within the churches. Like the political leaders, denominational leaders act and behave in similar ways. If we want to look deeply at this legacy of the churches in Africa, there are many cases to refer to, not only that of Rwanda but in many countries and all denominations: Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Pentecostals and Mennonites are all weak and divided even within their own denominations. Special attention will be given to this point in the comparative studies of South Africa and Angola in order to understand how the divided churches actually increased and influenced tensions within the national crises by which these countries were overwhelmed for many years during apartheid and civil war.
2.3.2. The Role of the Church in Africa
As mentioned, the Church is an imperfect community of believers, the mystic and lovely body of Christ, called to become perfect for its own sake, as well as to help and to transform the world for the glory of God. She has a powerful role to play. Though she is, as Lesslie Newbigin says, “The bearer of the presence of the kingdom through history, [this] is surely not as the community of the righteous in a sinful world … it is a sinful community” (1978:59). The church should not only assist affected communities or nations by donating goods but should also condemn ideologies which are inhumane and destroy the law and the rights of people. We appreciate what, for instance, the South African Council of Churches did for Zimbabwe in
August 2005 by sending assistance to the population when the government violated their basic rights (The New Dimension August 2005, vol 35 No 08:1). This is offering real hope and constitutes a partial role of the church in serving the world in which the Lord commissions us to be the light.
By giving our assistance to the affected population, what lesson do we communicate to the government? Are we not telling them to “destroy and we shall rebuild what you are destroying”?
Furthermore the Methodist Newspaper states that it was feared that the government would hijack the aid, valued at about R 220,000. The churches in Zimbabwe should not only take the responsibility of distributing the relief, but should normally challenge the government by peaceful negotiation, demonstrating the legacy of their policies in terms of the Missio-Dei in which the church is one of God’s partners or instruments. If the church wishes to express something for or against the Zimbabwean government the Council of Churches, through its delegates, should speak courageously to the government leaders. By doing so, we are not only providing material assistance to the people affected, but also helping political leaders by fair negotiations, dialogue and showing them God’s will for the good governance of the nation.
By despatching its delegates and aid to Zimbabwe, the South African Council of Churches
(SACC) could also be involved in such a mission, through the Zimbabwean Churches’ Council, to promote peace and reconciliation. The Church should at all levels promote unity and reconciliation; if the church is in any sense apostolic it is because of the reconciliation for which the Lord Jesus appointed us as ambassadors according to 2 Cor. 5: 16 – 21. The role of the
Church is not only mono-cultural: by sending our aid to other countries, as did the South
African Council of Churches (SACC), we are reaching the trans-cultural dimension of the
Missio-Dei, which is truly apostolic and catholic. This means that we are useful to God and that we might hear, in the eschatos, an excellent word for the Church: “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25: 21).
In Somalia, for instance, the churches and other religious groups which were present in the
International Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) sponsored a reconciliation conference led by Kenya, in association with Ethiopia and Djibouti, as Lawrence records (op.
cit. : 157). God is using us, as his instruments, to correct, but not by violence, those who are trespassing and breaking the Lord’s command of love (to himself first and then to our neighbour, as we love ourselves). If we do not carry out this commission to those we are supposed to correct, God will use them to correct us. This means that we need to refresh our minds through the Bible, to understand what God wants us to do as his people, the body of
Christ. Africa today flourishes with many new initiatives, which should be seen as fostering hope: African Union (AU), Southern African Development Community (SADC), New Economic
Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Economic Community of West African
States (ECOWAS) as well as others not mentioned here. The Church and community of faith should not be indifferent to these new ideologies and African initiatives, but should at all levels take part in them.
After this rapid survey of Africa one may reach the conclusion that she is indeed a continent in need of reconciliation. Political, economic, sociological, religious and ideological tensions are observable everywhere. Consequently, reconciliation is both an imminent and an immanent mission for Africa. Richard Joseph concludes his chapter introducing the volume State,
Conflict, and Democracy in Africa as follows: “The underlying sentiment common to the authors in this book is that African nations should assume a place in world society as assured actors, rather than as perpetual objects of charitable concern” (1999:13). Such encouraging words express challenges with which all African leaders, political and religious, should engage when taking positions at any level where we are called to serve. It is not good always to be “objects of charitable concern” to use Richard Joseph’s terms. For instance it is lamentable to hear what
Marsha Snulligan Haney comments regarding the church, which should normally be the source
40 of hope: “While some churches planted by American Protestant denominations began to voice their resentment of their dependence upon foreign church leadership and resources, others eagerly sought it” (2006:195).
THE SOUTH AFRICAN EXPERIENCE
The Republic of South Africa, located in the southern part of Africa, bounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, is one of the largest African countries. It shares borders with Namibia in the north-west, in the north with Botswana and Zimbabwe, in the east with Mozambique, and it is interesting that South Africa surrounds two independent countries, Lesotho and Swaziland.
South Africa as well as some other African countries is considered as a Christian country according to Meiring, with 74,1 percent of its population being Christians (2005:148); see also
Hendriks & Erasmus (2006: 18). Our concern is to investigate the process of reconciliation in
South Africa and establish means by which this could be applied in Angola. We shall focus our attention on the South African experience after A.D 1994 in terms of the following points: South
Africa A D 1994: the need for reconciliation in a divided country; The TRC process; South
Africa today and The role of the churches and other faith communities in promoting reconciliation. A comparative study of the role of the churches in promoting reconciliation in
South Africa and Angola aids us to perceive both similarities and divergences between South
Africa and Angola, which we will explore below.
3.1. South Africa A. D. 1994: The need for reconciliation in a divided
But before we proceed we should summarize some important aspects of the apartheid policies.
3.1.1. The Apartheid Regime
Apartheid was officially introduced in South Africa in 1948 but many agree on the period from
1960 to 1994 as comprising 34 years of the grossest human rights violations, as volume one of the TRC’s report reveals (1998:1; Shane 2003:1).
Christopher Saunders for instance comments: “From the 1960s South Africa gained international notoriety for its policy of apartheid” (2005:2). He pointed out that though apartheid
42 rule began in 1948, racial segregation in South Africa had an even longer history. The major piece of legislation dividing the land dated from 1913, for example (ibid: 5). See also Battle’s remarks on Tutu (1997:3). Although when F.W. de Klerk became President, Tutu wrote: “What we are likely to see just a change in initials. Where you’ve had P.W., now you’ve got an F.W”
(1997:49), Rachel Tingle remarked that after President De Klerk took office in 1989, the South
African government took enormous steps to dismantle the country’s highly complex and racially discriminatory apartheid legislation whereby almost every facet of peoples’ lives had been governed by the colour of their skin (1992:3)
Violence constituted the particular character of the apartheid regime. Tingle recorded that up to the end of 1991, a total of 11,910 people had been killed in such violence since it took off in
September 1984 (ibid: 3).
And Piet Meiring gives an exhaustive estimation, that from “1960 – 1989, 7000 people, died as a result of political violence” (1999: 146). Bundy quoted Wolpe who talked of an unstable equilibrium in which the white bloc, while holding state power and having at its disposal the armed and security forces, was unable to suppress the mass opposition which, in turn, did not have the immediate capacity to overthrow the regime and the system (2000:10/11).
The ANC abandoned the policy of non-violence and mobilized the population to civil disobedience so as to overturn apartheid. Saunders reveals: “There was much talk of “people’s power.” … Some police and informers were killed by the ‘necklace’ method – tires were put over the person’s neck and set on fire” (op. cit.: 6).
The apartheid security forces, police in particular, killed and tortured people in their squads.
Saunders points out that “Deaths in police custody in 1970s had become almost routine until the Biko killing” (ibid: 5). To overturn the apartheid policy the ANC armed wing increased its attacks dramatically, as Saunders indicates (op. cit.: 5 – 6).
We should also recognize the efforts of the churches and the other faith communities in the country to combat apartheid. Volume four of the TRC’s report reveals such an effort: “As
43 involved and implicated as they were in the past, South Africa’s religious communities also represented important sites of transformation” (1998:59). Piet Meiring writes that:
All future healing processes and reconciliation effort deeply depend on the role that
Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, African traditionalists and the rest are willing to play, Archbishop Tutu emphasized (2005:167; see also Paludan Bay Anne (2000:40).
The apartheid regime surrendered its strategies of racial discrimination and gross violations of human rights, of assassination and unlawful killing, owing to the sanctions which the international community imposed against the South African economy (Bent Ans 1995: 145).
The rulers of the apartheid regime as well as the ANC leaders realized that confrontation would not help the country’s economy to grow and agreed to negotiate. There are no victories at all in confrontation.
One of God’s actions to challenge South African leaders on both sides was to strengthen the voice of Desmond Tutu in the political arena, where he played an important role when the ANC leaders had been jailed and exiled: this man of God stood up as the Old Testament prophets did. Battle wrote: “In such a context, Tutu’s theological impact was all the more vital as he became an interim political voice when so many political leaders were banned” (op. cit.: 4).
Battle’s remark is justified by Tutu’s acts and actions since he viewed himself as a political theologian: “I have no hope of real change from this government unless they are forced. We face a catastrophe in this land, and only the action of the international community by applying pressure can save us” (op. cit.: 39).
He spoke with the state president, presumably F.W. De Klerk, recording: “We talked like civilized human beings. Then we changed gears and the temperature dropped several degrees because he came to his point that it was I who was persuading people to break the law” (ibid:
Such encounters nonetheless resulted in the negotiations which the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission of South Africa Report, Volume one, records as beginning in earnest with the
Groote Schuur Minute in early May 1990 (op. cit.: 50). We should thank God who used his servants and guided events to negotiations between the National Party and the African
National Congress. But it is accurate to say that negotiation itself should be understood as a cold confrontation. The TRC report volume one confirms that negotiations were not easy, for instance regarding political prisoners (op. cit.: 51).
Saunders records that
In December 1991 the first formal multi-party negotiations began at what was called the convention for a Democratic South Africa, held at the World Trade Center near
Johannesburg airport. The process of negotiating a new democratic constitution for the country broke down mid-1992, but in the face of the threat of economic collapse and racial civil war, the parties decided to turn to negotiations, which resumed early in
1993. They were successfully completed in November of that year (op. cit.: 3).
President De Klerk, who realized that apartheid could no longer be maintained, led the democratic reform, paradoxically. Verdoolaege & Kerstens (2004: 84/5) argue that he may have been the most important reformer since he legalized the opposition parties and started to negotiate with them openly. By doing this, he initiated the transformation process.
Every nation which is longing for reconciliation should hope that its leaders will be as flexible as these South African leaders. This same flexibility we noticed in Angolan leaders when we saw, on Angolan television, the government and Unita forces signing the memorandum of Luena.
We wish this flexibility would continue here in South Africa as well as in Angola, for the future of our beautiful countries.
Apartheid should be understood as a destructive force against one’s race. Apartheid as ethnocentrism sought its own protection against the black population, believed to be dangerous to its safety, since Afrikaners had suffered discrimination a long time previously in their history.
Doing this, Afrikaners forgot that the black population and the world would react against such gross violations of human rights. Reconciliation should always accompany the relationships of people from generation to generation: in such a way we shall learn together that God created us and placed us together in the same land, and that we must live in peace as reconciled people no matter what religion we belong to. Something wonderful happened in the history of
South Africa: not the initials altering from P.W. to F.W., as wrote Desmond Tutu, but Nelson
Mandela’s coming to power as the first black president in South Africa (Meiring op.cit.: 11).
That year marked the history of a new departure and the new South Africa. From that time the new leader began a programme of peaceful co-habitation between white, black, Indians and
“coloureds” within the country. From his policy emerged the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission. Something deep should be said on Mandela’s behalf, that he is God’s instrument and servant with a great capacity for forgiveness, who did not consider how to revenge himself on his foes but for the sake of all South Africans sought to forgive. Hence it is appropriate for us to look at the truth and reconciliation commission process at this point.
3.2. Truth and Reconciliation Commission Process
In spite of what has been written on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), we thought it worthwhile to consider how this process could be made available for Angola. Books and articles contained the following observations which we saw as important:
Firstly in The cost of reconciliation in South Africa edited by Klaus Numberger and John Tooke, in particular the article: “Process of reconciliation demands of obedience – twelve theses” written by Dawid Bosch, we read God’s answer to Bosch’s prophetic prayer stipulated in its twelve theses: “We should be prepared to carry the burden of our own guilt and of the other; and carrying the burden of their guilt means forgiving it wholeheartedly” (1988:103). He went as far as saying:
…may God have mercy on me! Like the father of the boy with an evil spirit, I can only say: “Lord, I do believe …help me overcome my unbelief” (cf. Mark 9:24) and I can, however, challenge those who share my opinion to open their heart too. I may then be used by God’s Spirit as a catalyst. (Ibid: 108).
Furthermore, the presence of Piet Meiring in the TRC, as one of the three Afrikaners there, should be cited as God’s answer. Tutu wrote: “Professor Meiring has done a superb job in speaking about the TRC and commending it to the Afrikaner community” (op. cit.: 7). We should also consider the gathering of South African Christians and their confessions in various forms. For instance, we quote this prayer from M. Cassidy in the National Initiative for
Reconciliation (NIR): “We have come together in humility and deep repentance for our sin and guilt in order to listen to God and to discover one another in new ways” (1988:82).
Secondly, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa should be understood as reflecting the political leaders’ willingness to ensure good governance. A clear vision of South Africa’s future was expressed in the Act which originated the TRC, and its delegates were appointed democratically (Volume one of the report, op.cit. : 53).
According to Piet Meiring the multiparty negotiations held after the election amongst other things gave birth to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was agreed upon by the various parties (op. cit.: 11). The TRC was accepted not only by various political parties but also by the parliament of South Africa when it was submitted by the Minister of Justice, Mr.
Dullah Omar, via the National Unity and Reconciliation Act which determined its objectives. The
TRC’s report volume one records his words on 17 May 1995:
I have the privilege and responsibility to introduce today a bill which provides a pathway, a stepping stone, toward the history bridge of which the constitution speaks whereby our society can leave behind the past of a deeply divided society characterised by strife, conflict, untold suffering and injustice, and commence the journey towards a future founded on the recognition of human rights, democracy and peaceful co-existence, and development opportunities for all South Africans irrespective of colour, race, class, belief or sex (op.cit.: 48).
It is important to note in the South African TRC that the presidency and the government directly sustained this vision for a good future. They established a finance committee for the functioning of the commission (TRC report volume one: 55), the budget for which was R 196 million
(Verdoolaege & Kerstens, op.cit.: 77).
Thirdly, the TRC should be understood as an instrument for the complex healing of the country.
Its commissioners and committee members stemmed from all sectors of the country:
Professors, pastors, jurists, political leaders and other civil society leaders committed to involving themselves with wisdom, with openhearted love and moderation in order to hear and comfort the wounded victims and wounded oppressors with forgiveness. And the healing was also intended to be inclusive and complex; we concur with Meiring: “Some of the perpetrators could also be regarded as victims” (op. cit.: 46).
Fourthly, the faith community as well as most of the people of South Africa would no longer support apartheid.
Fifthly, the TRC according to some observers acted as a catalyst, but the victims seem to have again been sacrificed on behalf of the offenders to whom the amnesty was granted (Maluleke quoting Omar Dullah, 1997:114). It seems that this observation was made early, before the
TRC’s final report to Parliament if we are right. Recently Graham Shane observed in his electronic article entitled: “The Truth Commission and Post Apartheid Literature in South
Africa,” that commissioners “accept the perpetrator’s version of events, even when it directly contradicts the evidence given by his victims” (2003:12). Furthermore he argued that
The political need for amnesty and humanitarian need for reform and restoration appear contradictory, perhaps even mutually exclusive, and the commission has therefore given birth to a crisis of public memory and collective agency. That is, … the commission’s work has not only failed to restore the “ human and civil dignity” of the victims of apartheid-era violence, but it actually threatens to reproduce the symbolic erasure of impoverished black and coloured masses (Ibid: 12).
His severe critique uses the term “puppets” (Ibid: 17) to describe victims as well as perpetrators, regarding the stories told in the TRC “as displacement of events” without digestion, quoting Krog: “the truth could be seen as lies” (ibid: 22). In the same vein, according to him Krog shows “the anonymity of the victims and perpetrators” (ibid: 25) and also “the inefficacy of the victims who could not challenge the perpetrators” (ibid: 27), whom he also claims not to have been real political actors. Colin Bundy likewise critiques the TRC procedure and failures:
The short memory of the TRC in this specific instance is symptomatic of a more farreaching incipient amnesia. Analytically, how helpful is it to focus on police torture and ignore bureaucratic terrorism? By bureaucratic terror I mean the use of state power against individuals and groups who are politically rightless, socially discriminated against, and economically subordinate (op. cit.: 18).
However, he adds, quoting Mahlubi Mabizela, that: “Farm labourers saw the TRC’s coming as a sort of Messiah” (op. cit.: 19). Hence, in spite of its failures the TRC has been seen as offering hope for South Africa.
Sixthly, my investigation and contact with people revealed that many middle-class South
Africans did not know anything about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC); they heard and saw reports in the media but they did not know exactly what happened. The TRC seems to be part of academic and political theory, not a reality in the history of transformation.
But many recognize the wonderful transformation which did take place in South Africa.
With all these observations in mind we decided to peruse the five TRC reports and many other articles to establish where and how the TRC should or should not be applied in the case of
3.2.1 The Process of Reconciliation
The TRC was established because of the dark past of South Africa’s history and to offer the opportunity to all South Africans to write a new page of their history. They saw their past as
“another country”; their “future, too, is another country” (TRC report volume one, op. cit.: 4).
The Human Rights Violations (HRV) Committee was set up to investigate and hear the offender and offended, the Amnesty Committee to deal with political crime and finally the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee to assist the victims. The report volume one (ibid: 44) records that the TRC was to investigate such a violent history and grant amnesty to the political violators of human rights, to rehabilitate the offended and traumatized poor people and to lead both offenders and wounded to reconciliation. How this would be? And how long this would take? Could this really be possible? These are the kinds of questions we posed when we took the opportunity to look at this process of the TRC. We decided to investigate each committee of the TRC to determine how it could be helpful for the actual challenging situation which South
Africa seems to face, if not as in the apartheid era but economically: many of the black population are still striving to survive day after day, confronting poverty and unemployment.
3.2.2 The Human Rights Violations (HRV) Committee
This committee held its first meeting on 8 January 1996, as the TRC report volume one indicates (ibid: 45). Its membership is reported on p. 44 (op. cit) but Meiring records an extended list:
Also the people of the Committee on Human Rights Violations: Desmond Tutu and
Alex Boraine, Yasmin Sooka, Waynand Malan, Mary Burton, Bongani Finca, Richard
Lyster, Fazel Randeza, Dumisa Ntsebeza, Denzil Potgieter, Pumla Gobode-
Madikizela, Joyce Seroke, Hugh Lewin, Russel Ally and Ilan Lax. (Op. cit.: 15).
The TRC report (volume five) gives further information about the agreement to enlarge the
Human Rights Violations committee:
Consideration was given to regional needs as well as the wish to ensure the broadest possible representation in terms of skills, culture, language, faith and gender. The following members were appointed to the Human Rights Violations Committee: Russell
Ally, June Crichton, Mdu Dlamini, Virginia Gcabashe, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Ilan
Lax, Hugh Lewin, Yolisa (Tiny) Maya, Ntsikelelo Sandi, Joyce Seroke, and, in the final months, Mothofela Mosuli (op cit: 1).
All are complementary lists with somewhat different names. It is agreed by most scholars that the HRV Committee is considered the most successful of all the TRC committees, which had the enormous task of hearing all the victims’ and offenders’ stories and making recommendations to the reparation and rehabilitation committee for the payment due to victims for the damage they suffered and to the amnesty committee for amnesty being granted to some oppressors. The TRC’s report volume one describes its mandate in the following manner:
One of the main tasks of the commission was to uncover as much as possible the truth about the past gross violations of human rights – a difficult and often very unpleasant task. The commission was founded, however, in the belief that this task was necessary for the promotion of reconciliation and national unity. In other words telling of the truth about past gross human rights violations, as viewed from different perspectives,
50 facilitates the process of understanding our divided pasts, whilst the public acknowledgement of ‘untold suffering and injustice’ (preamble to the act) helps to restore the dignity of victims and afford perpetrators the opportunity to come to terms with their own past (op. cit.: 49).
Some important and general observations are necessary here before we proceed to see how delicate and great was their task. There were numerous participators in the public hearings.
Verdoolaege & Kerstens record that: “Altogether, more than 21,000 people came forward to make statements about their experiences, more than any other truth commission had achieved”
(op. cit.: 78). The committee faced many difficulties. Firstly the TRC had to determine the type of commission and how it would evaluate the past. Some commissioners thought the commission should be held along the lines of the Nuremberg commission (TRC report volume one, op. cit.: 5), while others preferred amnesia (ibid: 9): to forget the past absolutely. It was thought that the question of impunity for wrongs might compromise the future. The commission’s answer was:
Certainly, amnesty cannot be viewed as justice if we think of justice only as retributive and punitive in nature. We believe, however, that there is another kind of justice – a restorative justice which is concerned not so much with punishment as with correcting imbalances, restoring broken relationships – with healing, harmony and reconciliation.
Such justice focuses on the experience of victims; hence the importance of reparation
And Piet Meiring in his book A Chronicle of the Truth Commission shows how enormously hard the process was. But he also demonstrates how an amazing grace accompanied the process for successful repentance and forgiveness, which led into the preliminary national ceremony of reconciliation, where he had the opportunity to give his sermon on psalm 85. In the beginning the non-participation of whites in the TRC could have hindered the process of reconciliation. Meiring described how a minister from a black parish brought his entire congregation to listen to the victims’ experiences, but saw that whites were not present.
Expressed in his words: “But I see nearly no white people to talk to today. There is nobody with whom we can be reconciled. Where are they?” (Op. cit.: 28). Meiring added:
In Pietersburg Tom’s suspicion was confirmed: a hall full of black people, a small group of Indians and coloureds. But the white people, Afrikaners and the English, would not fill two rows of chairs. My feeling, which I shared with Tom, was: it was difficult for them to come, difficult to have to face the mirror of the past (op. cit.: 52).
The acts of reparation and rehabilitation faced difficulties because some funds for meeting the immediate necessities of the victims had been provided by the Swiss Government, but it seems that the Swiss parliament would not continue to provide aid because some of its observers themselves became victims of theft in Soweto. Piet Meiring wrote: “They had lost everything: their purses, their expensive cameras, everything they had with them. The only comfort was that they themselves had not been injured, that their lives were spared” (ibid: 92).
To conclude this general observation on the TRC process, Colin Bundy’s words are approopriate:
The Commissioners and staff lived through an emotionally demanding, litigious, and politically and intellectually contested thirty months. They traversed a political landscape of rock falls and quicksand, pitted with landmines – and it was scant consolation that this terrain was largely shaped by the TRC’s own legal mandate (op.
The Human Rights Violations (HRV) Committee, which began its task in 16 – 19 April 1996
(Meiring op. cit.: 22), had a crucial role as Christopher Saunders records (op. cit.: 5). The expectations of people were great: each wished to hear what had happened to his missing family members or to his neighbour’s fellows. Who did what and who had killed whom, and what should be the reaction to such crime or what reparations should be given to the more traumatized victims? On the other hand the committee had been expected to satisfy the population by telling their stories for the purpose of the healing of their traumatic past experience. To establish the truth of a storyteller’s narrative was often difficult. In spite of the many cases during the hearings the case of Steve Biko drew most attention, being mentioned by Piet Meiring, Christopher Saunders and many other scholars. The Human Rights Violations
Committee was able to uncover much of what had happened to Steve Biko and others, and to
52 exhume the remains of the approximately fifty activists who were abducted, killed and buried secretly (TRC Report, vol. 1, op. cit: 7).
The forgiveness offered to the perpetrators should be understood as the most important part of the healing process for both the offenders and the offended. Piet Meiring shows how a Xhosa woman told the story of her son and was healed. He records:
Madam, please tell me, I asked, you have come such a long way over so many years, with your story. Yesterday you had to travel such a long distance to come here. All of us saw how difficult it was for you to tell the story of your son in front of all the people.
Please tell me: was it not worth it? The tear marks were still on her cheeks. But when she raised her head and smiled, it was like the dawn breaking: “oh yes, sir, absolutely!
It was difficult to talk about all these things. But tonight, for the first time in sixteen years, I think I will be able to sleep through the night. Maybe tonight I will sleep soundly without nightmares.” (Op. cit.: 25).
The success of the Human Rights Violations Committee lay here: this incident shows how wise and disciplined the South African commission was. How many fellow citizens of mine still have nightmares about their beloved family members who died or disappeared during the 30 years of Angolan civil war? It would be healthy for them to display those painful events to each other, which would be a healing for themselves as well as for all the country. This Committee helped not only to reveal what was long ago hidden as state or individual secrets but also, and more important, aided the healing of traumatized people. Again Piet Meiring has shown how the
HRV Committee helped by healing people, in narrating the story of Beth Savage who lost a family member but offered forgiveness to her offender. Meiring wrote:
When one of the TRC members asked Beth Savage how she now felt about the perpetrator, she answered quietly, “It is a difficult question. But truthfully, my honest feeling is: ‘there, but for the grace of God, go I’. I do not know how I would have reacted if I were one of them (the freedom fighters). It is all I can say. I think is marvellous to have a Truth Commission… When questioned further, about what the
TRC could do for her, Beth’s reaction was, “I have often said this: what I really want, is to meet the man who threw the hand-grenade. I would want to do it in a spirit of forgiveness, in the hope that he, for whatever reason, will also forgive
53 me…Archbishop Tutu was greatly moved: “thank you very much! All I can say is, what a wonderful country this is! We really have extraordinary people. (Ibid: 27).
The TRC’s report is synoptic, so that similarities and divergences are characteristic of its sections. Maybe Meiring, influenced by Christianity, was more interested in selecting a report which tells us how forgiveness had been offered to offenders and less interested in those who had refused to forgive their offenders. Krog reflects the other side of the refusal to forgive offenders in citing the case of Mrs Kondile, who said: “It is easy for Mandela and Tutu to forgive…they lead vindicated lives. In my life nothing, not a single thing, has changed since my son was burnt by barbarians…nothing. Therefore I cannot forgive” (1998: 109).
What draws our attention is not forgiveness or the refusal of forgiveness but the opportunity given to a traumatized people to express their experience and to behealed by such a process.
This is the desire and dream we have for Angola.
The Committee of Human Rights Violation did worthy work, helped South Africans to hear what had happened within the country to their fellow human beings, healed the wounds of racial discrimination and opened new opportunities and new orientations for interaction among South
African Blacks, Whites, “Coloureds” and Indians. But some are still held by the bitterness of their past experience because they had not the opportunity to tell their stories and express their feelings. Even some to whom such opportunities were given to share their stories are still waiting to be rewarded for the pain they experienced from apartheid. Thus we have to see how the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee proceeded.
3.2.3 The Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee (RRC)
This Committee made use of the findings of the Human Rights Violations Committee in carrying out its role to assist with the material and moral needs of the victims of apartheid.
Volume five of the TRC’s report defines its role in terms of the Act: “any form of compensation, ex gratia payment, restitution, rehabilitation, or recognition” (op. cit.: 175). Meiring names the commisisoners and committee members who served on the RRC:
The members of the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee, the committee on which I myself would serve for more than two years are: Hlengiwe Mkhize, Wendy Orr,
Khoza Mgojo, Mapule Ramashala, Glenda Wildschut, Piet Meiring, Tom Manthata,
Mcibisi Xundu and Smangele Mgwaza (op. cit.: 15).
We said above that this committee faced a massive task in assisting the many victims because of financial constraints. Volume five suggests a number of 22 000 victims and an annual budget of R477, 400, 000 or R2, 864, 400 000 over six years (op. cit.: 185). The Historic World Events website, in the article: “South Africa Reaches Agreement on Apartheid Victim Reparations,
April 15, 2003”, revealed:
On April 15, 2003, the South African government of Thabo Mbeki agreed that victims of the former apartheid regime and families should receive a single reparation payment of
30,000 rand (approximately $4000). Under the terms of agreement announced by president Mbeki, approximately 19,000 victims identified by the national Truth and
Reconciliation Commission would receive immediate payments because of severe financial problems (2003: 1).
The number of victims being estimated as 19, 000 does not contradict the TRC report, as the last volume, 7, explains: “The commission received statements from 21 290 (twenty one thousand two hundred and ninety) people, of whom more than 19 050 (nineteen thousand and fifty) were found to be victims of gross violations of human rights” (2002: 1)
Geoff Rodoreda quoted the figure of 22 000 victims (2003:44) as did MacLean, who said they would be paid the equivalent of $5,400 each (2003:1). The financial divergence could be understood in terms of the altered rate of exchange. Volume five, in the table recording the
Number of People in Need, estimated that victims should be paid urgent interim reparation in the following manner: “ [for] one applicant only R 2 000; one plus one [couple without children]
R 2 900; one plus two R 3 750; one plus three R 4 530; one plus four R 5 205 and, one plus five or more R 5 705” (op. cit.: 181). How many victims received this urgent interim reparation the report does not indicate. Many victims are still suffering under the heavy burden of poverty and others died without receiving what they had been promised. Maluleke argues that the legacy of the TRC was strong in granting amnesty to the perpetrators but weak in showing mercy to the victim:
It appears therefore that it is firmly within the competencies of the commission to grant or not to grant amnesty to perpetrators but its hand is not so strong in the case of reparations for the victims. This means that while the TRC is able to “finalise” what it can offer to amnesty applicants, it is unable to do the same for victims (1997:114).
It is important to see how people reflect about what happened to the victims of gross human rights violations. Most of them are the poorest of the blacks. Taylor quoted by Graham Shane said: “The perpetrators have agency, while the victims have been robbed of agency” (op. cit.:
21). The Historic World Events website we quoted above further shows how the victims have been crushed:
President Mbeki based his decision on reparations on the Commission’s conclusions, but he limited the extent to which he followed the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission’s recommendations. He said, declared Basildon Peta Southern in the
Independent, ‘his government would not follow a recommendation by the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to levy an apartheid compensation tax on businesses to help pay reparations.” Mr Mbeki told parliament, which sat to debate the final report of the truth commission, that his government would not support multibillionpound lawsuits filed abroad against several companies. Instead he said the government would pay reparations from a special ‘presidential fund’ wrote Ginger
Thompson in the New York Times (opcit: 2).
Furthermore this website reveals the amount that President Mbeki made available for the payment of the victims, $74 million instead of the $ 390 million budged by the TRC (ibid: 2).
This issue of the reparation and rehabilitation of victims has been the most difficult of all, yet it was the basic issue which caused the TRC to investigate the past. Maybe the short period given to the TRC led to its failure in this respect. The Reparation and Rehabilitation
Commission did what it was supposed to do but it was the government’s responsibility to recompense the victims. Piet Meiring records that some were: “impatient with the TRC. The
Commission had been working for the best part of the year and their circumstances had not changed one bit. They heard about reparation and rehabilitation, but nothing had reached them as yet” (op. cit.: 91).
Piet Meiring adds that: “Here and there new wheelchairs had been found, patients could be sent for specialist treatment. Help was provided with exhumations and reinterment. But this was merely a drop in the ocean” (ibid: 91).
In this regard Charles Villa-Vicencio observes, “The president recognises that reconciliation depends not only on an extended reconstruction and development process, but also on the public processes of facilitating co-operation and trust between people for whom these benefits are intended” (2000: 28).
In the same vein Heribert Adam & Kanya Adam recorded that “The South African government,
Tutu admonishes, betrays the victims by ignoring the recommendation of the TRC to pay twenty thousand recognised victims a modest amount of R 20,000 for six years” (2000: 41).
The limited resources of the TRC are described thus: “It could merely make recommendations to Government, which was free to accept or to “fudge” even the modest TRC suggestions. ANC leaders now argue that liberation should not be reduced to material benefits” (ibid: 41).
In this regard the TRC had no power to impose their will. Alex Boraine stressed his disappointment at the victims not knowing what the government would or would not pay them:
“I am particularly disturbed by the lack of the response to our recommendations regarding the victims. We still have no idea whether Government accepts the recommendations partially or as a whole, or what it will do about the matter” (2000:77).
Have the victims of apartheid not yet been paid for the abuses they suffered? It seems that the
Government was busy doing so, since the Amnesty International Report 2004 revealed that in
November the government began one-off payments to individual victims (2004: 79). But the appearance of newspapers reporting Desmond Tutu requesting such payments leaves no doubt that these people were not all being paid. In South Africa Charles Villa-Vicencio wrote about the material issue as a fertile ground of violence (op.cit.: 30). When we look at the reality of the daily South African experience in the townships, even in the great cities, there is no doubt that frustrated people are acting to survive. Meanwhile those who possess agency are happy in sharing all the privileges, not only political but also economic, and have forgotten those who invested in them. Mrs Kondile’s cry, “In my life nothing, not a single thing” (Krog
1998: 109) should not only shock but should also interpellate the hearer and really calls for a positive response, not only psychological but also material.
After ten years the TRC made the news again. On 21 April 2006 in the Pretoria News an item on Archbishop Desmond Tutu appeared with the title: “It is time to pay for apartheid. Tutu calls
on white business to contribute funding for TRC reparations”. What shocked readers is the passivity of South African businesspeople though victims are still suffering, as Karen
Breytenbach wrote in this article (April 21 2006: 1). She records how Desmond Tutu lamented the lack of compassion: “Amnesty was granted with immediate effect. We should have had a budget (for victims) and estimated what they should get, with immediate effect” (ibid). The
Sunday Times (April 23 2006: 1) took up the story in Charles Villa-Vicencio’s article arguing
“Our past is still with us, and South Africa would do well to clear its books on the atrocities of the past, for the pressure to do so will only continue to build,” which described the experience of victims:
Victims and survivors simply need to know the truth as a means of bringing closure to their suffering. ‘Why do those who killed my sister prolong my suffering by refusing to tell me where to find her body?’ asked Thembi Simelane-Nkadimeng, the sister of
Nokuthula Simelane, who disappeared after being abducted by the Soweto Security
Police in September 1983 (op. cit: 19).
But Tutu’s call led to many reactions. David Bullard reacted by writing his article, “Spare us the talk of ingratitude, Desmond” in the Sunday Times (Business Times Careers), contending that being a white in South Africa is a burden: “If you happen to have a white skin then you bear two burdens if you live in South Africa” (2006: 1). The post-apartheid era is a danger period among all South Africans, and his wisdom is very important. But the question of victims not being healed could become, as we have argued, an incurable wound with consequences in the future. We wish to close this section with Charles Villa-Vicencio, who quoted Leon Jaworki who asked himself: “How it is that decent people murdered others so systematically?” (op. cit.: 30)
He [Villa-Vicencio] said of Josef Garlinski that he reflected on the brutality he was required to endure from his Nazi captors in … his book Fighting Auschwitz. Having told his story with devastating human impact, he goes on to remind us that the young SS officers responsible for such deeds could have been your sons or mine (ibid: 30).
It is really important to make the point that reparation is necessary in any society where human rights violations have been violated. We could pass it by, through ignoring it and embracing each other falsely by a kind of peace, which avoids a deep confession of sin; then our descendants will bear the consequences in the future. But reparation must not be a kind of revenge. Piet Meiring for instance observed regarding this issue: “The rich seem to be getting richer and the gap between rich and poor ever deeper” (2002: 174).
3.2.4 The Amnesty Committee
This was the TRC’s third Committee. The TRC Report, Volume Five, described its principal function: “to decide applications for amnesty either in chamber or at a public hearing, sitting in panels of at least three members, which is the statutory quorum” (op.cit.: 108). And for this great responsibility the following initial members were appointed: The three judges Hassen
Mall, Andrew Wilson and Bernard Ngoepe, together with Adv. Chris de Jager, Ms Sisi
Khampepe and Adv Denzil Potgieter” (TRC report, vol one, op.cit.: 44). Because of the hard work involved the committee was augmented by new members, as we read in volume five:
The section provided that two members of the committee should be commissioners appointed in consultation with the commission. The two commissioners nominated and appointed to the committee are both qualified lawyers and legal practitioners. The others were appointed by the president and no formal process for such appointments was provided for in the section. In exercising the prerogative, the president appointed three judges together with two commissioners nominated by the commission, to the committee. It is clear from reading the Act that the Committee is required to perform a largely judicial function (op. cit.: 109).
The work of the Amnesty Committee drew heavy criticism during its lifespan. The committee, indeed, faced many difficulties. The act of telling the stories of what had long been kept as secret, and the desire for forgiveness, should not be seen as cheap reconciliation, as some think. The restorative approach that the TRC followed is worthwhile in the process of transforming and managing conflicts. Forgiveness was not offered to offenders without their willingness to confess before all South Africa and the world. The case of F.W. De Klerk shows that forgiveness and amnesty were not guaranteed to all offenders. After the hearing of the
59 former President, who denied that apartheid was government policy, Piet Meiring quoted the reaction of the chairman in the press conference:
The next day when asked in a press conference about De Klerk’s testimony, Tutu was almost in tears. He said he could not understand how De Klerk could still insist that he had been unaware of apartheid atrocities, when delegations from Lawyers for Human
Rights and the Black Sash, among many others, had told him of security force involvement in gross human rights abuses…It is a policy that killed people. Not by accident, deliberately. It was planned (op.cit: 140).
Antjle Krog responded that De Klerk “has just disappointed millions of people” (op. cit.: 127). If some people were to read carefully what Krog wrote about the granting of amnesty they would understand that it was never cheap; amnesty was not available indefinitely. For instance she pointed out that President Thabo Mbeki had requested that “the truth Commission complete its task of granting amnesty speedily and not leave the new Government burdened with the mess of the past ” (op. cit.: 118). She recorded how the deadline for amnesty applications expired at midnight on Saturday 10 May 1997 but that amnesty applications were still streaming in on
Saturday morning; when the offices closed at midnight the total number of applications received since the commission started its work stood at “about 7700. My God when we took this job on we were told to expect about 200 applications, a member of the amnesty committee tells me with a shudder, and now 7000!” (Ibid: 121).
Volume five of the report explains the pressure regarding amnesty applications and adds that it was necessary for the healing of the country. It also points out that the committee had been in discussion with various leaders of the main political groupings and that “considerable assistance was given to the committee in this regard” (op. cit.: 113). In the recent TRC report, volume six, statistics show that amnesty was not given to every applicant: the case of the Pan
African Congress reveals this (2003: 377):
Violations in PAC Camp
Attacks on Security Forces
Attacks on Civilians
Attacks on Farmers
Arms Possession 100% 0%
The difficulty the commission faced is further emphasised in the comment in the seventh volume regarding unknown victims: “Many unnamed and unknown South Africans were the victims of gross violations of human rights during the commission’s mandate period. Their stories came to the commission in the stories of victims and in accounts of perpetrators of violations” (2002: 10)
Wisdom was really needed to avoid the catastrophe of bloodshed in South Africa after the positive results of the negotiations. Alex Boraine quotes president Thabo Mbeki:
Because we are one another’s keepers, we surely must be haunted by the humiliating suffering which continues to afflict millions of our people. Our nights cannot but be the nights of the nightmare when millions of our people live in conditions of degrading poverty. Sleep cannot easily come when children get permanently disabled physically and mentally because of lack of food. No night can be restful when millions have no jobs and some are forced to beg, rob and murder to ensure that their own do not perish from hunger (Op. cit.: 75/6).
Shane and Krog’s reports are very sharp but hers are restricted by the fact that she was not a commissioner herself. As a journalist her hunger for information limited her reports; she was told by the leaders of the ANC: “Lady, who would know better what the ANC is saying – you or me? …Actually, you’re not supposed to be here yet. Please don’t report about amnesty rulings, we still have to add some names to the list” (op. cit.: 115, 118).
And Krog could not record all the truth about the TRC because there were some confidential matters which had never been revealed. Furthermore, I argue we should read the TRC reports as “synoptic” in the sense that they do not furnish all the facts. For instance, in Frederik Van Zyl
Slabbert’s version of events De Klerk said:
Before you can forgive me, I must confess so that you and the world will know what I am asking forgiveness for…I want to confess today on behalf of my people and myself, before you and the world, that we were fundamentally and completely wrong. That we almost wreaked irreversible damage on our country and its people. For that I ask your forgiveness and that of your people. I also beg forgiveness for your personal suffering
Without willingness really to read deeply, one’s impression will be contradictory to what Piet
Meiring wrote about De Klerk during his hearing. But Van Zyl Slabbert shows how De Klerk declined any responsibility for what had happened in the old South Africa: “It was this work, exposed by the TRC, that filled good, loyal supporters of the NP with shame, and persuaded many of them to confess their unknowing accountability. But not De Klerk and his buddies”
It is therefore right to recognize that the TRC gave birth to new problems, as Graham Shane contended (op. cit.: 12). It is as if the TRC had opened the eyes of people wandering in the darkness. In such a way the TRC should be perceived as a positive effort, which one might compare to a newborn baby with disabilities: the mother is not wrong to give birth to such a baby. James William MacMaster, responding to the questionnaire we sent, commented: “the
TRC opened hidden old facts and new fresh wounds” (March 2006). This means that the TRC had both an individual and a sociological impact. Therefore amnesty was not cheap, because the perpetrators as well as victims revealed their secrets and stood before all the people as well as the offended, and also God and his angels.
In describing his conscience in combating racism and reconciling all South Africans Desmond
Tutu used an effective metaphor:
In South Africa they said the thing which gave you value was the colour of your skin; you were white and therefore you had value. Suppose we did not use skin colour to
62 mark what gave people their imagined racial superiority. Since I have a large nose, suppose we said privilege was to be reserved for people with large noses only and those many millions with small noses were to be excluded. (Opcit: 17).
In the investigation we conducted with church leaders and individuals, most of them said the
TRC had helped the country a great deal. Reverend Mukondi Ramulondi felt: “It was through the TRC work that people offered forgiveness” (March 2006). Today’s South Africa deals with new realities, many of which are outcomes of the TRC’s work and the Government programme.
After the TRC’s catalytic work the road to national reconciliation is open not only in the macrostructures but is also beginning to be cleared in the microstructures. But the process will take time.
3.3. South Africa Today
What about South Africa after the TRC today? Let us say that the TRC opened tombs which raised dead people to life; immediately they realized that they need to be integrated into their new condition of life but this has not yet happened; therefore there is tension. The vision of the
TRC is only partially fulfilled, because the rehabilitation of the wounded people is not yet complete. And some think that certain perpetrators have not yet been prosecuted: as said
Graybill, quoted by Verdoolaege & Kerstens: “in reality the government did not take much initiative with regard to further prosecutions”, adding that many South Africans claimed that the
TRC had not really worked toward a more positive attitude between black and white. Racial tensions and material inequalities did not seem to have been addressed (op.cit. : 79).
According to Paludan Bay Anne:
The TRC concept focuses on individuals and their crimes, respectively their victims.
Restoration is given to individuals. But this does not address the systemic crime whose victims suffer from social and economic injustices. For example, the focus in the TRC hearing is on the urban areas and urban people whereas the systemic problems of rural areas are far away from the centre of radiation of the TRC and national reconciliation process (Op. cit.: 44).
In this regard we need to see how the Government views South Africa today. According to Alex
Boraine when Deputy President Thabo Mbeki delivered his now famous speech in parliament entitled “Two Nations” in May 1998, when parliament was discussing reconciliation and unity, he argued that reconciliation had not really started and that it needed to go considerably further. In his view, we had not actually achieved a reconciled society: “A major component part of the issue of reconciliation and nation-building is defined by and derived from the material conditions in our society which have divided our country into two nations, the one black and the other white. We therefore make bold to say that South Africa is a country of two nations” (op. cit: 75).
The economic and racial discrimination described above are issues much discussed by many
South African writers. For instance Van Niekerk in his article “Reconciliation as the functional of
complex systems” evokes the economic issue of non-payment among blacks for electricity and water, consequently experiencing cuts in these services (2005: 255). If we are right the results of the apartheid system even now still remain. Another instance is to be found in the bank system where a “savings account” attracts no interest and keeps the poor impoverished. It is clear that political power is shared between all South Africans (white and black) but that economic power is still hidden somewhere for certain members of the elite and businessmen and is not open to all South Africans. Argues Piet Meiring:
So many unsolved issues continue to sour relations between political groupings. We still struggle with the ghosts of the past, with the bitter fruits of apartheid, with old injustices not taken care of, with promises made and not kept. Add to that the new frustrations, the concern of millions of black South Africans that nothing really has changed, that justice and fairness still elude them; as well as the concern of many whites (op.cit: 174).
But we must remember that not all blacks suffer from poverty: some of them are privileged and have been incorporated into the old economic system of power with “immediate gain” as observed Piet Meiring (op. cit.), to which we referred above. Only the weak blacks, but the majority, still struggle on the periphery of the economic system. The question of high rates of unemployment and homelessness should be seen as a fact of the system of economic discrimination and cultural issues. The exterior of society reveals many hidden things and suggests what might be the case in its interior. The many security guards immediately indicate
64 that the official security system is incapable of carrying out its responsibilities in the cities. The church is not outside of these tensions. Graham Duncan of the black United Presbyterian
Church, committed to fight racism in the same denomination, wrote the following about racial and financial issues:
It was observed, for example that on the part of the UPCSA there was a fear that the proposed union may lead to their domination by the predominantly white PCSA. On the other hand, the white members of PCSA were coming into the union with the feeling that, as a result of the introduction of the new political set-up, they have lost everything
This division between white and black can be easily observed among the various denominations even though where we apparently see some interaction in workshops, seminaries and other joint activities real fellowship has not yet been experienced. Frederik Van
Zyl Slabbert in his conclusion asked rhetorically whether the entire TRC process had failed. He answered: “Yes, if one wanted to bring truth and reconciliation together and no, if it made us all aware of where we come from and the direction in which we must move”. Again “asked what is its usefulness to today’s politics?” he replied: “I think all the parties want to get away from the
TRC as quickly as possible. My information, which comes from the former President’s office, is that from the outset the new government was never very keen on the TRC” (op. cit.: 71/2).
If he is accurate the South African government holds a different perception of what happened in the TRC hearings. According to Krog, for Mbeki reconciliation is a step that can follow only after total transformation has taken place (op. cit.: 110).
Furthermore Krog perceives a divergence between Mbeki and Tutu in terms of the issue of national reconciliation. Tutu is proud of blacks for offering and accepting forgiveness but is not concerned about the lack of employment, while Mbeki wants blacks to work together to transform the country and the continent and talks about an African renaissance; the peaceful coexistence that Mbeki wanted to promote (op. cit.: 111).
All the above factors could afford insight into the civil disobedience everywhere in the cities and townships. The past which South Africans wish to avoid is looming rapidly; thus the TRC process should be placed back on the table and a technical commission be established to
65 study means to resolve the irregularities which the commissioners, in the short time they were allowed, revealed and left behind. The workshop on reconciliation to which Paludan Bay Anne refers and to which sixteen schools were invited with pride, shows that reconciliation in the secular community already exists. The term “ubuntu” used for reconciliation shows that reconciliation was anchored in the South African spiritual tradition of healing the community as much as in a modern legal or Christian tradition (op. cit.: 53). Sporadic actions here and there exist but are not strong enough to influence the national level. It is easy to criticise the TRC.
Hence Frederik Zyl Van Slabbert refers to “the prophet not being honoured in his own country”
(op. cit.: 68). What influence did the TRC have on the world? Why were its commissioners, especially the chairman, regarded as worthy of the NobelPrize? Imperfection here and there should not astonish us; it is a feature of human endeavour. The TRC, in the context of Angola, would be a good example to follow, in which we should insist that the Angolan government becomes involved in this project to heal the country from the wounds of the civil conflict and bloody war which lasted more than a quarter of a century.
Although South Africa is a multiparty parliamentary democracy in which constitutional power is shared between the president and parliament (Lawrence 2004: 161) this democracy is very weak: for instance, Lawrence testifies against violent xenophobia, which is a problem within the country (ibid: 162). The Amnesty International report 2006 reveals:
On 10 May, the Johannesburg High Court ordered the DHA to facilitate access to asylum determinations procedures for 14 Ethiopians wrongly arrested and detained at
Lindela. In October lawyers secured the release from Lindela of a recognized refugee who was due to be deported to Rwanda (2006:236).
With exceptions, the reality is that foreign students in South Africa suffer and refugees are subject to many acts of discrimination. Abuse of women in South Africa is serious and widespread, as the Amnesty International report for 2004 shows (2004:79).
In the most recent Amnesty International report this violence is shown to have escalated to 55
114 rapes, an increase of 4.5 percent over the previous year (2006:237), and even security officials have been involved in the rape of women detainees: “At the end of the year a Free
State police officer was still on trial for the repeated rape of a woman detainee in custody at
Smithfield police station; the woman became pregnant as a result” (ibid: 237). There are many
66 other human rights abuses as well. The case of Jacob Zuma has taught one much about the legacy and the dynamics of South African democracy in the media. When the media does not care how dangerous it is to publish information on such bad behaviour, we are victimizing and abusing and wounding the people who have already been wounded instead of healing them.
David Masondo expressed a sound opinion on the Jacob Zuma issue in the Sunday Times:
The right to dignity and respect for all citizens is a key feature of our Constitution. The ends do not justify the violation of this right…support for Zuma is predominantly about the manner in which the state and media have been treating him, which also put those presiding over his cases in a difficult ethical position…the support by people opposing women abuse for the complainants must be welcomed. As we fight rape, the state and the public should treat both complainant and alleged perpetrator with respect. The insults directed at both must be condemned (March 12, 2006: 18).
In terms of this situation the church must play its role in such a society. The state as well as all other institutions, like the media, needs help to understand the “ubuntu” which the church teaches to its members every Sunday in the pulpit. South Africa needs a true national reconciliation. This duty should be part of the churches’ ministry of reconciliation, which we hope is a perennial one. The churches should be prepared to face this situation of conflict and to bring hope to all people. In his analysis of the amnesty and reparation committees of the
TRC Villa-Vicencio argues that South Africa should hold trials and adduced two cases, from
Chile and Nigeria:
The deposed Chilean President, General Augusto Pinochet, who was given immunity from persecution as a former head of state under the Chilean constitution, was arrested while travelling abroad under an international arrest warrant issued by
Spanish Judge Baltazar Garzon in October 1998, and extradited to Chile in March
2000…Charles Taylor was last year given asylum in Nigeria from war-torn Liberia over which he ruled. Today he is on trial before a United Nations backed Sierra Leone
Special Court on allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. We would do well to clear our books, or the pressure of the past will continue to build (April 23 2006:
Only the gospel can describe the gravity of sin and convict people to confess it, and to love even those who have acted badly against one. Here it is appropriate to quote Desmond Tutu’s well-known words: “I need you to make me to be me and you need me to make you to be you”.
Blacks should not continue to see whites as unfair and totally wrong in everything and vice versa but both sides should mutually accept each other. In the same vein respect for all should be very important, as the right of each individual. Regarding the issue of Jacob Zuma to which we referred above, the verdict of the high court published on 8 May 2006 divided South Africa and put the ANC in a hard and perplexing situation. Xolani Xundu et al. in the Sunday Times, reported:
Most NEC members the Sunday Times spoke to this week said Mbeki found himself in the invidious position of no longer commanding enough authority to force a rejection of
Zuma’s application to be reinstated, or to pressure to continue the voluntary suspension he announced when he was charged with rape (14 May 2006:1).
South Africa today deals with the apartheid consequences of hatred and power struggles. The case of Zuma is a very hard issue to handle, as Jacobson & Mafela indicate in their joint article:
“Zuma divides the nation” in the Sunday Times (14 May 2006:1).
Here my suggestion to the democratic Republic of South Africa is that the next presidential election should not be a conflict issue. Support for Zuma, as reported for example by Andrew
Donaldson in the Sunday Times (14 May 2006: 17), should not be a divisive factor.
All these factors above suggest that churches and other communities of faith in South Africa have an important role to play in the process of national reconciliation.
3.4. The role of the churches and other faith communities in promoting reconciliation
In spite of its sinfulness God chose to indwell the church as his community, to lead humanity to eternal life in Christ Jesus, and it is asked to become holy as God is holy. In this process each believer faces the challenge of observing and obeying, daily, the teaching of our Lord Jesus.
The Lord’s teaching points to social engagement as one of the challenges that we must face with commitment, as God’s instruments: it is a part of the Missio Dei, which in turn leads to the
missio ecclesiae. This mission has within it four dimensions: Kerugma, diakonia, koinonia and
leiturgia. All these dimensions are helpful for understanding humanity as a mission field in the multidimensional as well as in the mono-cultural and trans-cultural contexts. Even John the
Baptist was socially committed to his society when he proclaimed the pro-gospel about Christ and baptized people.. This section will focus on three aspects: the churches’ mission or role, the complexity of the society where the church is called to serve and the ecumenical engagement of the churches. The South African context of mission is complex and a pluralism of religions makes mission hard without God’s guidance.
3.4.1. The role of the churches
The church in South Africa has been given an immense mission and should let herself be guided by God. Unfortunately often the local churches did not do this. The Church both suffered under and supported apartheid policy. Volume four of the TRC report explains the religious involvement in apartheid: “The term ‘state theology’ is derived from the Kairos
Document and refers to the theology that gave legitimacy to the apartheid state” (op. cit.: 69).
Section 47 shows how the churches were used to support apartheid policy. As Piet Meiring puts it:
What did become abundantly clear during the three days of the submissions, was that churches and other religious groups had assumed various roles in the past. Each of the roles had something to do with apartheid. Sometimes the religious communities were the agents of apartheid, at other times its victims (op. cit.: 281/2).
The following sections explore the four dimensions of the mission of the South African church.
184.108.40.206 Kerugma Mission
Firstly the Church of Jesus Christ is called to proclaim the good news of God’s love to the world
(kerugma). A local church which is really engaged in mission should be able to teach its membership what the Lord proclaimed. Bosch reflected thus on being Jesus’ disciple:
“Following Jesus or being with him, and sharing in his mission thus belong together (Schneider
1982:84). The call to discipleship is not for its own sake; it enlists the disciples in the service of
God’s reign” (1991: 38).
The teachings should transform the disciple and enable him or her to carry out God’s mission in this world. They enable the disciple to be aware of and preoccupied about others. The church as a voice of the voiceless must speak out on behalf of the people, as Tutu said (op. cit.: 67).
Proclamations which do not lead Christians to social engagement mislead them. The kerugma mission (the proclamation of God’s love) begins in the local sphere but does not end there: it goes beyond the local boundary. Paul Siaki also maintains this position: “This new wave of missionary sending has increased the number of people serving outside of South Africa’s borders” (2002: 41). For South Africa to become a reconciled society the Gospel preached should bind Christians together, both white and black in one local church. Yet, as Ramulondi
Mukondi said, “The wounds and sufferings caused by the apartheid are still there” (op. cit.).
Local churches and their denominations clearly demonstrate a divided society. Hence it is important that any new programme of planting local churches should begin with a new vision of a different South Africa where white and black share responsibility without hatred and cultural barriers.
220.127.116.11. Diakonia Mission
The semantics of the term Greek διακονία, that means service, ministry, aid etc, should keep our mind on serving God through empowering and helping others to became faithful to God in
Christ Jesus. Here is the duty of being a good citizen in the “polis”, the city where each serves
God. The local church with its members should be involved in community issues which worry people, if need be contacting the local or national government. Most of the time when issues touch on the political sphere we, the churches’ leaders, find an excuse to be elsewhere
70 because it is not good for the church to be involved in politics: here is our failure. A clear example of this tendency is to be seen in Jan van der Watt’s words: “we must realise that we have two definitions of reconciliation here, with two different foci namely political and religious”
(2005: 111). Van der Watt is aware that this narrow definition of reconciliation could be challenged and adds, “not implying that religion does not often include politics and vice versa”
(ibid: 111). But for the one who believes that the political and religious spheres are both God’s mandates to the world (as mentioned in the TRC report volume 4: “many churches, however, saw the defence forces as servants of God and the chaplaincy as an important legitimate support”; op. cit.: 71), consideration is given to both institutions as God’s instruments for his glory on behalf of the world. People are already “polites”, or citizens; a gospel that does not touch their political context is not the one that Jesus Christ taught and Peter and Paul and all the other disciples proclaimed. When the Spirit of God is on you and on me as members of the churches we have the duty of preaching, of proclaiming freedom for the prisoners, healing, releasing the oppressed and proclaiming the year of the Lord’s grace. Such a gospel does not spare the political sphere. There is no way to be filled with the Holy Spirit, yet simultaneously to watch all kinds of injustice and the suffering of fellow human beings created in God’s image.
The Church deals with issues which dehumanise human beings and tend to destroy God’s image. When the Lord Jesus said “I will build my church” he used the term ekklesia in its context of a Greco-Roman, political assembly for the welfare of citizens. The mission of
diakonia should be holistic, not only spiritual.
The church as a modality is constituted by sodalities by which she performs specific services: for instance, in education, health, agriculture and environment, assistance and care to the military and security forces. These are now discussed briefly.
In South Africa, Kritzinger makes the important observation that one of the basic social structures in any society is education. “This is also an area where the church historically played an important role” (2002: 9). The past tense denotes that the church is no longer playing its role in that arena. The church should not be in a kind of competition with the government but should adopt the strategy of negotiating with the state in such a manner that both should cooperate and be faithful partners as long as they have in mind the same goal: the citizens’ welfare.
South Africa is complex in terms of religions: Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists,
Zionists and others. Hence secular education should not be orientated to some religious goal.
Brink records the minister of education’s opinion regarding religious education in the secular
71 school: that “South Africa is a country that embraces all major world religions. Each of these religions, including Christianity, is a diverse category, encompassing many different understandings of religious life” (2002: 154)
Brink comments that: “In developing policy for religion in education it was evident that a distinction had to be drawn between Religious Education and Religion Education” (Ibid). This is why religious leaders need to be reconciled: together they need to decide which kind of religion education should be taught in the secular schools here in South Africa, and we suggest that one ecumenical commission be created to deal with this issue and produce a document which should guide the teaching of religion in the secular school, a kind of prolegomenon to religion, that is an introduction to the beliefs of each religion in South Africa. Diakonia mission should focus sharply on how and when such an ecumenical commission should be created.
Health also should be one of the most important duties of the church, but it seems that as with the sector of education, the church no longer plays any part in this sector. As soon as western missionaries left Africa the local government took control of this sector. But the churches should not abandon this task, because it is one of the important commands of the Lord to heal illness. In the 21 st
century church, mission should be involved in dealing with the pandemic diseases which threaten not only South Africa and Angola but also all Africa. We concur entirely with what Johan Combrinck said: “There is no way in which we could deal with the mission challenge to the church in the 21 st
century and not deal with this pandemic” (2002:
137). In his own words (written five years ago):
It is estimated that 36,1 million people world-wide are HIV positive or live with AIDS, of which 25,3 million are in sub-Saharan Africa. This last figure amounts to nearly one in every ten African adults (UN 2000). 70% of all adults and 80% of children living with
HIV are in Africa. 2,4 million people died of AIDS-related diseases in Africa during
2000 – more than those killed by war, famine and flood combined (Fox 2000). Of the
20 million people world-wide who have died of AIDS, 15 million have been Africans
In terms of the campaign against HIV, the secular method to avoid the disease is the use of condoms: should the church and other communities of faith teach the same to their members?
We think that sex outside of marriage is sin and breaks communion with God. The use of a
72 condom can avoid the physical disease but the sin will remain. The church should help society to reject sexual immorality, which secular teaching does not explain and does not understand.
The church is a sinful community called to become holy, as the Lord is holy, and cannot in such cases tolerate sin but should be the light of society.
We furthermore suggest that the church or the council of churches in South Africa increase the numbers of chaplains in the hospitals so as to assist physicians and nurses to care for patients all over the country; to organise ecumenical worship every Sunday; to assist certain patients who need spiritual care more than medication, as we know that certain diseases are psychosomatic and need counselling care and dialogue rather than medication. The new South
Africa really needs the church’s help in seeking good health for all its citizens, white and black.
The church’s mission of diakonia should also examine the national economy, in order to understand what the country produces and how these products are distributed, so as to alert the government if the distribution is not fair. People are generally poor or rich as a consequence of a system established by people who themselves have control over the resources which should serve every person for the general welfare. Although the African church has accepted the shallow western teaching, which focused on spirituality rather than material matters, in this 21 st
century the church has many economists as members, who could evaluate this sector to assist people in handling money and gaining access to a better life.
Diakonia should also minister to the security and military forces. The missio Dei is unlimited and indefinite: God is a God of armies; He leads combats and wins victories. This sector is not under evil control as is often thought. Jesus as well as the prophets in the Old Testament assisted soldiers to perform acts for the good of the nation on behalf of their people. We suggest therefore that ministers should be trained and work in the police cells and prisons, to assist prisoners and police officers in teaching them the gospel and organising ecumenical worship every Sunday. Ministers should counsel police and military personnel in performing their daily duties according to God’s will. The Church cannot refuse this noble task. I thank
God who led me in Congo to do my stint in the military and police camps as a minister; really these forces are in need of many ministers well trained in theology to assist prisoners and personnel.
In addition the Church should consider how to participate in agriculture for the purposes of development. Theologians should encourage our members to take care of the other creatures: beasts, fishes and birds. This mission to the environment is a challenge in South Africa. People need to be taught about the care of nature. Diakonia I think should be the focus of the reconciliation ministry, because it is more inclusive and understood in the Pneumatological dimension.
18.104.22.168. Koinonia Mission
The Koinonia mission, fellowship and unity should be understood firstly as Christological. This mission involves two dimensions: historical and eschatological. In history, the koinonia mission has been already carried out: through his life Christ shows that there is no longer separation between people: Samaritans and Jews, Gentiles and Jews are bound together, poor and rich, all together are children of God as long they believe in Christ; and at Calvary Christ destroyed the wall of separation among Jews and gentiles. In the eschaton, the koinonia mission will concern all creation and the heavens and the earth will come together, united in Christ
(Ephesians 1:10, Col 1: 17). The final act of worship in Revelation reveals this. The “already” and the “not yet” encounter in the Koinonia, walk and work hand in hand; for such a situation
Christ interceded so that when the world perceives the fellowship and unity of the believers in
Christ it is able to believe. Fellowship and unity should be a visible sign to help other people to believe in Christ (John 17: 20 – 26). But the reality is that the paradigm shifts in mission gave birth to many types of Christian movements, where now denominationalism is the focus and becomes the great obstacle to the true Koinonia of believers. Denominationalism divided
Christ’s body, the Church, into molecules, each with its particular focus on “Christ” and in such a way churches cease to be in Christ but are, rather, in crisis: He ceases to be the reference of membership; the criterion is the founding historical leaders, to them all glory; the Lord of the church is trampled upon and put in the corner while the founding leader becomes the centre and the style of life. When those in the world look at the Church where fellowship and unity are supposed to be a reality and teaching in action they see divisions and racism; consequently they prefer to stay at home or even visit a night club to hear secular music, or to watch movies rather than to enter a church where hypocrites gather to listen to the gospel which has never been the centre of their practices. We do not please the Lord. The New Testament Christian
74 church shows the true koinonia where there is no denominationalism. The following theological observations and recommendations will further focus on this issue.
This is a general observation about churches everywhere in Africa. In South Africa we have attempted to check whether reconciliation in the church is still needed: the answer is, in all our investigations, yes. For Nandipho Adoons, yes, “because we have been separated only after the TRC we have a new direction to learn how to do things together” (March, 2006). For Steve
Mathe, “yes because we have many different churches” (March, 2006). I have already said that there is a necessity for building new relationships by planting new congregations with a vision of the new South Africa, where white and black would truly work hand in hand. Because the reality is that South Africa is, as president Thabo Mbeki said, quoted above, “two nations in one nation”. The churches are separated and divided: Whites on one side and blacks on the other with some superficial and elusive interaction. This reality divides all the institutions in South
Africa: schools, hospitals and cities are divided into white and black with small numbers of blacks in the white churches, schools, cities and places of entertainment. This is, I think, the main cause of the criminality in South Africa. Here is the necessity of “ubuntu” for national reconciliation; “Kunlumani” (dialogue) should take place to create a true new South Africa and the Church united must be God’s instrument to promote the reconciliation of the whole nation.
Koinonia Mission should accept the context of South Africa, as well in other countries in Africa, where a pluralism of religions is the reality. Interreligious dialogue is important to see how communities of faith should work together in unity. Unity is not conformity nor vice versa: unity in diversity and harmony is the goal of the inter-religious dialogue. Bosch stated this point of unity and mission, writing: “First, the mutual coordination of mission and unity is nonnegotiable” (1991: 464); furthermore he quotes Kung: “Listening to God’s word and listening to each other belong together, however; we can have the first only if we are prepared to have the second (Kung 1987:81-84)” (ibid: 465). The people of God should enhance their capacity of listening to each other and discerning God’s work in the life of other people of his. And apart from the Koinonia mission, there is another important aspect of the missio-ecclesiae, that is
leiturgia, worship to God.
22.214.171.124. Mission as Leiturgia
Mission should be regarded as an act of leitourgia, an act of worship of the God who sent us into the world. We glorify his name in our obedience to going out as witnesses of his love. God created us to adore and serve Him continually through our neighbour in many ways as an act of worship. Worship of God is the first commandment as the Lord Jesus Christ taught it, according to Matthew 22:37 – 39, and the second is related to the first: you shall love your neighbour as you love yourself. In the context of South Africa what meaning could liturgy offer to the people? It is really important to gather people to worship in a building to encourage them but its impact will not affect the whole nation. The body of Christ in its diversity and in harmony, as an ecumenical church, could gather in a public place to worship and celebrate His presence in a diversity of languages and manners of praise. Piet Meiring witnesses this kind of meeting:
The national celebration would take place on Sunday, 25 April, on the banks of the
Orange River, in Upington. President Mandela would be the guest of honour. The
Afrikaans minister on the Truth Commission had been requested to conduct the public worship and to deliver the sermon before the president would speak (op. cit.: 128).
This national Freedom Day (27 April) should draw the attention of all believers: Christians and members of other religions gathering to worship and celebrate before God as on the Jewish
Passover to remember how great, deep and high is God’s mercy towards us. But it seems that on Freedom Day, the political leaders are more at home and concerned on that day than
Christians and other religious people are, as if it does not mean anything for us. South Africa’s church of Christ in its diversity should become involved in and take this day as an opportunity to worship God in diversity and harmony as an ecumenical church. Here should be visible a practical reconciliation or reconciliation in action. On such a day the liturgy could employ ceremonial symbols of reconciliation.
3.4.2. South Africa’s Complex Society.
South Africa is a very complex society because of its size. Secondly, its complexity is shown also by a multiplicity of ethnicities. And thirdly, many political ideologies and religious beliefs coexist, with multiple political parties and communities of faith. This is the context of the field of
God’s mission for the Church in South Africa. Shubane Khehla testifies about political parties in
South Africa: “More parties exist here than in many other African countries” (1997: 11). In
Shubane Khehla’s words: “Seven are represented in parliament, and eight in provincial legislatures; fully 26 parties contested the first non-racial election” (ibid: 11). Regarding the religious movements, Jurgens Hendriks & Dr Johannes Erasmus in their joint article on
“Religion in South Africa: Census “96” record the pluralism of religions. Statistics show 99 main religious groups scattered among five groups of people (op. cit.: 15 – 18). Without this understanding and God’s guidance, mission in South Africa could be a waste of time and resources. Maluleke, writing the story of Happy Sindane, who claimed his father was white, commented: “South Africa has remained very much in the grip of racialised thinking”
(2005:115). The interview I conducted with Paul Lang Bester on 16 March 2006, revealed to me many things about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Firstly, it did an important and worthy work for all South Africans and had credibility. Secondly, it did not give a chance to all South Africans to tell their stories. Thirdly, not only blacks suffered from apartheid; so did whites, both on the side of the apartheid government and of the opposition. Fourthly, churches have to create new interactions among blacks and whites so that the next generation does not fall into the pit of the previous separatist racial policies. This would be possible by inculcating a clear consciousness that blacks and whites in South Africa and in other countries in Africa are God’s children. And I understand that the complexity in South Africa does not matter; on the contrary it offers opportunities for an effective, complete and global Church mission in mono- and transcultural contexts. Christians as the majority religious group should normally witness to Christ living and transforming lives positively in various actions. Here the four dimensions of mission: Kerugma, diakonia, Koinonia and Leiturgia become a synergistic action to reconcile, in Christ, people to God and each other.
South Africa as well as Angola offers opportunities for Christians to carry out mission at both dimensions of mission: firstly, the local level symbolized by E – 0; E – 1 considered as monocultural evangelisation; secondly, the missionary and international level, symbolized by E
– 2; E – 3 considered as transcultural (Pedro, Lutiniko 1999:6) evangelisation which requires training for its future incarnation efforts. This dimension of mission should not be evaluated in terms of distance or geographic dimension but should be flexible enough to perceive and understand where and what God wants for his sake and for the people whom he desires to be reconciled. The Church should be prepared not only to reconcile the two nations in one, but should also do its best to go beyond that and reach even small details of racial and ethnic division and discrimination. Mrs Maleka Sindisiwe told me about how whites had disappointed her; after serving as a tea lady in a restaurant, she had hoped to be promoted to a secretary since she had had the opportunity of being trained but was not given work because she was not white. These kinds of events are not only experienced by blacks; whites have similar experiences. Many cases could be illustrated which show discrimination among people but the main issue is the complexity of the country, which should remind the Church how complex is its mission, which normally should be present in all of life. Here the ministry of reconciliation should form the channel between the church and the state for better collaboration. An intricate
South Africa requires an ecumenically stronger mission as regards national reconciliation.
3.4.3. The Ecumenical Mission
We have already mentioned many facets of the ecumenical responsibility of the church. We insist on this aspect so that Christians and other communities of faith consider and decide how and what we shall do as believers for our reconciliation first, before we deal with the issue of national reconciliation. It is necessary to make the point that among Christians interreligious dialogue is a very divisive issue, between particularism and universalism. Marianne Moyaert who wrote on this issue observed:
I wish to focus on the current discussion between two theological models namely universalism on the one hand and particularism on the other. The first model emphasizes the commonalities between the religions and the second model focuses on the particularity of each religious tradition often resulting in the rejection of the continued need for interreligious dialogue (2005: 37).
Reconciliation is essential between Christians and between these two theological tendencies for the sake of interreligious dialogue, which I believe would glorify God once we could leave each other in peace, in our harmony in diversity.
In the context of South Africa, the ecumenical mission concerns Christians divided into two or three main groups: Roman Catholics, Protestants with two main branches: Evangelical and the
South African Council of Churches, and other communities of faith. The TRC’s report, volume
4, refers to all religions in South Africa: “African Traditional Religion, Christian churches, Islam,
Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Baha’i Faith”. Here we summarize the TRC commentary on these religions: African Traditional Religion is often dismissed as “culture” rather than “religion”; Islam traces its origins in South Africa to the arrival of political prisoners and slaves at the Cape from late seventeenth century; Judaism: the Jewish community in
South Africa descends from immigrants of Anglo-German and Lithuanian origin who arrived at various stages during the nineteenth century. The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (formed in
1912) and the SA Zionist Federation (1898) are the two main representative bodies. Hinduism: seventy percent of the one million South African Indians are Hindu. The first Indians came to
South Africa in 1860 to work as indentured labour, mainly on sugar plantations in Natal.
Buddhism: some Buddhists came to South Africa from India and other Indians have embraced the religion since its arrival late in the nineteenth century, while most South African Buddhists are white converts. And the Baha’i Faith, although present in South Africa since 1911, only began to grow in the 1950s (op. cit: 60 – 65).
Hence there are at least six religious groups in South Africa with whom Christians have to entertain continued ecumenical dialogue as people of God. The “Church of Christ in South
Africa” should be a united body in its diversity in harmony. In Jesus’ earthly mission he taught everybody from different religious backgrounds without distinction. If we could ask ourselves,
“what would Christ Jesus do in our context of pluralism of religions? Would he visit African
Traditional religions, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Baha’i and other religious groups?” clearly the answer would be yes! If yes, why should we Christians run away from those to whom God has sent us? Why should we hinder God’s work with our presumptuous thoughts and doctrines? Did not the Lord tell Peter not to consider as heathens those whom God considers pure? (Acts 10: 15). We do not know when God’s work of sanctification began. Should we
Christians interact with Muslims and consider each other as God’s people? Why not, if the
79 history of Christians and Muslims tells us that Christians used to welcome Muslims and coexist peacefully; as Alan Neely recorded (1995: 68)
We recognize that the relationship between Christians and Muslims is very complicated but we cannot stay in this very complicated situation: we have to deal within a sincere dialogue and discover how to live in a healthy relationship and how to be reconciled people of God, in both diversity and a harmonious community of faith in South Africa, as the TRC demonstrated with such effort. Likewise, the relationship between Christians and Hindus should be one of the goals of interreligious dialogue here in South Africa. There is a way to be reconciled with all religious groups here in South Africa, and Christians, as the majority, should be promoters of this dialogue. In such a way we can aid reconciliation in the whole of South Africa.
In South Africa as a democratic republic, members of religions should play their role as people of God in all sectors of life. Interreligious dialogue has a great deal to do within the country but some cases call for attention and should be the focus of interreligious dialogue, such as homosexual marriage, corruption, rape, assault and assassination. Dr. Neville Richardson made an interesting comment on same sex marriage, in the Methodist Newspaper: “The
Constitutional Court ruling now faces the churches with the need for much more focused thought and action in the matter” (March 2006: 1): interesting because “churches” here means not only Christians but also all other religions. The contact we have had with many individual people shows that the churches combated apartheid together. It is time in the new South Africa for them to join hands to fight against all discrimination, racism, poverty, rape, assault, and homosexual marriage. If today the churches do not want to cooperate, therefore, things will be worse than during apartheid. National reconciliation will be hard to achieve without ecumenical mission. In the investigation the writer undertook, many said that the ingredients for national reconciliation are “love, forgiveness, trust, faith and prayer”. The proposed ecumenical commission should not be confused with the TRC but interreligious dialogue will define its role and mission in South Africa.
In conclusion, the HRV Committee was the most effective committee of the TRC, which helped people to forgive and be healed from their traumatic experiences, as Professor Meiring demonstrated. The Reparation and Rehabilitation, as well as the Amnesty, committees are the most strongly criticized. We defended the credibility of the TRC report, showing its seven
80 volumes as synoptic writings where the events are the same but exhibit similarities and divergences, where the South African authors are more reliable.
We also discussed issues such as economic inequality, criminality, unemployment, xenophobia, violence against women; describing these as apartheid sequels which pose a strong challenge and constitute the churches’ mission. Discussing the concept of two nations in one we concur, but not in terms of white and black; rather as rich and poor. Thus, as Kerugma, mission should focus on teaching people to know that our faith should be active to bring about transformation in society. In terms of Diakonia churches should find themselves involved in the social sphere of concrete actions. Liturgical mission should lead into a great national celebration: Freedom Day should be a time of encountering all God’s people. Because South
Africa is a complex society with many religions we suggest the creation of an ecumenical committee for regular dialogue on the issues which need a response from communities of faith: education for instance. We have learnt that the TRC should or could be important in the case of
Angola, which we think should be communicated to the churches’ leaders there; and why not to the political leaders in my country as well?
THE ANGOLAN EXPERIENCE
Reconciliation in the Republic of Angola is an urgent issue as regards lasting peace, since we know that Angola has been involved in 27 years of conflict and civil war. Now that peace has come through the Luena memorandum of understanding signed by both the government and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, “Uniao Nacional para a
Independencia Total de Angola” (UNITA), on 4 April 2002 and now that there is free circulation through all Angola, people who had been forced to flee their towns, cities and villages by civil war are seeking their lost family members. Angolans are relieved that the war is over but at the same time there are mixed feelings. The conditions in which the civil war left the country devastated created frustration and sorrow for the majority of Angolan citizens, under the harsh poverty which is its outcome. Shall we be quiet? Or shall we stand before God and the state to deal with the past for the sake of the people and to foster good management for a better future? It is clear that all Angolans should contribute to the future, which begins now in darkness and despair with respect to the Cabinda Province. We believe that 2002 is the departure point which raises many questions about the future. This section will deal with these kinds of questions and make suggestions for the future. Two events make the year 2002 special for Angola. First, the death of Jonas Savimbi, on 22 February 2002 which came one century after the death of Mutu Kevela from the same province as Savimbi, as Henderson records:
On April 23, 1902, Mutu Kevela departed from Bailundo to mobilize the
Umbundu…Mutu Kevela had been killed at Chipindo in the environs of Bailundo,
August 4, 1902, but he was the hero who emerged from the conflict between
Portuguese and Angolans (1979: 110).
Savimbi’s death drew international attention insofar as it brought an immediate ceasefire and internal dialogue without international observers’ interventions.
The second event, which also placed the world’s spotlight on Angola, was the solar eclipse in
December 2002, which brought many scientists to Angola for the first time. This chapter will discuss the following points: Angola and its struggle for independence, Conflict and civil war and the Luena memorandum toward future national reconciliation. As the Economist News observed: “These old enemies meet without apparent rancour; reconciliation seems possible”
(2005:2). We wish to make sure that continuing reconciliation among Angolans becomes a reality. The conclusion will focus on implications which should empower the people, along with the government, to rebuild the country and share its resources fairly. To make an effective contribution to Angolan history we collected information from many books and articles and administered a questionnaire and interview to church leaders in Luanda, the capital city. As with the TRC, in the case of Angola each author has definite objectives and different interpretations. Some, like Dr. P.K. Huibregtse, defended the Portuguese policies as fair and right, arguing that there was no exploitation but that it was the outsiders’ influence which forced the blacks to rebel against the Portuguese, and contended that Angola and the other
Portuguese colonies should be regarded as provinces of Portugal. In his own words:
It will make no difference, because white and black are equal. They do not say in
Angola: Whites are superior, or blacks are superior. That is no problem, as there are really only Angolese [sic]…We are living in an era in which the political lie is in demand. It is a lie to say that the circumstances in Angola are an insult to human dignity…The Portuguese overseas provinces are frontier posts in the defence of the west. Whoever abandons these posts must eventually abandon himself (1975: 10/1).
We have considered all these books even though some of them contain shocking material. As
Huibregtse said, we are living in an era in which the political lie is considered as truth (ibid). We appreciated some books and articles like the “Angola” article in Africa Today edited and published by Uwechue Raph et al (1996), Angola: Five Centuries of Conflict written by
Henderson Lawrence W. (1979), The Peaceful Face of Angola: Biography of a Peace Process
(1991 to 2002) by Comerford Michael G. (2005), and After Angola The War Over Southern
Africa The Role of the Big Powers by Legum Colin (1976) and others in which we found valuable information for this thesis. The present experience of peace in Angola brought about much speculation. We thought it would be worthwhile to interview the churches’ leaders, as those who are in contact with people, to tell us what they know about the past 27 years of civil war and what people’s expectations are for the amazing and spontaneous peace that emerged.
Should we Angolans say that we are now a rainbow nation? Or are we in danger when people are still in trauma and thinking about the unjust conditions in which the civil war left us? How to ensure a solid future for Angola? Such questions and answers will not be understood unless we first consider the colonial history of Angola.
4.1. Colonization and Slave Trade
Angola is one of the southern African countries; to the north it borders the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to the east Zambia and to the south Namibia. Its neighbouring countries exercise not only linguistic influences (French and English) but also religious and political ideologies. Lawrence W. Henderson wrote: “Angola occupied a strategic position in changing southern Africa; it is also a focal point for current West-East interactions” (Op.cit.: 6). Angola is
Portuguese-speaking but French and English are both languages which are influential within
Luanda. Most people in the northern, western and eastern parts speak French while in the southern part most people speak English, but Portuguese is the educational language everywhere in Angola. The Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola mutually influence each other strongly. Angola through Cabinda province also shares a border with Congo Brazzaville in the north. Angola was for a long time a Roman Catholic country, before it became secular as the Angola Constitution declared in article eight ( www.angop
2005:2). Rego Silva quoted by
Lawrence W. Henderson shows how the Roman Catholic church has been influential since colonial times (Op.cit.: 146). Furthermore Lawrence W. Henderson describes the Catholic influence within the country:
Angolans … recognized clearly the close tie between Church and the state. Catholic certificates of baptism and marriage were legal, which greatly facilitated life in the extremely bureaucratic society created by Portuguese colonialism, whereas Angolans married in the Protestant churches were still registered officially as ‘single’ and their children as well ‘illegitimate.’ Local Catholic catechists were paid by the government and enjoyed other perquisites such as exemption of taxes and contract labor. The discrimination between Catholic and Protestant was crucial for a majority of Angolans because they lived in religiously defined communities. (Ibid: 146/7).
Angola is divided into eighteen provinces from Cabinda to Cunene. Its population is estimated at 15,490,000; cf. Pelissier Rene (2006:51) where the Ovimbundu are the largest ethnic group with 37%, followed by mixtures of urban groups at 35.7%, Kimbundu estimated at 25% and a minority of Bakongo 13% [this adds up to 110%]; Roman Catholics are the majority, estimated at 62%, and Protestants and other religions comprise a minority of 32%. Portuguese as we said above is the language of education, while other Bantu and African languages are used in the common social life (cf. The World Almanac & Book of Fact, in the section of Nations of the
World 2006:1; www.theworldfactbook
). The following map of Angola is from the same source:
Angola has a long history. It maintained diplomatic relations with the Portuguese after the
Diego Cao discovery: they had reached the coast of Angola, becoming friendly with the King of
Kongo, Nzinga Nkuvu, who ruled in Mbanza Kongo as his capital city, later called Sao Salvador by the Portuguese. The Background Notes on Countries of the World: “Republic of Angola”, informs us:
In 1482, when the Portuguese first landed in what is now northern Angola, they encouraged the Kingdom of Kongo, which stretched from modern Gabon in the north to the Kwanza River in the South. Mbanza Kongo, the capital, had a population of
50,000 people. South of this kingdom were various important states, of which the
Kingdom of Ndongo, ruled by the Ngola (king), was most significant. Modern Angola derives its name from the king of Ndongo (2005: 1 www.EBSCOhost
It should be understood that other kingdoms were dependent on the Kingdom of Kongo (Dos
Santos Jose & Pailler Jean 2000: 27). When the missionaries arrived they regarded the whole of Angola as their territory.
Here one should read Raph Uwechue et al who refer to the missionaries’ arrival in Angola:
Portuguese missionaries arrived in 1491 and Manikongo Nzinga-a-Cuum [sic], his senior chiefs and their families embraced Christianity. The next king, Affonso I of
Kongo also became a Christian. He exchanged ambassadors with King Manuel I and then King Joao III of Portugal and welcomed Portuguese missionaries, traders and artisans (1996: 262).
When and why did diplomatic relations end? The Portuguese were clever: after exploring the whole country they discovered many valuable activities, including the slave trade, and they wished to conquer it. Therefore, they used military forces to overturn the Kongo Kingdom and corrupted the chief of the kingdom of Ndongo to that they could take control over Angola. Raph
Uwechue et al confirm this: “In the 16 th
century the Ngola prospered from illicit slave trading with the Portuguese. But after a quarrel between the two parties, the Portuguese attempted military conquest in 1575, the year that Luanda was founded” (opcit: 262).
King Affonso did not concur with the Portuguese devoting themselves to the slave trade.
Meanwhile King Ngola-a-Nzinga of Ndongo Kingdom whose capital was Mbanza Kabassa
“prospered from the illicit slave trading” said Uwechue Raph et al (Ibid). But this illicit trading led to a quarrel, which caused the Portuguese to use military forces to take control over the
Kingdom of Ndongo first and subsequently after 75 years of war the whole of Angola. Raph
Uwechue et al record the legacy of Angolan kingdoms that had resisted the Portuguese sporadically (ibid: 262):
In 1680, after resisting a challenge from the Dutch, who occupied the Portuguese settlements in the 16 th
century, Portugal’s control over Angola covered only half dozen forts in the lower Kwanza Valley and Benguela and in the 17 th
century the Kingdom of
Kongo began a steadydecline in which the influence of the Catholic mission almost vanished.
But conquest was not yet complete. Conflict between various kingdoms and the Portuguese became intense during the dawning of the 20 th
century, firstly with the kingdom of Congo in
Alvoro Buta’s revolt 1913 – 15; with the Dembo part of Kimbundu people, Ngola’s kingdom.
The revolt of Mutu Kavela above inserts in this section with Ovimbundu in 1902 had been considered as one of “greatest African resistance” this ended with the rulers Mandume in 1915 and this resistance went in all over the kingdom until 1920 see Raph Uwechue et al (op. cit:
262). Bridgland reveals the relationship of some of the leaders of that revolt to Savimbi’s family in the person of Sakaita, grandfather of Savimbi: “Loth’s father and Jonas’ grandfather, Sakaita
Savimbi, was a traditional chief who had been stripped of his power and much of his lands by the colonisers because he had fought in the Bailundo uprising of 1902” (1986:26). The effective control over Angola by the Portuguese should be dated to 1920, as Lawrence W. Henderson confirms (1979: 68): this brought about many changes in the Angolans’ life. With the intention of sweeping away all blacks, the Portuguese policy of miscegenation was established for a new race called mestizos, of which they were proud, saying: “God created the whites and the blacks, and the Portuguese created the mestizo” (ibid: 70). Lawrence W. Henderson, quoting
Gerald, recorded that: “In 1846 there were almost 11 white men for every white woman in
Angola. By 1920 that had dropped to 187 to 100 as had the frequency of the miscegenation”
(ibid: 70). Coloureds or Mestizos in Angola enjoyed special privileges and status, not only because of their skin and relationship with the Portuguese but also, importantly, they were the most assimilated race. Angolan Kingdoms resisted miscegenation. But mestizos are scattered everywhere in Angola. The mestizos as well as the trade in slaves should be held as fundamental reasons which impeded the first evangelism in the Congo kingdom. The
Portuguese abused black women, not even marrying them, those as well whose husbands were away for long periods in the forced labour of coffee and sugar-cane plantations, after the slave trade had been abolished. This notorious history gave Angola an important place as a centre of the slave trade (Lawrence W. Henderson op.cit.: 74).
Fred Brindgland records that slaves were baptised before crossing the Atlantic in chains: “on the wharfs at Luanda as late as 1870, there could be seen a marble chair in which the bishop had baptized” (1986:1). This situation of slavery and the burden of colonization led to the first resistance against Christianity, as recorded by Groves (1954:245) and Lawrence W.
Henderson (Op. cit: 81). The first work was carried out by Franciscans (Martin 1975:5); the
Capuchins arrived later during the early decline of the first wave of evangelism and in 1717 they withdrew completely (Martin 1975: 11).
The situation of Christianity’s failure within the Kingdom of Congo should not be confused with other secular activities in the Angolan kingdoms. Although the Portuguese missions failed in this Kingdom, they were still operating in other kingdoms, for instance, that of Ngola (Lawrence
W. Henderson: ibid: 81). The Portuguese created tensions between kingdoms, as Henderson records:
Tension between the kingdoms of Kongo and Ngola increased because of the competition for profits from the slave trade. The Portuguese presence in the Kongo stimulated the demand for slaves and the favorite campaigning ground of the
Kongolese was among the populous Kimbundu, South of the Dande River. The
Kimbundu not only were victims of trade, but also profited from it by their role as intermediaries in furnishing slaves to the north and selling slaves through the illegal port of Luanda (ibid: 81/2).
The trade in slaves thus not only benefited the Portuguese but also the other kingdoms, which the Portuguese manipulated. The history of Angola as we remarked above is the key to understanding Angola as an important nation in African and world history. According to
Lawrence W. Henderson, “the total number of slaves landed in Americas from all parts of Africa is estimated at about 10 million. Angola would seem to have been the largest supplier of slaves in the world. Perhaps 30 percent of the slaves in the trade for the whole period of three centuries came from Angola” (ibid: 94).
This is merely a brief Angolan history. How guilty we feel when we are writing this section since we are descendants of those who sold our brother and sister Angolans and other Africans. It will be important that a reconciliation ministry should think not only in terms of the local context but should go beyond the Angolan context to reach, if possible, those who are our
88 descendants, our brothers sold by our ancestors, with the gospel of forgiveness. When the slave trade was abolished the Portuguese launched a new policy of forced labour (ntonga), which led to the later campaigns of liberation movements for an independent Angola. To this we now move.
4.2. The Struggle for Independence
The question of ntonga (forced labour) represented a Portuguese strategy to maintain control over their subjects whose education was very limited. Taxes and beating with “mbala matodi”, a piece of wood with nails, were used to punish those who refused to obey instructions. As evidence of this Fred Bridgland recorded:
A missionary nurse who approached the Portuguese district administrators wrote: ‘we heard the sounds of blows and screaming. We passed into the building and through an open door saw an African lying on the floor being beaten by a cipaio (African policeman). The administrator sat behind his desk watching.’ Onlookers explained that the reason for beating was that the man, a village chief, had been unable to collect enough men for contract labour (opcit:24).
The Bengela railway, constructed between 1903 and about 1923 according to Uwechue Raph et al (opcit: 263), should be seen in the context of forced labour. Not long thereafter free settlers were encouraged to move to Angola, as Raph Uwechue et al confirm: “In 1945 the
Portuguese government initiated measures designed to encourage its excess population to emigrate to Angola. In 1951 Angola was considered a part of Portugal and in 1952 the settlement projects known as colonatos began” (opcit: 263).
Huambo became known as nova Lisboa (new Lisbon) since so many Portuguese settled there
(Uwechue Raph et al.) but they were also found everywhere in Angola. As regards the Angolan natives in that period of harsh labour, many began to flee to the neighbouring countries. There some “natives” received higher education and they began to consider how to liberate the country from Portugues in the country as favoured citizens the force of liberation came from
Angolans in other countries.
Three liberation movements are known in the history of Angolan independence: The National
Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola
(MPLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). A brief background of each movement will be helpful. We are aware of other, smaller, Angolan movements for the liberation of Angola, like the Union for the Populations of Angola (UPA) and the Association for the Natives of Angola (ANANGOLA) movements. They will not be forgotten in this chapter but will be explored by means of the main liberation movements. And particular attention will be given to the Cabindian political party, Frente de Libertacao do Enclave de
Cabinda (FLEC) or the Front for Liberation of the Cabinda Enclave, as one of the Angolan movements who still hope to withdraw Cabinda from Angola as an independent state. We do not pretend to write all the details of Angolan history but are simply offering a clear understanding of Angola for the purposes of a future lasting peace. But the case of Cabinda, which now threatens Angolan peace, will keep our attention for a while. For the Angola
Constitution article five said: “The Republic of Angola shall be a unitary and indivisible state whose inviolable and inalienable territory shall be that defined by the present geographical limits of Angola, and any attempt at separatism or dismemberment of its territory shall be vigorously combated” (2005:2) www.angop
Instead of beginning with the MPLA, which was created first among the liberation movements, we have followed an alphabetical order.
4.2.1. The National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA)
The Frente Nacional pela Liberacao de Angola (FNLA) has its basic pattern within the Uniao
das populacoes de Angola (UPA), founded in July 1957 as the Union for the Northern
Populations of Angola (UPNA), which changed its name in 1961 after the founding of MPLA in
1956. Raph Uwechue et al inform us that it was founded by amongst others, Manual
Barros Necaca and his nephew, Holden Roberto, who later became its leader: in December
1958 the UPNA, which had been regarded as a Bakongo party, changed its name to Uniao das
Populacoes de Angola (UPA) (op. cit.: 263).
The FNLA vision was limited in the beginning to that ethnic group of the Bakongo, but fortunately after one year changed its vision to encompass “all Africans originally from Angola,
90 without discriminations to sex, age, ethnic origin or domicile” (Uwechue, ibid). According to
Duncan Clarke, Holden Roberto became militant as a result of his contact with other new young African leaders:
In Accra [in December 1958], Roberto established relationship with several other young luminaries of the nationalist firmament, including Patrice Lumumba, Kenneth
Kaunda, Tom Mboya and Frantz Fanon. Already by now he was beginning to consider the use of revolutionary violence, should Portugal remain obdurate (2000:47).
For Zegeye Abebe, Dixon et al, “When the MPLA was cosmopolitan, socialist and integrated, the UPA (which would change its name once again … in 1961) was provincial, entrepreneurial, anticommunist and ethnically homogenous” (1999: 6). www.EBSCOhost
It is necessary to comment that a political party or even a local church which has a vision for reconciliation should deal with the issue of gathering all people, and not concentrate its efforts on one ethnic group. This political and military party really fought for the liberation of Angola, as we will see below. It had its main office in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), sustained by the United States of America. Zegeye, Abebe, Dixon et al confirm that “Zairian forces supporting the FNLA, though better trained and more disciplined than Roberto’s, were not of the same calibre as the SADF(South African Defence Force) and could not have carried on the fight without US support” (ibid: 13). www.EBSCOhost
The first conflict was against the Portuguese in the time of the UPA, when many hundreds of
Portuguese settlers were brutally killed (Legum 1976: 18) but later the FNLA as well as MPLA entered the struggle. In 1962 the Revolutionary Government of Angola in Exile (GRAE =
Governo Revolucionario de Angola no Exilio) for the liberation of Angola was set up, as Raph
Uwechue et al record, “under Holden Roberto as Prime Minister and Emmanuel Kunzika, leader of the PDA, as first Vice-premier. Dr. Neto was elected president of the MPLA at the movement’s first national conference in Leopoldville (Kinshasa) in December 1962” (op. cit:
The FNLA as well as the MPLA had various factions but we will not consider these. The composition of the GRAE shows how influential Holden Roberto was; not only in the GRAE because he was also elected as president of the “Conselho Supremo de Liberacao de Angola”
(Supreme Council for the Liberation of Angola) (CSLA) when certain African presidents tried to unify the FNLA and MPLA in 1972. Teca describes Holden Roberto as “the oldest politician within the liberation struggle” (1997: 25). Interaction between FNLA and MPLA is recorded by
Raph Uwechue et al: “On December 13, 1972, [sic] formed a Supreme Council for the
Liberation of Angola (CSLA), under the auspices of the OAU. Holden Roberto was made president of the CSLA, with Dr. Neto as vice-president” (op.cit: 265).
This is a brief background of the FNLA, which will be completed by a discussion of the internal civil war. It is obvious that FNLA had a positive impact on African leaders. Today FNLA deals with many administrative problems although it continues to affirm its existence in Angola and
Holden Roberto is still president, although he is being challenged by young leaders whose ambition is to take control over the party. With the dawning of a democratic mood in Angola, the FNLA maintained its proud record as a liberating movement. The Angolan President Jose
Eduardo dos Santos maintains a good if not intimate relationship with the FNLA and its founder leader. In peaceful coexistence with the government, FNLA with its elites considers itself as an opposition political party. With this overview of the FNLA we turn to the MPLA background.
4.2.2. The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA)
According to Raph Uwechue et al, in December 1956 a new organization, the MPLA, was formed (op.cit.: 263). It fused many other movements, namely the Association of the natives of
Angola (ANANGOLA), the first Angolan league formed after 1913; the Communist Political
Party founded in October 1956, and the African Political Party for the Liberation of Angola or
Partido de Luta dos Africana de Angola (PLAA). The MPLA maintained a wide vision, that of incorporating all Angolans for the freedom of the whole country: Zegeye, Abebe, Dixon et al remark that “The MPLA was inclusive from the beginning as it consisted of whites mestizos and assimulados, the latter largely of Kimbundu origin” (Op.cit.: 4-5). www.EBSCOhost
Confusion with the MPLA is found in some sources regarding the name of Partido da Luta dos
Africanos de Angola (Party of African Combatants in Angola) which some abbreviate as “PLAA” and others as “PLUA”. MPLA had a long history because of its cosmopolitan and inclusive vision. Dr. Agostinho Neto after his return from Portugal became chairman of the MPLA, becoming well-known as a reformer of the political party (Zegeye et al ibid: 6). With courage
92 and enthusiasm he worked hard to liberate Angola from the Portuguese policies, which led to his first arrest in June 1960 (Raph Uwechue et al op.cit: 264). This event led to the first revolts in Luanda and elsewhere against the Portuguese because not only Dr. Neto but also other
Angolans were frequently arrested and abused by the Portuguese who responded with harsh violence and killed many people. Zegeye et al record that:
After Neto’s arrest in June 1960, there was an incident of unnamed protesters being gunned down by the police, but the first real armed uprising was among Kimbundu cotton farmers in Malange province about 400 miles South–east of Luanda. Peasants attacked Portuguese livestock and property as a result of falling cotton prices, but abstained from attacking settlers. The Portuguese response was brutal, killing some
7,000 Africans as a result. The Luanda uprising of February 1961captured the world attention as hundreds of Africans attacked the city’s prison with knives and clubs trying to free militants about to be deported (op. cit: 6-7).
As Lawrence W. Henderson wrote, confirming what Raph Uwechue et al said above: “Dr
Agostinho Neto was elected president of the MPLA at the first National Conference held in
Leopoldville in December 1962” (Op. cit.: 165): this first conference gave birth to the new structure of the GRAE. Dr. Agostinho Neto’s history of imprisonment looks quite like Mandela’s history in South Africa, from prison to the presidency of South Africa. Dr. Neto’s imprisonment caused him to be famous among all Angolans as our first president. It is his experience of prison which led him to Congo for his own security. Duncan Clarke confirms his heroic status
It is also important to recall the strong links of the MPLA with many intellectuals in the capital city and other urban centres (Legum op.cit.: 10). This is the key to the success of the MPLA’s strategy. The next movement to be discussed is UNITA.
4.2.3. The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA)
Jonas Savimbi founded the Uniao Nacional pela Independencia Total de Angola (UNITA) a decade after the MPLA and FNLA had already become active in the struggle for Angolan freedom, where he was a member of the FNLA. Jonas Savimbi saw the weakness of both
93 movements and developed a new ideology to create his own political party, withdrawing from the FNLA where he had held an important strategic position in the Revolutionary Government in Exile (GRAE) and within the party as General Secretary. Duncan Clarke writes:
In October 1965, he persuaded President Kaunda to invite Roberto and Neto to
Lusaka for discussions on a common front. They declined. In March 1966 Savimbi crossed the border into Angola to gather with 67 others at Muangai in Moxico district.
This was the culmination of months of preparations, culminating between 5 and 25
March in the establishment of the Uniao Nacional para a IndependenciaTotal de
Angola (UNITA) (op. cit: 53).
Jonas Savimbi held his followers’ attention in the meeting he held when UNITA was founded.
Lawrence W. Henderson reports Savimbi’s words:
Only the Angola [sic] people within the country is capable of freeing itself from foreign domination…the MPLA only includes representatives of the Kimbundus [sic]. GRAE only contains Kikongos [sic]. These two parties together still leave outside the political struggle more than half of the population…It is necessary that a new political formation representing other Angola forces should be constituted (opcit: 207).
Hence he founded UNITA; he only devoted his attention to some particular individuals and some Angolans, the Ovimbudu majority. The FNLA whose activities were more intense in the
Democratic Republic of Congo and in the diaspora was criticized by Savimbi for not being able to liberate Angola from colonial forces. He also criticized MPLA for its pro-communist ideology and for having whites within its members. Another important event, which should be kept in mind, is his disappointment at not really being accepted by African and European leaders.
However he noticed that the two strong military movements were antagonists and attempted to play the game of reconciling them through the Zambian president. His position as foreign minister in the GRAE gave him the opening to be in contact with other world leaders since he enjoyed a close relationship with Roberto with whom he travelled to the United Nations General
Assembly in 1962 (Clarke op. cit: 51). And meeting some Angolan students in the diaspora influenced the Uniao Nacional dos Estudentes Angolanos (UNEA = National Union of Angolan
Students) there whose members were already disappointed by the MPLA’s and FNLA’s mutual destruction (Lawrence W. Henderson op. cit.: 206).
Jonas Savimbi was intelligent and could see the window of opportunity. We also appreciate his initiative in initially inviting the powerful parties, intending to end the Angolan civil war.
Unfortunately the situation worsened. The United States stranglehold on UNITA began in 1979 after Neto’s death: “Savimbi gained most publicity on his trip with his allegation that 1,300
Angolan schoolchildren had been sent to Cuba without their parents’ approval” (Bridgland:
287/8): this followed his appeal to the US to fight against the Soviet Union. From this background we shall move to the independence struggle which ended in the destruction of ourselves and the infrastructure.
4.2.4. Independence and Civil war
The civil war preceded independence and continued for three decades after its proclamation on
11 November 1975, waged simultaneously by the three main political parties in three different places: MPLA in Luanda, FNLA in Kinshasa and UNITA in Huambo. Lawrence W. Henderson describes this as follows:
When the MPLA declared the independence of the People’s Republic of Angola (PRA) in Luanda on November 11, 1975, the excluded parties, FNLA and UNITA, made separate declarations of independence, then formed a coalition government of the
Democratic People’s Republic of Angola (DPRA) with its capital in Huambo (op. cit:
Tony Hodges records that the “OAU Resolution on the Situation in Angola 12
Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, Kampala, Uganda, 28 July – 1
August 1975” (1976:65) had a positive impact and reveals efforts at conciliation among the liberation movements but unfortunately there was no willingness to become one movement. As
Raph Uwechue et al report, formal talks between the Portuguese Government and the three liberation movements on the establishment of a provisional government opened in Alvor in
Algarve in southern Portugal on January 10 1975. The FNLA delegation was led by Roberto, Dr
Neto led the MPLA and Dr Savimbi headed UNITA (Op. cit: 268).
The Alvor agreement should be considered as pressure by blacks on the Portuguese who wished to maintain their domination. As Zegeye Abebe, Dixon et al observed, on 15 January the delegates signed an agreement (opcit: 9). The Alvor agreement shows the strategy of the
Portuguese in first trying to unite all the three main liberation movements in the transitional government. Here all three leaders were co-presidents and candidates for the democratic election which would end the transitional government, which included the Portuguese.
Henderson and Raph Uwechue et al provide the names of members of the transitional
Government (op. cit: 245 & 268) from which it is evident that though the Portuguese did not seem to have many portfolios the strategic ministries were in their hands: the Economy,
Transport; Communications; Public Functions or Public Works, Housing and Urbanization.
They did not even consider training a black person to take over, but on the contrary took advantage. Hence amongst our national leaders the Alvor agreement, which should have helped to enhance peace, unfortunately created even more hostilities and division than peace and unity. The FNLA and MPLA’s electoral campaigns mutually denigrated each other (Raph
Uwechue et al, op. cit: 269).
Dr. Neto strategically arrived first in Luanda: when he was arrested the people revolted against the Portuguese. He was optimistic about his own victory. The FNLA leader, Holden Roberto, warned against the dangers of ‘people’s power’. He said that this led to a people’s dictatorship and that the population of Angola, which is Christian, actively rejected Communism (ibid: 269).
In its efforts to penetrate the interior of Angola FNLA clashed with the MPLA which was broking, with the Portuguese, all access to Angola for exiled politicians. The FNLA was often subject to attack by the MPLA who alleged it was “a group of gangsters, of xenophobes, of racists, and … anthropophagi” (Teca, op.cit.: 27). Violence erupted when the FNLA prevented the MPLA from entering Luanda. As Zegeye, Abebe, Dixon et al recorded, “the real opening salvo of the savage war between the FNLA and MPLA occurred in Caxito” (Op. cit: 10).
The transitional government survived only a month because of the fighting between the MPLA and FNLA. which cost 20,000 Angolan lives in the capital alone (Colin Legum op. cit: 13).
The question is: why could FNLA not peacefully negotiate this since the movements were all recognized as leaders of the future independent Angola? The executive director of the Inter
Ecclesial Committee for Peace in Angola (COIEPA), Daniel Ntoni Nzinga, in his critical analysis
96 of all such agreements, indicated that the Alvor agreement represented the frustrated birth of the Angolan Nation because peace was mixed with violence; the Alvor agreement was the elusive rebirth of the nation where peace without justice had been shared by a shadow of agreement and Lusaka was another failed opportunity, where democrats were themselves injured (Luanda 2006).
We will return to this document; we also have to view the MPLA faction as causing a serious problem among liberation movements. Chipenda’s MPLA faction, which affiliated itself to FNLA, should be taken into account as one of the weaknesses of Angolan politics, together with
Portuguese manipulation (Daniel Ntoni Nzinga 2006:4). In addition the Cabinda enclave issue arose also at the same time; all these events created tension between the two powerful armed political parties. According to Raph Uwechue et al:
On February 13 1975, forces of the three liberation movements and the Portuguese armies occupied the offices in Luanda of the breakaway ‘ Eastern Revolt’ faction of the
MPLA, led by Chipenda. The occupation followed a shoot-out between members of the faction and the official MPLA… Chipenda announced in Kinshasa that he had merged the military with FNLA. The Cabinda Liberation Front (FLEC), headed by Luis Ranque
Franque, announced in Kinshasa on February 22 1975 that it would welcome negotiation leading to separate independence from Portugal for the enclave (op. cit:
In all these events the circular conflicts FNLA – MPLA, MPLA – UNITA and the FLEC issue in
Cabinda are evident. The latter, after weak and exclusive negotiations, led to the new memorandum signed in the province of Namibe on 01 August 2006, which is being contested by FLEC. Colin Legum records the tension between the MPLA, the FNLA and their allies:
Understandably suspicious of Mobutu’s aims, the MPLA began to stockpile arms; these began to reach them from Russia and Yugoslavia from before March
1975…Neto at once charged FNLA with ignoring the provisions of the Nakuru
Agreement, while FNLA reacted by accusing MPLA (with complete justification) of seeking arms from Russia and recruiting the former Katangese gendarmerie (op. cit:
The severity of the MPLA – FNLA tension caused the OAU to seek how to reconcile both groups; the FNLA at that period was the most influential party as they had already formed the
Council Supreme for the Liberation of Angola (CSLA) while the Soviet Union did not at all agree with the OAU concerning the fact that the Chinese and Koreans were in favour of FNLA, so the
Soviet Union challenged the OAU by defending the case of MPLA (Colin Legum ibid: 17).
With Soviet support and sophisticated arms as well as the presence of the Cubans recruited by the Soviet Union, the MPLA no longer needed to consider reconciliation. Colin Legum describes the result:
In June the barely viable political situation collapsed entirely, leaving the country in two armed camps. Responsibility for this further deterioration – and about this there can be no reasonable doubt – belongs to MPLA, which deliberately extended the struggle between itself and what it saw as Zaire’s proxy, FNLA, to include armed attacks on
UNITA as well. (Op. cit: 14).
In the early struggle among the Angolan liberation movements South Africa was not involved, only the Cuban mercenaries on behalf of Russia, the MPLA’s supporters, and the Chinese and
Zairean FNLA supporters. But when UNITA was included in the conflict by the MPLA who attacked its offices, UNITA and FNLA agreed to contact the apartheid regime of the South
Africa as Colin Legum confirms: “It was at this stage – July 1975 that Holden authorized Daniel
Chipenda to go to Namibia for talks with the SA chief of the Bureau of State Security (BOSS) to enlist the republic’s military force” (ibid: 14). The situation immediately worsened, leading to destruction of infra-structure, economy and people; as Savimbi quoted by Legum said: “when elephants battle, grass suffers” (ibid: 15). We, the Angolans, were like that grass and we suffered in many terrible ways. For instance, see Raph Uwechue et al (op. cit: 270) or
Comerford’s view: “Experts extimate [sic] that there are over ten million landmines in Angola – just about one for every citizen” (2005: 18) and the economy was destroyed.
There were mutual allegations, a lack of mutual acceptance and each movement justified itself.
The struggle between MPLA and UNITA saw three agreements which characterised that period of civil war: The Bicesse peace accords, 24-25 April 1990; the Lusaka Protocol in 1994, and the Luena Memorandum on 4 April 2002. Why in spite of three agreements did the struggle continue until 2002? The Bicesse accords succeeded in leading to the democratic election in
1992, the result of which was contested by Jonas Savimbi. The triumphalism of the MPLA did not help matters. As Comerford reveals, the MPLA gained victory in the National Assembly with
53.7% of voters against UNITA who gained 34% of the votes while other parties obtained 12%; in the presidential election 49.6% voted for president Jose Eduardo dos Santos against Jonas
Malheiro Savimbi with 40.1% (Comerford op. cit: 10). Further:
For Anstee (1996:534), ‘the winner take all’ concept [was not] helpful in consolidating the smooth transition to democratic government’. Efforts had been made to secure a role for losers of the elections during the Bicesse negotiations but ‘neither of the combatants wanted to hear of it; each was bent on nothing less than total victory’
(1996:534). Opposition parties had in fact argued for a period of transition to normalise political life in the country. (Comerford, Ibid: 13).
The first accord was the Portuguese Government’s initiative but this time, the United Nations played an important role. It is important to say that really our history was not in secure hands and we were pushed here and there by ‘helpers’ without taking a firm stand ourselves. As
Michael G. Comerford records:
Talks initially took place in Namibe, a coastal town in southern Angola, then in Addis
Ababa, before they broke down completely in Abidjan. With the appointment of the new
UN Special Representative, Alioune Blondin Beye, new peace talks in Lusaka lasting over a year finally bore fruit in the November 1994 Lusaka Protocol (ibid: 15).
The Lusaka Protocol led the country during the period of the establishment of the Governo da
Unidade e Reconciliacão Nacional (GURN = United Government for the National
Reconciliation) in 1996. Both agreements, it seems, did not fail in themselves, but only because there was a lack of trust and discipline to understand and apply the documents. Alioune
Blondin Beye became in Angola and Africa an important figure, being an excellent mediator: unfortunately his blood was shed for the cause of Angola. Michael G Comerford confirms this:
“Beye showed remarkable tolerance in his dealings with both sides, and worked tirelessly to foster trust and understanding… However, his untimely death in a plane crash in the Abidjan on
26 June 1998 hastened the resumption of military conflict” (op. cit: 16).
0n 11 November 1998, in an ecumenical service which was graced by the presence of the president of the republic and distinguished embassies and international figures, Alioune
Blondin Beye was remembered. Fernando Octavio, chairman of the Evangelical Alliance in
Angola, commented on Beye’s death that it was a loss not only to Angola but rather to the international community (sermon 1998).
A retrospective view of Angolan history reveals that the Angolan civil war was one between the world’s political ideologies and most powerful nations. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO)’s alliance with Portugal played a certain role in Angolan history since it seems that it provoked Russian intervention. Jakkie Cilliers used the term proxy for describing the civil war in
What had started as off as a liberation war against Portuguese colonialism during the sixties, gained many of the characteristics of a proxy war between the former Soviet
Union and Cuba on the one side and the United States in an uncomfortable alliance with apartheid South Africa on the other (2000: 1; see also Michael G. Comerford op. cit: 10).
Hence it is accurate to say that the Angolan conflict was a miniature “world’ war” as the
Background Notes on Countries of the World confirms: “the MPLA’s importation of Cuban troops in November effectively internationalized the conflict” (2005: 4) www.EBSCOhost
Angolans were scattered everywhere in the world as refugees, Raph Uwechue et al estimated approximately 806,000 Angolan refugees: about 5,000 refugees in Zambia, about 800,000 in
Zaire and about 1,600 in the South (op. cit: 274). Many cease-fire agreements between the three liberation movements took place but were ineffective. GURN was a sound initiative but unfortunately the UNITA leader was not totally convinced. Eventually after many processes of peace and dialogue among Angolans led by church leaders and international intervention, and after the death of many people, came the Luena memorandum. Michael G. Comerford points out:
The death of Jonas Savimbi on 22 February 2002 transformed the political landscape of Angola and created new possibilities for peace. Events moved quickly in the weeks following his death. A ceasefire came into effect at midnight on 13 March as part of a fifteen-point peace plan announced by Government. This plan dealt with issues such
100 as the demilitarisation of UNITA and its reconstitution as a legitimate political party, a general amnesty to promote national reconciliation, the extension of state administration over the whole country, the approval of a new constitution and voter registration prior to holding elections, and the promotion of tolerance and forgiveness.
On 4 April 2002 the Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Luena by the government’s armed forces, known as FAA (Forcas Armadas Angolanas), and
UNITA’s military leadership. (Op. cit: 17).
It is very important to notice how the long-awaited event seemed to be a kairos moment, a time of opportunity. Daniel Ntoni Nzinga in his critical analysis of the agreement called it: “Peace and dignity (Luena): Courage of common hope” (opcit: 2006:1). Here lies our concern in undertaking a comparative study of the TRC and the peace created in Angola through the
Luena Memorandum. There are many resemblances in spite of some divergences. The concern of the research is to establish how amnesty could be offered mutually. It is now time to clean the house. It is important to compare the death of Dr. Agostinho Neto to that of Jonas
Savimbi since both opened new opportunities in Angolan history. The first president’s death should be seen as one of the events which accelerated the civil war, yet violence on the other hand led to liberty. The death of Savimbi should also be regarded as an important event for peace in Angola but on the other hand led to many people being suspicious about the future.
The present research revealed that the death of the first Angolan president, Dr Agostinho Neto, should be seen as a new departure and new escalating of civil war in the Angolan history because the Marxist-Leninist ideology “adopted in October 1976” (Marek Garztecki 2006: 52) would have wiped out Christianity within Angola within fifty years (Schubert quoted by
Comerford 2005:23). Why did death visit Neto? Raph Uwechue et al explain that he “died of cancer on September 10 1979 in the USSR where he had gone to receive specialist treatment.
The funeral, which took place on September 17, President Neto’s 57 th
birthday, was attended by the presidents of many African and East European countries and by delegations from Cuba,
Portugal and African Liberation movements” (ibid: 280).
For deeply thinking Christians cancer seems not to have been the only reason for his death.
Did God want to take him from the scene? they asked. Be that as it may, we have to say that the newly independent country was really affected by his death. It gave freedom to Christians to continue their prophetic and socio-political mission. Before his death, Bibles had been
101 burned publicly, Christians were in danger when performing their duties and many religious persons fled the country.
We cannot underestimate Neto’s love and endeavour for Angola: his death needed further investigation, as Bridgland remarked: “Savimbi himself speculated that Neto had been killed on the operating table”; even the MPLA was sufficiently disturbed to set up a commission of inquiry (op. cit: 282). Such a commission would be a work of the national reconciliation process. At the same time political opposition parties thought it was time to take power. Hence violence increased. After Neto’s death, fortunately the MPLA government was recognized as the Angolan government by the OAU and many other countries (Jose E. Dos Santos & Jean
Pailler 2000:71). He was younger than both Holden and Jonas Savimbi. The Government under Dos Santos’ leadership opposed FNLA by undertaking bold strategies, as had Neto, in building relationships with the leaders of African countries, which led to the decline of the
FNLA. When Holden was expelled from Congo and refugees departed into Angola FNLA military activity decreased. Raph Uwechue et al inform one that “In July 1980 Mobutu and dos
Santos noted with satisfaction the progress in repatriation of refugees and improvement in security on their joint border…. Zaire and Angola exchanged ambassadors in January 1981”
Holden Roberto and his political party have been reconciled with MPLA and with all Angolans, but UNITA walked on its own path, which caused much damage to the country. Let us discuss the role of the churches during the three decades of civil war; and the mediation they promoted between UNITA and the Government.
4.3. The Role of the Churches during the Civil War
The churches in Angola, as the voice of the voiceless, played an important double role during the three decades, both an evil one and, as the mystic body of Christ in their divine nature, the churches awakened to and combated evil and their members become some of the victims of the civil war. How had the churches been used to serve as an instrument to sustain the evil in
Angola? And how were they awakened? Such questions led us to consult documents and the findings of the interviews helped us. Michael G. Comerford offered a key observation on the role of the churches in Angola:
A number of important works examined the role of the churches prior to the signing of the Bicesse Accords. The most significant of these is Schubert (2000), but others include Grenfell (1998), Henderson (1978, 1990) and Péclard (1998). These have outlined the relationship between the nationalist parties and the three main Protestant churches, and the relationship of the colonial power to the Catholic Church. The three main Protestant Churches, namely Methodist, Baptist and Congregationalist, were birthing places for the three main nationalist parties, namely MPLA, FNLA and UNITA respectively. (Op. cit: 22).
Research revealed that Savimbi in his struggle kidnapped and victimized pastors and priests, but Brindgland witnesses to what he heard from Savimbi: “I also find time to visit our
Protestants and Catholics churches in the bush. We have many ministers and priests with us”
(op. cit.: 286). With this clear observation in mind we sent a questionnaire to church leaders in
Angola, wishing to know: Did the churches suffer during the civil war? What happened? Were the churches involved in the civil war; if so how? Did the churches contribute to resolving the conflict? Do the churches need reconciliation? Did the Luena Memorandum lead to national reconciliation? If so, how, and if not what should be done to lead the nation into national reconciliation? We had the opportunity to visit these leaders during a period of two weeks.
We have already said something about the Catholic Church in colonial times (see Lawrence W.
Henderson and Michael G. Comerford above). But we have to consider the actual effect of the role this Church played regarding peace in Angola for which Archbishop Zacharias Kamwenho was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace. The formation of the inter-ecclesial committee for peace in Angola (COIEPA) gave a new force to the ecumenical struggle against the civil war in
Angola even though the government considered this structure as a stumbling-block. Michael G.
Comerford made the observation that: “within Angola, ironically, COIEPA remained relatively unknown” (op. cit.: 56): this raises the question, unknown to whom? COIEPA stays an important ecumenical sodality for the Church of Christ in Angola. It is true that some leaders feel COIEPA should close its doors because the civil war is over and it is no longer necessary to maintain such a structure. But this view does not hold for those who think that the churches should help to achieve the national reconciliation seen as the goal for the future.
It is now important to see how the churches turned from the negative actions of influencing and sustaining the war, to the struggle with a new ecumenical vision which inspires fear in those for whom it is a dangerous structure. Were the churches aware of their negative impact during the civil war? This question will be answered in the particular case of each church. We shall discuss the main organizations of the churches: CICA and AEA Protestant councils of churches in Angola; the Roman Catholic Church in Angola; and of independent churches, instead of denominations, which calls for some explanations in particular cases.
4.3.1. The Roman Catholic Church
On the two occasions we visited leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Luanda we could not really sit and talk for many reasons, but they suggested a dialogue with the retired Bishop Dom
Marcos, who enlightened us, and documents we were given also helped to summarize what follows. It is important to record that the Roman Catholic Church was the first to be implanted in
Angola in the 15 th
century but that the first Christians were swept away. LaTourette wrote: “The area embraced in Angola had been the scene of some of the most spectacularly successful of the Roman Catholic missions of the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries” (1970:398).
Groves, referred to above, recorded that in 1491 the king of Kongo had received the missionaries and been baptized (1954:245), which indicates the long history of this Church in
Angola. David L. Edwards recorded: “In Congo the first Christian king was baptized by
Portuguese in 1471 and the last beheaded by them in 1665” (1997:534). The Capuchins are held to have been the first Roman Catholic missionaries as Groves and LaTourette record.
Henderson refers to the decline of Christian missions: “By 1615 most of the traces of Christian life disappeared” (op. cit: 81).
A second wave of evangelisation saw many mission-stations being founded from 1874 until
2006. This evangelisation went hand in hand with colonization: the church as a sinful community demonstrated its weakness by cooperating with the state, discriminating instead of showing love. In so doing the church hurt God and closed its ears and eyes, not to hear and see what God wanted for Angola and its inhabitants. Roman Catholicism was instituted as the
“state religion” (as mentioned above by Henderson (op. cit: 146). As the second power of the country after the state it enjoyed many privileges, such as wielding authority over the basics of the national education system. The Catholic Church played an influential role in the colonial period, “civilizing” Angolans by means of education and being partisan towards the slave trade.
According to Lawrence W. Henderson Catholics had a double mission: to spread Catholic
Christianity and Portuguese nationalism (op. cit.: 112). As Angola was a Catholic country,
Protestants and independent churches could only penetrate it with many difficulties. As
Lawrence W. Henderson wrote: “Portuguese colonial officials feared the denationalizing influence of these protestant foreign missions, which seemed more affluent than the Catholic missions” (Ibid: 113).
When the liberation movements arose and Portuguese dynasty declined the Roman Catholics still possessed privileges but experienced disappointment when the MPLA opted for Leninism, abhorring religion and destroying its infra-structures, killing members; then the Roman
Catholics took a stand and challenged the state. It is an old institution and with great influence due to its numbers, 75% of the 12,127,071 of the population, according to recent statistics in
The future begins now (2000:19). According to the Background document (2002:3) Catholics played an important role for the voiceless and helped all the nation to reach the position where it is today. However, are there some facts which show that Catholics suffered from the civil war? How did they act to resolve conflict during this war? One may answer in the affirmative.
During the colonial period the Catholic Church was a partner of the Portuguese police; the same was the case with the churches and the national liberation movements. Michael G.
Comerford reveals that the Methodists supported MPLA but he and Mateus add that “some of the Protestant churches were not involved in the independence struggle while many Catholics supported the MPLA, FNLA and GRAE” (op. cit.: 22). How could the same Church be divided by supporting two political parties? It should be understood that the Catholics stemmed from two different countries: those from Congo supported the FNLA and GRAE while the Catholics in Angola, Luanda in particular, supported the MPLA’s policy in the beginning but as things changed they also suffered and began to oppose the MPLA. The Protestants in the Conselho de Igrejas Cristas em Angola (CICA = Council of Christian Churches in Angola) and the
Alliance of Evangelicals in Angola (AEA) were too timid to pronounce such statements on behalf of the suffering people, most of whom were members; the Catholic Church first took the risk of challenging the state. Schubert quoted by Comerford confirms this:
This is especially relevant in the case of AEA which had seen political involvement as a betrayal of its Christian mission, and it was rare for either AEA or CICA during the postindependent period to Bicesse to make public pronouncements on peace (2000:157,
207). Church-based public sphere discourse came primarily from CEAST during those
105 years, and CEAST, through the Africanisation of its leadership, had significantly transformed itself from its collaborator image (Schubert 2000:130) (2005:27).
Churches should normally be ready to proclaim the gospel of freedom which Christ asked us to proclaim. But this was not always the case in Angola until the churches themselves began to suffer. If the Roman Catholics had not lost their cathedral in Kuito and members and privileges they might have continued with their assimilating mission without exhibiting compassion for people (Comerford, ibid: 29).
Eventually the “Pro-Peace” occasion, one of CEAST’s events for peace in Angola held in 2000, took place, echoed in Comerford’s comments: he wrote that it brought together representatives of the Angolan government and many other role-players, creating space for political, civil and religious actors to discuss peace collectively (CEAST [Episcopal Conference of Angola and
Sao Tome] 2001c).The congress resolutions called for a spirit of democracy (No. 1); greater tolerance (No. 2); human rights education as part of the school curriculum (No. 6); action against landmines (No. 7); a ceasefire (No. 8) as a first step towards peace and the establishment of some form of permanent dialogue between :the most representative levels of civil society, such as the churches, political parties and other institutions’ (No. 9). (Op. cit: 57/8).
Seeking how to achieve peace in Angola, CEAST’s position against the “criminal war” in
Angola emphasized its divergence from the Angolan government. Comerford confirms that this
“raises serious questions about how CEAST viewed the state, and its understanding of the legitimate use of force by nation states” (ibid:51).
Common marches were organized as were ecumenical services and all kinds of actions to call attention to the government as well as to UNITA. Comerford wrote: “At different stages in the
Angola conflict various churches made offers to mediate. The earliest such offer in the literature came from CEAST (1986:131) in February 1986, but fell on deaf ears” (ibid: 60). It is important to remember how God wants the church to be present in all sectors of humanity. The sociopolitical context is not a reserved domain where church leaders cannot enter. If they do not they are betraying the Lord’s command, of setting free the captives and taking care of his flock.
The present Catholic commitment to socio-political issues should be understood as good patriotism and nationalism encouraging citizens’ engagement. Their Radio Ecclesia in Luanda, called radio confianca (trustworthy radio), is one such structure (Bishop Dom Marcos, Luanda
11- 09 - 2006). Before we close this section it is important to see how church leaders made contact with the Government and the opposition so as to foster peace. According to
Comerford, after Gbadolite, Becesse, Lusaka, and before the Luena agreements the churches generally advised political actors. When the elections in 1992 led to systematic ethnic killing in
Luanda the Catholics reacted. The situation was summarised by Comerford:
Thousands of people were killed across the country, and there was much destruction of national infrastructure (CEAST 1993:301). The majority of those killed in Luanda were Ovimbundu people suspected of being UNITA sympathisers. A second wave of violence swept Luanda in February 1993, directed against the Bakongo people from northern Angola, many of whom had previously lived in the DRC (CEAST 1993:301).
The attacks were triggered by rumours that the DRC was involved in the war on the side of UNITA, which brought suspicion to bear on Bakongo people living in Luanda
This was the Angolan prelude to Rwanda’s genocide. Here the churches were not implicated but to some degree their members were. Many guns were carried by the civil population in
Luanda for self-defence. The Catholics condemned such behaviour and condemned the media which were used (and are still being deployed) as an instrument of division (Comerford
2005:43). Angolans today insult each other by the pejoratives ‘langa-langa’ (insult to Angolans returning from DRC, considered as false Angolans) and ‘chungura’ (an epithet applied to those who consider themselves as genuine Angolans). We will return to this issue in the next chapter.
Of note here is the correspondence between Savimbi and the Catholics, quoted by Comerford:
I write…about the great challenge for peace (through dialogue). I also write to actively encourage you to participate in this difficult task which the present moment bestows on us…We would like to see COIEPA and Pro Pace initiative to move forward. We believe they have an historical and relevant role to offer the Angolan people, providing incentives for reconciliation (Savimbi 2001).
Comerford noted that Savimbi wished for the churches’ support “but did not request church mediation” (op.cit: 60); furthermore Comerford reveals the Catholic response to Savimbi:
In the name of Christ and of the suffering Angolan people, we ask the president and the leader of UNITA to meet in a neutral place with the view to dialogue on the ending of war and the future of the nation. The Church gladly offers its help in finding a convenient location, as well as competent and acceptable facilitation for such dialogue
(CEAST 2001a) (Ibid: 2005:61).
It is interesting to see how the Roman Catholics’ role altered, to a prophetic and socio-political one. We now consider the Protestants.
4.3.2. The Protestant Churches
If in colonial times the Roman Catholic Church was the privileged church, during the growth of nationalism and liberation the Protestant churches involved themselves in the political sector.
Two facts demonstrate this: firstly, all the political parties’ leaders were Protestants. FNLA’s leader Roberto is a member of the Baptists and was not only supported by them but also by all
Protestant churches; e.g. the Reformed Church and others stemming from Congo were his principal supporters. Rev. Rui Nafilo, the leader of Igreja Evengelica Basptista de Angola
(IEBA= Evangelical Baptist Church in Angola) informed me of this during our interview (13-09-
2006). President Agustino Neto was “the son of a Methodist pastor and studied medicine with a scholarship from the Methodist Church” according to Henderson (op. cit.: 221) while Jonas
Savimbi was the son of a catechist in the Protestant Congregational Church (Henderson ibid:
205). Fred Bridgland reports Savimbi as saying: “Religion is part of my life. It is something I was brought up with, so I cannot do away with it: ‘my father was a Protestant Pastor” (op. cit:
286). The second fact is that many members of the churches were promoted to positions of responsibility in various political parties. Henderson confirms that the Rev. Domingos da
Silvas, a Methodist minister, was vice-president of the MPLA, and Deolinda Rodrigues de
Almeida, a cousin of Neto and also a Methodist Crusade scholar, held several important posts in the party (Ibid: 222).
Worship in that time offered urgent intercession for the liberation of Angola by the political parties with which the churches were linked. I remember my own experience within the Baptist
Church in Congo where the Association of Angolan Christians (ASCA) was formed. We sang for the liberation of Angola, weeping when singing in Kikongo: “Mwamu Nsi a Kinzenza
Tuzungininanga” (Here in the foreign land we are wandering). Details regarding FNLA were well known because our brothers were there as fighters for the nation. Public meetings were held so that we were well informed though I have never been a member of a particular political party. In Luanda Rev. Chipesse recognized that Savimbi was a son of the Congregational denomination and that some of its leaders were Unita’s partisans. In his opinion churches cannot be understood as being apolitical; on the contrary they should be active in politics (14-
09-2006). We shall show that the Angolan civil war was partly a consequence of the failure of
Protestant education. However we are encouraged by the Protestant education solidly entrenched in Nelson Mandela as it should be revealed that he is a Methodist (Tony Stone
2006:1 in Dimension volume 36 No. 11).
The present section will explore how Protestantism shifted its stance on political issues, to assist in resolving the political tensions between the government and Unita. We shall not give more attention to denominationalism as such. Here we look at the councils of churches, CICA and AEA, where the Protestants are a diversified body yet harmoniously work together. As background it is important to remember that the Protestant mission comprised the second wave of African Evangelisation from 1878 (Douglas L. Wheeler 1972:72).
According to Henderson: “By 1920, nine Protestant Mission societies based in the United
States, Canada, Great Britain, Switzerland, and Germany had established thirty-five mission stations all across Angola” (op. cit.: 113). From these stemmed the Protestant modalities or local churches such as the Baptist, Methodist, Congregational, Mennonite, Reformed,
Presbyterian and others. The Baptist mission appears to have been the first in 1878
(LaTourette 1970:398) followed by the Methodist mission established in 1884 – 1885 (Nolan
1974: 109), its founding being motivated by the appointment of William Taylor as the African
Bishop; he visited Luanda in 1885 (cf. also LaTourette op. cit.: 398). The Congregational church arrived from Canada in 1886 (ibid: 398).
The churches’ conference, ‘Edica’, in 1995, organized by CICA and AEA, in which political leaders and diplomatic delegates took part, is a good example of Protestantism searching for peace in Angola and being politically engaged. Comerford’s comment on Edica outlined four shifts in Protestant policy. Firstly, encouraging members to be involved in any political party if its resolutions do not compromise their faith. Secondly, the Christian leaders could not establish political parties but would influence the political parties where their members should
109 be active members. We remember Reverend Chipesse’s remark that churches cannot be regarded as apolitical (Luanda, 14/09/06). Thirdly, Protestants took note of the political parties’ statements, acknowledging that Christians and their leaders should influence their parties’ opinions. And fourthly, the churches are not by any means political parties but rather have to transcend them (Comerford 2005:47). Even before Edica, AEA and CICA had submitted their opinion in favour of democratisation in 1990 during the third MPLA congress (Ibid: 27). Let us consider the councils of Protestants churches’ interventions in the Angolan civil war.
126.96.36.199 Evangelical Alliance in Angola (AEA)
The Evangelical Alliance has a long history within Angola. This second branch of Protestantism comprises some churches whose basic stance is to remain separate from all other Christians whom they consider as syncretistic if they are not orthodox. They are conservative, are influenced by western theology and are linked to the World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF). In the case of the Angolan Evangelicals, in spite of their point of view concerning social and political engagement in the Angolan context, they were forced to become involved, because as we said above the civil war did not spare any sector of social life. Their intervention in the social and political sphere was a shift in policy which some members considered as a betrayal of their conviction of faith. Yet God allows some circumstances just to force us to react according to his will. It is amazing to see and hear the AEA’s political pronouncements. We have already referred to the ecumenical service in 1998 where Octavio Fernando preached on giving to
Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s (Matt. 22: 21). As a response to political attacks on the Christian’s engagement in the socio-politic context he said: “What has Caesar that does not belong to God when himself [Caesar] is in God’s hands?” (Octavio’s sermon
The dawning democratisation in Angola offered an opportunity to Protestants to express their opinion as patriotic democrats regarding the better management of the future. Yet in public issues where Angolans now have freedom to express their opinion as long as they respect others, some leaders with long experience of the status quo are still not speaking out about abuses. Comerford pointed out that for the AEA (1991:2) the change to multiparty democracy required the involvement of every Angolan to promote reconciliation (ibid: 32). When the civil war escalated after the 1992 election the churches drew the political leaders’ attention to the
110 need for dialogue. The former knew that after the election result Angola might again be in trouble and AEA encouraged the political parties to adopt a reconciliatory posture after the election (Comerford ibid: 33).
As noted above, the Evangelical Alliance in Angola condemned the intolerant language in the media (Comerford op.cit: 35). The new leader of the Alliance was delighted about the present research on national reconciliation but unfortunately could not be interviewed for he was already on his way to Lubango.
188.8.131.52. The Christian Council of Churches of Angola (CICA)
The Council of Christian Churches is an ecumenical institution founded in 1977 (CEDER 2004) which is the most influential Protestant council of churches in Angola, linked with the World
Council of Churches (WCC). With its ecumenical wing incorporating all Christian churches, even some independent churches, this inclusion seems questionable to some evangelicals.
According to Comerford CICA perceived two dimensions to the civil war in Angola: external and internal, and saw three main reasons why the war was being sustained: externally, the involvement of foreigners as in the case of South Africa. CICA desired Namibia’s independence, which would cut off the South African support of Unita, and requested the neighbouring countries to put an end to the policy of militarisation and destabilisation in the
Angolan territory (opcit: 29). Internally, CICA pointed to the lack of unity among Angolans, the consequence of the colonial strategy of “divide and rule” and ethnocentric evangelism. In
CICA was specially critical of the manner in which foreign missionaries conducted evangelisation, standing that it reinforced ethnic and tribal divides. … Baptists worked among the Bakongo, Methodists among Ambundu, Presbyterians and
Congregationalists among the Ovimbundu, Lutherans among Kwanhama, and
Pentecostals and Evangelicals among others (op. cit: 30).
CICA requested demilitarisation as the “cornerstone” of democratisation, the formation of a single army and a free and fair election (ibid: 35). I interviewed Rev. Luis Ngimbi who showed me that CICA is really a voice of the voiceless, as the documents he gave me reveal. For
111 instance in the 51 st
meeting of the Executive Committee the minutes record approval of the negotiations between the government and the Cabindian Forum to reduce the conflict in that province. However, the government was urged to seek to include within the dialogue the voices of all parties in order to constitute an inclusive and extensive solution (CICA in Luanda, 6 to 7
It is valuable to see how a paradigm shift in Angolan Protestantism is taking place, with theologians perceiving that the political sphere is not reserved for some particular class. Rev.
Daniel Ntoni-Nzinga quoted by Comerford sharply denounced the unfair suffering of Angolan people: only those who carry weapons and kill…are seen as wise in Angolan society. Whoever refuses to use firepower is viewed as stupid and refused the right of participation in decision-making …This expression of a culture of violence, which maintains the political agenda inherited from colonialism is regrettable, and has never served the true interests of this nation (Op. cit: 49).
For Emilio de Carvalho the curriculum in theology training has to include political skills so that theologians do not fear to express their opinions in the political arena. Comerford observes that: “A new theology of engagement was being called for in the churches, which considered politics as a arena of Christian activity” (ibid: 47). It is noteworthy to hear a Methodist bishop
(de Carvalho) saying this, for the reasons mentioned above. When we talked, the impression de Carvalho gave of the actual situation is that national reconciliation is the duty of the politicians (Luanda, 11 September 2006). For the ex-general secretary of CICA, Rev.
Chipesse, quoted by Comerford: “It is within the parliamentary democracy that ethnic problems created generally by colonialism in Africa and Angola in particular, are and should be debated and resolved, because by any other means war will continue to enrich the weapons manufacturers, and producers of emergency food rations, of the already wealthy nations” (ibid:
As well as discussing how CICA acted, it is necessary to observe briefly the Mennonite intervention for peace in Angola, as one of CICA’s members. In 1998 the Mennonite Central
Committee (MCC) in collaboration with Mennonite churches held an important conference for peace and the mediation of conflict. In 2000, the Brethren Mennonite Biblical School of Mission
112 in Angola (Instituto Biblico e de Missiologia em Angola (IBMA) held a colloquium in CEFOCA with the theme Peace and Mission; many church leaders participated as well in 2001 in the
‘Centre d’accueil’ Kimbanguiste (Guest house) where many leaders including those of political parties also took pace. And in 2003, MCC offered important training as regards a culture of non-violence to peace facilitators in the local communities. The Mennonites considered that permanent peace should be seen in the daily interaction of people.
4.3.3. Independent Churches and Other Communities of Faith
The emergence of Independent Churches is an important fact in many African countries such as Angola. In this section the focus will be on the Tokuists, the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ founded by the Prophet Simon Toko. Tokuists are similar to the Kimbanguists, which challenged colonialists in the DRC, who could not at all understand the phenomena of “African prophetism” in the person of the “ngunza” or prophet. The history of Simao Toko should be understood in terms of that of Kimpa Vita’ (known as Dona Beatrice) in 1706, who challenged the colonialists with her traditional spirituality. According to Alfredo Margarido:
Dona Beatrice was a prophetess who tried to discover in the land of the Congo places and symbols homologous to those of Christianity. She transformed the natural and cultural elements of the Congo into Christian elements, for only Christianity could make possible the restoration of a united political power of which the Kongolese dreamed – a dream and myth that persists today in messianic and prophetic Kongolese (1972:34)
As regards the Kimbanguists, Alfredo confirms: “Simon Kimbangu stands out among all existing or preceding prophets, for he was the first person since Dona Beatrice to process strong charismatic command over the people” (op. cit: 37). Many remember what happened to the followers of Simao Toko who challenged the Portuguese army by their faith without fear of death. Many messianic or prophetic movements challenged the Portuguese but that of Dona
Beatrice, in 1706, which brought about the complete decline of the first civilizing mission in Sao
Salvador (Martin 1975:17), was the most important movement. The Tokoist movement later had the same impact (Alfredo Margarido op. cit: 38).
For this reason the Portuguese arrested the prophet Simao Goncalves Toko on July 17, 1963, imprisoning and exiling him on the Azores, planning to eliminate him by means of an airplane crash, but the plot failed according to Simao Fernando Quibeta (nd: 50). The prophet was so courageous that he went into the bush where people had fled, encouraging them to come back home and pray to the Lord for peace (Quibeta ibid: 47). Returning to Angola in 1974, he encouraged his followers to hope in the Lord for a peaceful Angolan independence but he was suspected as a political partisan of one of the liberation movements. He uttered declarations such as this in the Quibeta report (nd: 55/6): “If you do not reconcile and construct the country with peace and harmony, your war will cause death, pain and highest material destruction...”
His followers were often persecuted and Simon Fernando Quibeta reveals that he had been arrested at least 15 times in Angola apart from his imprisonment in the Democratic Republic of
Congo and by the Portuguese (nd: 56). Today Tokoists in Angola are influential in all sectors of social life and members of CICA. And the União das Populacões de Angola (UPA)= Angola
Population Union) were encouraged by Tokoists who refused “ntonga” in 1957 (Afredo op. cit.:
50). Tokoists played a significant political role in Angolan history. Our meeting with Rev. Simao
Zola revealed that Simao Toko is regarded as still alive though he died in 1982.
When they were worshipping on 25 December a voice said to them: “I, Simon Toko never will die again; of course my body might be in the tomb underground but my voice will be among you till the Lord
Jesus will come” (18 September 2006). Since that time, confirmed Mr Mpanda Makwenda, the presence of the prophet has been incarnated in Afonse Nunes, the actual spiritual leader (18
September 2006). The church strongly holds to the reading of the Bible and believes in the traditional faith. We are simply reporting what we heard and read on behalf of the Tokoists. We are not making any theological statement: we respect what others believe and trust that through the Holy Spirit we shall discern the truth.
4.3.4. Other Independent Churches and Faith Communities
There are many other such churches in Angola but their intervention in the Angolan civil war was similar since they held conferences and public meetings and participated in Edica. We met with some of the Charismatic churches which are willingly participating in national reconciliation. One of their respected leaders is Nsingi Patricio who has much influence in
Luanda, often organizing meetings dealing with political issues. On the national anniversary of independence his church organized a celebration inviting Angolans to take part as well as many others from elsewhere (Nsingi’s e-mail received 3/11/2006). In their meetings they are not ashamed to exhibit the national flag as is evident from Nsingi’s e-mail. They are hopeful that God is creating something new in Angola. But sound training is needed for the effective exercising of their ministry.
We do not know whether the Muslims in Angola influenced or were involved in the civil war as their presence in Angola is still small but since some Angolans are being converted to Islam the results should be evident within ten years, more or less. They are experiencing conflict and division; hence we were not able to contact them in Luanda during the short time we were there. But their growth is surprising Christians: about five mosques could be numbered in
Luanda. Buddhists and Hindus are present in Angola but it is estimated that they comprise only about 0,1 percent of the population.
4.3.5. Traditional Faith
Traditional religions today draw much attention in Africa since they are emerging so strongly as to displace Christianity and Islam. Mbiti offers us insight into Africans: “from the top leaders of our nations to the beggars in the streets, religion plays a role in their lives” (1975: 33). The section discusses some aspects of traditional faith which influence the life of Christians and other Angolans. Mbala Vita Lusunzi revealed to some missionaries in training that the Angolan culture presents a challenge for the pastor in this century. His own example cites a blessing for welfare in the church by the pastor, while in opposition his father performed another ritual according to the traditional faith (Luanda 16/09/06). The belief in ancestors has not been supplanted in the lives of Angolans: even when they are Christ’s followers they still carry out practices and rites according to their traditional faith. Healing, the birth of twins in the family and death still require Christians to consult traditional mediums. We cannot blame them for this but we need to understand such beliefs so that we can contextualize the gospel. The Tata Nlongi theology and the Nkuu (traditional dialogue) in the tribe of Kongo and the Ondjango (traditional place for community discussion) in the context of the Kimbundu tribe should be seen as efforts to contextualize the gospel. Traditional faiths in the context of civil war played a role: some believers, the Soba, died in it. Many Angolans can testify to receiving great protection from
115 traditional authorities in the areas where the civil war between MPLA and UNITA was at its worst. Reverend Luzembo Segueira’s experience told us how when members and pastors visiting churches in the provinces of Uige and Malange were arrested and accused as spies it was the traditional authority who defended his case and set him free (Luanda, 11/09/06).
Barrett’s statistics seem to reflect low growth, numbering Christians as 46.4%, Muslims 40.3 % and traditional religion only 11.9% (1999: 26). Compare this with Mbiti: in 1984 Christians numbered 234 million, about 45%, Muslims 211 million, about 41%, traditional or African religion 63 million, about 12% (1991:33). We might conclude that traditional Religion is growing, though slowly. In the case of the Angolan Bushmen we have specific Mumuila who still carefully preserve their traditions: our preoccupation in the future needs to be how we as
Christians could reach that tribe with the reconciliatory gospel in their context. When President
Dos Santos spoke about studies in national culture (Jornal de Angola, 13 September 2006) the
Mumuila tribe should not be excluded: they are part of Angolan culture (Dos Santos & Pailler
Jean 2000:41). Antonio de Almeida describes them in terms of Bushmen: Kwankhala, Sekele,
Zama or Kwengo and the Kwadi (1965: vii/ix). Sculptures and other forms of the arts in Angola witness explicitly to the traditional religions. Traditional faith in all Angola tells many stories of successful healing and answers to social questions. Hence traditional religion in Angola needs the attention of all Christian Anthropologists.
4.4. Angola Today
The case of Angola in some respects seems to be similar to the South African experience.
Angolan whites are not silenced or/and reduced to nothing: they are working peacefully with the government and playing an important role in the Angolan economy. The Angolan situation is not really one of tension between white and black but it is rooted in its pre-colonial history where division among blacks themselves was sown in the ecclesiology of colonial missions
(Luis Ngimbi, referred to above). Our concern is mutual exclusion or non-acceptance among
Angolans. The “Langa-langa”, Angolans returning from exile, have not been easily integrated into society. The “Shungura” are Angolans who consider themselves as genuine by the fact that they speak Portuguese well, considered as criteria of integration or of Angolan identity, a fact that places those returning from exile in jeopardy. Education in Angola faces a major task in this context. When the local languages are introduced into the curriculum Portuguese is not dropped: there is no resistance to it as to Afrikaans in South Africa. The poverty which harms
116 the majority in a country with many mineral resources is the real evil which we Angolans have to face together as one people.
Many issues of present conflict, such as the gap between the rich and the poor, have been mentioned above. It is time to sit around the table to see how we have destroyed our own country and consider how to re-build it. This section will deal with these questions and discuss the role of the churches and communities of faith in the reconstruction of Angola. The Truth and
Reconciliation Commission (TRC) will be considered to see if it could be helpful for Angolans to see our past and organize the future. The section looks at the reality of Angola today, so the leaders whom we interviewed have their opinions recorded in this section. COIEPA reports which identify the questions and problems of the nation will enjoy special attention. In our short time in Luanda we really tried to find answers to our questions and our findings follow.
The pejorative “langa-langa” is clearly reflected in Angolan music as a major cultural vehicle:
Alidjuma, one of the young musicians, repeatedly sings it. We were told that it took its roots from the liberation movements at the time when FNLA were discriminated against as anthropophagi, as mentioned by Teca and attested to by most of the leaders we interviewed in
Luanda. His Master’s thesis in theology in the section entitled “Psycho-Relational
Consequences” argues that the segregationist language among Angolans impedes peaceful cohabitation (op. cit.: 80) (my rendering). Pejorative terms such as “Langa-langa” and
“Shungura” in Angola in general and Luanda in particular reflect the culture of violence inherited by the liberation movements. Today in Luanda the division between these two groups is obvious. In the Rock Center, the big market in Luanda, for instance, it is easy to spot “Langa” shops as well as “Shungura” Shops. Church leaders are of the view that this gap among
Angolans needs correction. Rev. Kiawoza argues that we must recognize their skills but also that many negative behaviours arrived in Angola with the returning refugees, much more amongst those from DRC, but as we are constructing the new Angola we need to correct such segregation among Angolans; he felt that its impact was already decreasing (at Luanda on 8-
09-2006). Rev. Malungu Antonio, the leader of Igreja Evangelica Reformada em Angola (IERA
= Evangelical Reformed Church in Angola) concurred. Even on public transport in Luanda both groups discriminate against each other. Only a few of the churches are heterogeneous: the majority still follow the missionaries’ style of evangelisation, which specialised in regrouping
117 tribes or forming ethno-centric churches. It is clear that the “Langa-Langa” find themselves marginalized and are not enjoying all the rights of other Angolans. Speaking for the Inter-
Mennonite Committee its Executive Secretary, Noé Alberto José, noted that these pejoratives are included among the harmful issues inherited from the civil war, which are the focus of the vision for the re-building of the country where the Mennonites are concerned (Luanda, 12-09-
2006). According to Rev. Dilubanza Manuel the church as a prophetic voice has to identify errors without fear (13-09-2006). Hence it is time for the church to correct these, even if imperfectly.
Education today in Angola involves not only changes at the higher levels but also a new curriculum into which the local languages are to be introduced by request. There is a problem in educating children in some rural areas because of lack of well trained human resources. It is already being debated whether to adopt the UNESCO programme of the primary school, from grades 1 to 6 instead of 1 to 4 as in Angola. And for the high school, grades 7 to 12 instead of 7 to 9 and 10 to 12. We inherited from the civil war invalids and orphans who are on the streets begging to survive: these groups of Angolans are not only forgotten but also discriminated against and they do not have easy access to paying the high fees of private and state schools.
Churches, since the democratisation of the country, are again in a position to look at education.
Teca reveals that a law in 1975 confiscated all schools, centres of training and their properties from the churches, nationalised teaching and made it exclusively over to the state (op. cit.: 51): law 4/75 of 9 December 1975, articles 2 and 6 (ibid: 50/1). Today churches have much to do in this sector. Some already have high schools, even universities, where they also need to strive for quality education.
Angola is today awaiting the presidential election, which should normally have been held in
2006. Luis Ngimbi, CICA’s general secretary, has indicated that CICA is ready to contribute to the next election. In his communication in the media Luis Ngimbi said that the next election should not fail as the last did (2006) www.angop
. It is important that this time people be taught about elections and the morality required of a good citizen before and after them. We believe
118 that in this time it is also important to pray to God who knows how to guide the country in this crucial time. Elections not only in Angola but also in most of Africa are a frightening time where political power allows the military forces to impose their will and silence people who should, of their own free will, be able to vote for whomever they want. A time in which other small political parties are easily corrupted by the powerful political parties and assassination of those who seem to threaten the most popular candidate of the party. Rev. Daniel Ntoni Nzinga records that in the 31 years since Angola’s independence only one election has been held. And believes that the errors committed in 1992 may occur again (2006:1). Churches as a strong voice within civil society should clearly express their opinion. CICA in the 51 st
Committee held at Luanda appealed a) to the churches’ leaders to be involved within the process; b) to Angolans to register, showing political maturity and the exercise of moral citizenship; c) to the Government, to continue to conduct the process with safeguards, to organize consultations in order to achieve consensus between many political actors if it is necessary (2006),
On this issue the Catholic University concurred with the COIEPA Executive Secretary, Dr.
Daniel Ntoni Nzinga, who emphasized the necessity of knowing the laws and regulations that manage the process of peace, with a particular attention to elections as a new and essential phase of the process in the resolution and prevention of conflict (2006:5). Churches seem to be in accord and are ready to take part but at the same time appear not to be optimistic regarding what will happen after the election, knowing that there is still an obscure zone where they are waiting for the state to be open on the issue. Meanwhile the churches really have to work at encouraging the president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, acclaimed as a great African figure who led in time of war, to retire and make way for the new young leaders who could by
God’s grace lead Angola: “Reactions to Mr Dos Santos’s announcement [to retire] have been cautiously enthusiastic” wrote the author of “Dos Santos will Just Go” (Economist 2005:1) www.EBSCOHOST
Angola is one of the African countries where the economy is growing fastest, according to Dr.
Adewale Banjo to whom we referred in the first chapter of this thesis. See also the World Fact
Book (2006: 8).
But paradoxically, this is one of the issues which most threaten the Angolan poor. We cannot understand why the majority of people are still poor and the elite minority rich. Jakkie Cilliers &
Christian Dietrich in their Book Angola’s War Economy show how the civil war benefited the guerrillas, as a time of getting and selling Angolan riches. Meanwhile, the people were trampled by the poverty which we still suffer. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos recognised this in his discourse to the HIV/AIDS Committee meeting on 27 November 2003 (2003:3) www.angop.com
, which he considers as one coin with two faces that cannot be separated.
Jakkie Cilliers & Christian Dietrich observed:
War allows a lack of accountability that would not be possible in peacetime…Because the government budget is not unified or transparent on payment for arms there are substantial discrepancies between government estimates of defence spending and independent estimates. (2000: 8-9).
To this we have to add what James T. Lawrence pointed out, that: “At least 20 percent of the national budget or 11percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) was dedicated to defense during the year, while an estimated 50 percent of the state expenditures were not reflected in the official budget” (2004:1)
Further he indicates that wealth continued to be concentrated in the hands of a small elite who often used government positions for massive personal enrichment, and corruption continued to be a common practice at all levels (ibid: 1). Angola also is present in the list of the most corrupt countries of the world (see Dr Adewale Banjo’s remark in the first chapter of this thesis). In this respect COIEPA revealed in its report for 2002 what was termed “Angolagate”: the Angolan
Government’s level of corruption in the management of public goods (2002:8). See also the article by Madsen (CorpWatch, May 17 2002,www.yahoo.com). Garztecki Marek described the controversy surrounding the management of government petroleum accounts and presents lists of banks around the world where these funds were found (2006: 58). To this finding add that of Hughes John in his article on “Economy”:
Noting that little action had been taken to promote financial transparency, the report lamented Angola’s continuing macroeconomic instability, poor fiscal management, stalled structural reforms and failure to tackle poverty. It also noted that 31% of the
120 total government spending, representing 14.7% of GDP, was still occurring outside the state budget (2006: 61).
All these increase the misery of the poor. The poverty of most Angolans stems from a lack of good will by the governing class: we should in the name of the Lord ask them to be kind to a suffering people. It is not good to remember the past negatively but we have to remember that
Angolan resources were shared by powerful political parties and by those who bore firearms.
4.4.5 Human Rights
The question of human rights violations in Angola today represents a scar since people are still subject to oppression and unlawful treatment. James T. Lawrence pointed out that security forces committed serious human rights abuses (ibid: 1) and all the powerful parties allege human rights abuses by these forces. What is painful in Lawrence’s allegations is that their members murdered people, were responsible for disappearances, and tortured, beat, raped victims (ibid: 2) yet the government does not prosecute those abusers. Luanda today is an insecure city of crimes and weapons. James T Lawrence noted that after the Luena memorandum human rights abuses lessened but that the rights of workers are problematic and discrimination and violence against women are common (ibid: 2).
People sometimes rely on the security forces but not all: some of them are cruel and regard the civil population as their foes. There is no sector of civil society which is not in potential danger when criticising the government or saying something about suffering. But we must do so; otherwise our government will continue to think that what has been done is sufficient when in reality our basic rights are being abused, as Lawrence confirms regarding the Government’s attitude towards workers’ rights (ibid: 2). The Luena memorandum announced amnesty to offenders but was silent about victims. It is important to say that the Government will do well if the opportunity is given to the nation to sit together and evaluate the past, not to assign blame but to see how we have been damaged and offer forgiveness as South Africans did in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). If we do not adopt all aspects of the TRC at least we need to look at it as a model for the reconstruction of our country; for instance when we consider the internal displacement of the population and the emergency programme of return
(Gomes & Imogen 2003:13).
These urgent resettlements did not offer any possibilities to those resettled and in addition their present conditions mean that they are still victims in a new position: we still are a traumatized people. For instance, landmines constitute a security and political issue which needs eradication. Research reveals that Angolans are continually concerned about this destructive weapon: in 1995 an Angolan living in the United Kingdom suggested the landmine firms be held responsible for the Angolan situation (Rae, McGrath 1995:117). Landmines still kill and injure people as well as animals in Angola.
All the matters above must be taken seriously but the Cabinda issue today is the most perilous one in the recent Angolan peace. We shall now turn there and see what could be done to ensure a lasting peace in Angola.
4.4.6 The Case of Cabinda
The case of Cabinda, which geographically is a separate territory, calls attention to the boundaries negotiated in the colonial era where the cases of Cabinda and lower Congo were determined by the Belgians of the Republic of Congo. Congo and Cabinda were not originally separate; both were integral parts of Angola. Cabinda’s geographical location caused some
Cabindians to fight for their own independence, which led to the creation of the Enclave of
Cabinda Liberation Front (FLEC). Raph Uwechue et al recorded that FLEC, headed by Luis
Ranque Franque, announced in Kinshasa on February 22 1975 that it would welcome negotiations leading to separate independence from Portugal for the enclave (op. cit.: 269).
Since that time no-one has regarded this as a serious issue until FLEC became a guerrilla movement launching sporadic attacks (Anderson G. Lawrence, op. cit.: 24) exactly as UNITA.
In the conference held in Nakuru, Kenya from 16 to June 21, 1975 it was reaffirmed that
Cabinda was an integral and inseparable part of Angola (Africa Today, ibid: 270). I concur with
Comerford who pointed out that despite the conflict in the province since 1975, neither the
Bicesse Accords nor the Lusaka protocol addressed FLEC’s issues with the Angolan state in any way (op.cit.: 4). Instead of marginalizing the FLEC’s guerrillas it would have been wise for them to be part of the decision-makers. And as CICA in its resolutions often called the government to a sincere dialogue with the FLEC leaders we uphold this view; otherwise perennial fighting will continue. When the actual Memorandum of Cabinda on 1 st
August 2006 was signed between the Government and the Cabindian Forum for Dialogue (FCD) according
122 to www.Angop.com
, some of the well-known opponents and the main opposition FLEC were not invited. When we arrived in Luanda on 05 September 2006 there was still fighting between the FAA and the guerrillas of FLEC in Cabinda: some villages were fired and people killed. In the 51 st
Executive Committee the church leaders asked the Government to incorporate the
FLEC in the dialogue regarding the case of Cabinda (op. cit.). COIEPA also recommended the same in its report. The CICA weekly Flash of Notices reported the service for Cabinda on 12
August in Luanda in a sports stadium (2006:1). On 25 August 2006, the FLEC leader, Nzita
Henriques Tiago, sent letters to all institutions including diplomats, requesting their presence in this dialogue. This document is included in the appendix.
The “a Luta continua a victoria e certa” (the struggle continues, certainly victory will be ours),
President Neto’s slogan, cannot continue to be useful against ourselves. With such a violent culture a new slogan became very popular in the lives of Angolans, “vou te matar” (I will kill you). Hence the issue of Cabinda is an urgent case for a sincere dialogue between the
Government and the FLEC’s leaders, which should be included in the Angolan Truth and
Reconciliation Commission (ATRC): the ATRC or whatever name it is eventually given would do well to call Angolan victims to tell their truth. We have victims who are still weeping but their cries will not be a blessing unless they say publicly “we forgive you”. An amnesty, which the
Luena memorandum proclaimed would not be negotiated, will be welcome but the commission should study to whom and in which way the amnesty should be offered. Then the Cabinda issue could be investigated by another sub-commission making recommendations towards lasting peace.
4.4.7 An Angolan Truth and Reconciliation Commission (ATRC)
Looking ahead to this vision of national reconciliation, as it is larger than an individual affair we interviewed various leaders about it. Many told us that such an endeavour is a hazardous one that will not be accepted by the Government. But some were optimistic and encouraged us to record as a witness before God that we gave our advice to the political leaders for the sake of the future of our country. Amongst those whom we asked if we might evaluate the past, about twenty leaders, twelve were against, seven in favour and one abstained. Those who did not agree argued, firstly, that the contexts of South Africa and Angola are very different; secondly, that all belligerents in the civil war are guilty and would not like to expose themselves before
123 the people they have slain, whose wounds are still fresh; thirdly, churches in the Angolan context are not strong in dealing with political matters; fourthly, the perpetrators of civil war crimes are all in strong positions, wealthy and powerful political authorities; and, finally, the victims are weak and poor and could easily be trampled on, even killed in telling the truth. Such a “TRC” would only be possible if the leading party and parliament suggested it themselves as
South Africans did. Those in favour contended: Firstly, we have a prophetic mission to tell the government the truth of they have done against the nation and what they are supposed to do for the welfare of all: Secondly, the commission will not be a trial to hunt them but is intended to heal people from their traumatic experiences; thirdly, the commission will ensure that it grants amnesty to all perpetrators as they have already decreed it for themselves without receiving forgiveness from the people they offended and killed; fourthly, to avoid a repeated experience in the future. For many Angolan leaders national reconciliation has already been achieved. This view is seen in the president’s speech in the Jornal de Angola, 13 September 2006 during the
Symposium on National Culture (2006:3). But we are not yet reconciled: our fighters have only stopped fighting while the causes of conflict and their consequences have not yet been studied. We are partners with God and we have to do the Lord’s work while it is still day.
The Missio-Dei, which is incarnated in this body of Christ, the Church, is a holistic mission.
Hence we need to discuss the role of the Churches after the Luena and Cabinda
4.4.8 The Role of the Churches after the Luena and Cabinda Memorandums
This role should be a noble mission. All Christians have to inspire the other institutions of which we are members. Christ’s ministry of reconciliation will become a reality for other institutions when the churches’ members evidence it in their daily behaviour. The Angolan councils of churches need to display the four faces of Missio-Dei: the Kerugma, Diakonia, Koinonia and
Leiturgia. How could these dimensions be visible in the case of Christians in Angola? Who should make them possible and where? Is there a strategy to facilitate this? These questions will be the focus of this section. The section will also consider these following queries: Is it really true that the Luena and Cabinda memorandums guarantee the future of Angola? What about the FLEC guerrillas who are still wanting to be involved in dialogue?
184.108.40.206. The Kerugma in Mission
The gospel of Christ which we received obliges us to do the same to others to whom the gospel has not yet been proclaimed. We have mentioned that in the South African experience
kerugma consists in Christians becoming useful for others, which should also enable Christians to proclaim the same gospel beyond the local interaction between white and black and to reach new mission fields. But in the case of Angola the kerugma mission while not omitting these aspects will look at them with a particular emphasis on proclamation. The church should normally be the site where the gospel preached has to do more with transformation. Statistics show that Christians are in the majority but looking at daily behaviour it seems that Christianity is a failure in Angolan society, dividing people instead of uniting them, inspiring hatred instead of love. The word of God should bring about transformation, otherwise those who are not
Christians will stay away from Christianity. When our young people, who have inherited the culture of violence today, sing and dance “vou te matar” (I will kill you) and in the same rhythm others answer “mata” (kill) psychological consequences occur and lead to concrete action along the lines of what they have sung. The artists Dj. Churra & Drolasta in their album “6
Vozes de Batida 2006” (six voices frightened) show how they could destroy the mind of their audience and how the culture of war has affected even our music. The church has to teach people to surrender the culture of violence in all its forms. We have to teach that killing is a sin against God (Exodus 20:13) which Christ interpreted: “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother, will be subject to judgement” (Mat. 5:21-22). We will not interpret the scriptures here but there is something important in the way in which our Lord interpreted the death penalty since anger is the means by which people easily start murdering others. This is why we have to recommend Christian churches to teach the verdict of the gospel, which recommends us to love even our enemies. As Christian churches we should understand that we and our political leaders were all wrong and now we must understand that we need to rebuild our country and care for each other. Hence the reconciliation ministry in the Angolan context will consist partly in a mission of psychological care and counselling. This is the diakonia mission arena, to which we turn now.
220.127.116.11. The Diakonia Mission
In the South African experience Diakonia refers to all sectors of social activities or services: it is a holistic, inclusive mission where the churches are requested to be active in all sectors and to train chaplains for them. In the Angolan case in comparison we shall strive to introduce the notion of chaplains in all sectors, so that the churches should be in intense collaboration with the state helping to achieve God’s will, as General Alfonse Samuel, who is a Pentecostal minister, said (Luanda, 19-09-2006).
In the same vein we reiterate the wish of Angolan churches to be integrated into all sectors of society: education, health, agriculture, political parties, military and security forces and the economic sector should all have chaplains, pastors trained in the same sector as well as in theology. In such a way the cry of Emilio de Carvalho that we face a dilemma: as politics progressively becomes the most decisive power in our society we participate less (op.cit.) would be answered not only in the political arena but in all the others. Rev. Chioesse remarked that there are some pastors who are chaplains in certain hospitals, but the writer comments that they were not legally appointed by the state and not paid officially for their ministry.
Amongst all we interviewed on this issue there was consensus in favour of having chaplains working in diverse sectors of social life in Angola. The innovation in this issue would be having a chaplain economist working with financial institutions. As regards our mineral resources and the foreign experts who are working in collaboration with the Government, as long as the sector does not have church counsellors morality may decrease and corruption increase and untruth or deceit continue (see the “Jornal de Angola” newspaper, May 31, 2006). For instance the diamonds in the Lunda area and elsewhere in Angola, or oil reserves, should be well exploited for the welfare of all Angolans. Diakonia mission as a holistic one should speak truth here.
Church leaders should negotiate with political leaders on behalf of the suffering governed people. Churches should encourage and collaborate with some international movements such as the International Red Cross which in Angola, according to Arao Martin, had helped in returning and reintegrating 37 persons separated from their families in the civil war
). Here if the churches have military chaplains they could perform such activities more easily but this is not the case, though the Angolan Army and security forces really need the word of God.
We have to appreciate the effort of the ministry of Exterior Relations which appointed COIEPA to be part of the commission created by the United Nations to control small arms and of the
International Conference concerning the great lakes, where COIEPA’s wish is that such cooperation between state and churches shall continue (2005:27).
Health is an important sector: we recall the president’s words to the opening committee meeting dealing with the pandemic of HIV/AIDS where he remarked that It is important to prepare professional teams offering psycho-social counselling, advising patients how much they need their family members ( www.angop.com
2003). It would be even better to have chaplains recognized by the government helping those suffering from HIV/AIDS. This is why we think that a transforming diakonia mission should not avoid interaction between church and state. It is really important to recognize the difference between the state and the church but not to create an absolute separation. Both institutions are God’s instruments for the world.
While the Angolan Government is constructing the new site for the National University,
Protestants are seeking funds from the World Council of Churches to build their own University as the Catholics have. This is not the best way to achieve a democratic state. We suggest that
Christians seek how to have their ecumenical faculty of theology within the national University, where all the intellectuals of the country could meet and advise the nation’s leaders. Likewise, the churches have to look at the children in the public places and to create centres for their social reintegration. On International Children’s Day at the Centre of Malembo in Luanda,
Angolan children exhibited painted cards to show how marginalized they are and how they lack support for their school fees (Jornal de Angola 2006) ( www.jornaldeangola.com
We think that for Angolan Christians it is time to be working with the state. We have to encourage CICA for example to continue appealing to the state regarding issues which are ambiguous: Cabinda for instance. Its meeting and conference held in Luanda denominated “Os
desafios da Paz” (the challenges for Peace) with the theme of Nehemiah 2: 16 –18 expressed many great ideas for permanent peace in Angola, such as in the case of Cabinda (my notes
2001). But there is another aspect of the missio-Dei on which the churches should focus.
18.104.22.168. The Koinonia Mission
This mission deals with fellowship: in the South African experience we noted that fellowship is very weak between black and white Christians. We recommended the unity of Christians in common actions. In the case of Angola we do not really experience a black/white tension as in the past. Collaboration does not provoke hostilities any longer. The only gap is that between black and black in the mutual exclusion of Langa, an Angolan returning from exile, and
shungura, the so-called genuine Angolan, which connotes “quiet and ignorant”, as discussed above. In this section the fellowship of Angolans, especially churches’ members, Christians and other communities of faith will be discussed as potentially filling this gap and making sure that both groups consider themselves Angolans without discriminating against each other since we are all children of God. This recommendation indicates that the weak interaction observed among Angolan churches should be resolved in fellowship and unity so that the world according to our Lord’s prayer will believe that we are commissioned by him. We shall say something about the Mennonite fellowship initiative in creating a new sodality to consolidate the unity of their members and lead projects together as one Mennonite family in Angola (Cima
2003). The Koinonia mission has to find its first echoes within the churches. The Mennonite initiative is to be encouraged for all denominations in Angola, where segregation is strong. The
Mennonite Brethren (Igreja Evangelica dos Irmaos Menonitas em Angola (IEIMA) where I am a servant did great things by reconciling with dissident brothers. And why should the councils of churches not be united to form only one council? The case of the council of churches in the
Democratic Republic of Congo is a good example: they avoided segregation so as to constitute one body, the Church of Christ in Congo. The Koinonia mission should also look at our partnership with other communities of faith and find ways to cooperate.
22.214.171.124. The Leiturgia Mission
Leiturgia concerns the worship service, and celebration for the glory of God. As we know, the worship of God is the first of God’s commands. In the context of South Africa we argued that worship should go beyond the denominational context to reach the national and achieve the ecumenical context. The Angolan context should be similar. We have to add that in the
Angolan context, November 11 of each year would be an important day when all the nation gathers before God to hear God’s word, adoring him for what he has done for us and
128 remembering how he leads us from being the slaves of the colonialists to liberation. Since
Easter which we celebrate every year has its meaning in the larger context of the independence of Israel from Egypt, it would not be inappropriate if Christians were to celebrate their independence day by still glorifying God who did such a marvellous action. Such worship should be inclusive not exclusive: a leading service would have to incorporate all religions to worship God freely as people of one God. In such worship what kind of liturgy would fit all religions? Which kind of ceremonial could be helpful for all Angola to feel accommodated?
Here it would be wise to bring in traditional ceremonies held for reconciliation like the “odjango” from Kimbundu tradition and “nku” from Kikongo tradition, as both will be good practices for reconciliation. When people gather to worship the Lord of heaven the entire nation should be present for such a ceremony of national reconciliation, which could begin as a confessional service with church ministers offering prayers of confession, followed by the president of the republic, traditional leaders and other leaders of civil society; then the word of God could be preached to explain how horrible it is to be a nation under God’s wrath and that God’s love is great enough to welcome us when we recognize that we have sinned against Him and against our fellows and foreigners. The president’s speech could follow or could precede the word of
God. Then might come a time of reconciliation, an act in which all the people hold hands and lift them up to the Lord. Leaders representing all people, provinces and traditions could hold the hands of the president of the republic in silence and one of the ministers appointed for each religious group could pray for the peace and prosperity of the nation. In closing the service, the president of the republic could say something to the nation or might give thanks to the people for the trust and confidence invested in him for peace. Finally, the national anthem could be sung after which people could leave peacefully. A worship committee would organize all the formalities. Teca’s suggestion on the liturgy (1997:140) could be such a committee’s point of departure.
4.4.9. Other Communities of Faith in Promoting Reconciliation
The Angolan society is, like South Africa, a complex society. But the South African society is broader than the Angolan one. In such an environment where all religions of the world are represented, the ecumenical mood would help to maintain a lasting peace. Christian leaders have to be active in accepting other religions as possessing God’s conviction, which they believe is right, to serve the world as God’s servants. Thus ecumenical encounter and dialogue
129 would be helpful for peaceful coexistence. In the South African context we looked at the
Christian-Muslim encounter and how it would be possible. Professor Meiring of the University of
Pretoria every year takes students in the department of Religious Science and Missiology to observe the Muslims and other religions: most of these students have testified that Muslims have a very deep sense of worship and it is interesting to see how deeply they submit to God as well as to each other without a sense of being rich or poor: before God we are all equal, testified Lentikile (May 2006). In this respect we will ask the leaders of CICA, AEA and CEAST, the founding councils of COIEPA, to consider how Muslims in Angola should be contacted and interested in an ecumenical encounter and encourage them to take part in the reconstruction of the wounded Angola. If we are willing to rebuild Angola, the TRC revealed the experience of religious groups’ involvement in the apartheid policy and their determination to do away with it all together: “As involved and implicated as they were in the past, South Africa’s religious communities also represented important sites of transformation” (TRC Vol. 1999:59). We cannot leave any religious groups out in the national effort at reconciliation. The National
Institute of Religious Affairs (INAR) should also inspire us to meet every religious entity in
Angola. Churches in South Africa confessed their guilt: the TRC’s report volume four reveals:
“The Apostolic Faith Mission confessed to preaching that opposition to apartheid was communist-inspired and aimed at the downfall of Christianity. Other churches admitted to propagating state theology indirectly” (op. cit: 70). What churches in Angola were not guilty of supporting the civil war? Were only the political parties guilty of Angola’s destruction? Where did those who destroyed Angola come from and who taught them, as we know that they were church members? The creation of a national commission for permanent ecumenical dialogue would be helpful. All religions need to be in contact so that together we perceive matters in our socio-political and religious context for the welfare of all Angolans. We have to reassure them that we trust them as God’s people and that they are welcome to share with other believers their faith in God and to say how they would contribute for the future of Angola. Such an effort would glorify the Lord who created us in his own image and put us in the same land.
The Angolan experience is similar to the South African experience in that both countries suffered over many years and had terrible experiences. The South African experience ended in
1994 and led to the creation of the TRC; the Angolan has its departure point on April 4, 2002.
Our great expectation is to convince the national leaders of the necessity for an evaluation of the past by creating an Angolan Truth and Reconciliation Commission (ATRC), which many supported. But those who do not agree need to feel free to state their view, as long as we agree that the past should be investigated. As many do not know Angolan history, we examined the larger context, which brought us to the Luena Memorandum and now to Cabinda.
After slavery the liberation movements represented an awakening of the Angolan conscience.
The MPLA was followed by the FNLA, the first powerful movement with significant army forces based in the DRC, while UNITA emerged as a new liberation movement to correct what the founder leader saw as the tribal legacy of the previous movements; but instead of being united these three liberation movements entered into more than three failed Agreements. We discussed the role of the churches, both positive and negative, and the various Accords.
UNITA’s leader Jonas Malheiro Savimbi was killed on February 22, 2002 and on April 4, 2002 the Government and UNITA signed the Luena Memorandum. We enquired what the role of the churches should be now and suggested that the churches should feel proud of being God’s instrument to fulfil the Missio-Dei in its four facets: Kerugma, Diakonia, Koinonia and Leiturgia.
We suggested the creation of an Angolan Truth and Reconciliation Commission (ATRC).
Christian churches and other communities of faith need to take opportunities to ensure God’s will in the world. We are convinced that the South African experience will help Angola. If the
TRC commissioners headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu were to be invited to Angola we believe they would not refuse to assist us in determining how to do things in our context. It is also obvious to say that in terms of the report of the TRC, evaluating the past in the case of
Angola in general and the linkage between UNITA and the South African Defence Forces
(SADF) in particular, is a related issue (1998:18,24). If the South African military who had negative experience of both countries could sit together with the Angolan military and assist our country (as recorded in “Jornal de Angola” on May 31, 2006 www.jornaldeangola.com
) why should the churches’ leaders not sit with South African commissioners in a workshop to see how we Angolans should evaluate the past and the future which are beginning now? Especially since the Cabindan storm still poses a risk.
DEVELOPING A MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION FOR THE ANGOLAN
CHURHCES: THEOLOGICAL AND PRACTICAL PERSPECTIVES
In this chapter the researcher considers the basic ministry of reconciliation as firstly God’s ministry carried out through Jesus Christ, as we read in 2 Corinthians 5: 16 – 21. The writer draws attention to biblical texts so as to consider how the ministry of Reconciliation constitutes part of the Missio-Dei and the Missio-Ecclesiae. Theological and practical perspectives will therefore be discussed in terms of the biblical texts. Consideration will be given to certain articles, books and reports written on reconciliation as God’s imperative to the church. Among the sources selected was, firstly: Theology of Reconciliation edited by Colin E. Gunton, with special attention to the chapter by Christoph Schwobel entitled: “Reconciliation: From Biblical
Observations to Dogmatic Reconstruction”. Four theological areas will be explored (Schwobel’s four angles):
1. The Soteriological dimension,
2. The Christological dimension,
3. The Theological dimension and,
4. The Pneumatological dimension.
A little modification of this scheme will be necessary in our thesis. We will consider five theological perspectives instead of dimensions: Soteriological, Christological, Pneumatological,
Historical and Missiological, where the theological perspective will act as an umbrella to these five theological dimensions. We choose the term “perspective” because we do not offer a complete theological discourse in which debates and many other considerations are very important, though the term perspective suggests a careful observation of a quite complex subject. The article on “Leadership for Reconciliation: A Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Perspective” written by Piet Meiring as well as the book edited by Gregory Baum and Harold
Wells, The Reconciliation of Peoples: Challenge to the Churches and certain extracts from the seven volumes of the TRC Report will serve as practical guides. From Piet Meiring we will examine five aspects of reconciliation as ministry: A clear vision of the reconciliation as ministry, respect for the truth, a sense of justice, an understanding of forgiveness and
132 commitment. To this we added the twelve theses of David Bosch as dynamic factors with respect to the leadership of this particular ministry. They are ingredients of reconciliation theology.
The definition of reconciliation in the first chapter of this thesis will be applied. There we have already made some anticipatory observations, which will be tabled in this chapter in debate with other scholars in the field of reconciliation. In addition this chapter will consider the practical perspectives which stem from our findings in the two main chapters: The South
African Experience and The Angolan Experience, so that our work will not be considered as useless, academic discourse, only good enough for the library. The Ubuntu theology of
Desmond Tutu, in South Africa, will be compared with the Tata Nlongi and Ondjando theologies
(theologies of care) in the Angolan context. Particular attention will be accorded to the healing of the relationship between the churches and the state where collaboration should be genuine since they are God’s institutions for the welfare of human beings. No longer should the churches be excluded from decision-making on behalf of the nation. Though they should not support political parties their members should be active, performing the role of being light and salt. In the same vein we will see the local church as an embassy representing God’s kingdom, of which its members are ambassadors in the world according to 2 Corinthians 5:20. Many other matters such as incarnation, ecological and diplomatic perspectives will emerge in connection with the five main theological perspectives. Factors such as repentance, forgiveness, love, justice and peace as characteristics of reconciliation will be discussed in connection with theological and practical matters.
The chapter is divided into two main sections: the first concerns the five theological
perspectives and the second the four practical areas of involvement: Cultural, sociological, economical and political. The first part follows.
Before we undertake any discussion of the ministry of reconciliation we need to know what reconciliation stands for. A clear vision for the eventual exercise of this ministry in South Africa and Angola is necessary both in this thesis and perhaps also for other countries. The debate about the nature of reconciliation in all sectors demonstrates that it is a central and universal
133 concept. However, some think that the word is severely abused and confusing. A minister in this field of reconciliation, Piet Meiring, on the contrary expressed his hope, which is also mine, that:
Leaders in fields of philosophy and linguistics may help analyze the history and meaning of the concept of reconciliation. Sociologists and Psychologists need to define the context as well as the process of reconciliation and theologians are challenged to develop a theology of reconciliation (2005:4)
We are all welcome to contribute to defining the concept and need not exclude others. This creates conflict and division instead of transforming them and reconciling people with that diversity which is the beauty of being Imago Dei. The term Greek “Καταλλαγή”, translated in
English by reconciliation, which derives from the Greek verb “Καταλλáσσω”, translated as reconcile, concerns bridging broken relationships. Reconciliation as “Καταλλαγή” in Greek philology connotes the renewal of a broken relationship. Reconciliation is the way to receive one another again, to renew broken relations, to walk again together with separated and lost friends, to sit and share new fellowship again, after a broken relationship. It is time to consider the renewal of old relationships as healthy for the community if the parties to the conflict wish to overcome their differences. Walter Wink confirms this point: “Reconciliation … is more difficult.
It requires that I and the other person from whom I have been separated by enmity, mutually forgive each other and walk into a common future together” (1997:11). When a community or family lack peace, “shalom”, division, disharmony and storms occur and if people wish to restore harmony they should look to the causes which have led to hard times. Notions like justice, forgiveness and peace are connected values in the field of reconciliation. Reconciliation is a complex process: it needs, as Piet Meiring comments: “a clear vision, understanding of the sense of forgiveness and justice” (op. cit.), because relationships with human beings are very complex. In transforming or managing conflicts and reconciling people, leaders in this field must for instance know about the intra-personal and inter-personal conflicts which are localized on the individual level. And on the macro level, intra- and inter-relations concern social groups.
In the resolution of conflict the mediator has to understand the parties’ involvement in the process of conflict. For instance, who takes the initial step in conflict? It is also most important to understand why people support conflict.
Forgiveness also needs discussion before we consider the theological perspectives. The Greek term “αφεσις”, translated by forgiveness, takes many senses: send away, give up, abandon, or give away in the sense of tolerance. People are limited in the way they define forgiveness as the means by which they are obliged to remember the past: possibly the most well-known definition in the present climate is “to forgive but not to forget” as John W. de Gruchy wrote
(1997:27); see also Mark Hay’s remark, “for some reconciliation means ‘forgive and forget’”
(1998:14). However, we should bear in mind that forgiveness is an irresistible spiritual power, one of the strong spiritual pillars of the reconciliation ministry by which healing occurs. A nonviolent method has much force here, as we will see in the theological perspectives. There is little disagreement concerning the concept of reconciliation but much regarding forgiveness and justice where the notion of distributive justice is predominant. Since we all need to be partners in reconciliation, it is important that our discourse be coherent. For this we really need to understand the basic pattern of this doctrine of reconciliation, turning to the five aspects of systematic theology mentioned earlier.
5.1.1 Soteriological Perspective
Reconciliation entails the redemption of humanity from its broken relationship with God. The
Bible offers clear examples of how redemption has been administered to humankind. Here lies the foundation of reconciliation as soteriological theology. Genesis 3:21 narrates the first innocent bloodshed for the redemption of offenders in order to restore the broken relationship with God. According to Christoph Schwobel: “the attempt at offering a dogmatic reconstruction of discourse on reconciliation cannot but begin from scripture. It is both the origin of all dogmatic reflection and as paradigmatic testimony to God’s self-disclosure in Christ” (2003:15).
After the breach created by the fall of humankind God took the initiative to be reconciled with people through Christ, as we read in 2 Corinthians 5: 17 – 20:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s Ambassadors, as through us God were
135 making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to
God. (NIV 2005)
We are not undertaking a textual hermeneutics of reconciliation but it is obvious that the text entails the theological and sociological spheres when we consider terms Greek like “κόσµος”, translated by the world, and the term “πρέσβεύω”, translated by being ambassadors who are useful in the sphere of social reconciliation. God is seen as victim but at the same time as actor, taking the initiative to reconcile himself with his offenders. Some commentators on this passage place emphasis on the “divine- human relationship”, as Christoph Schwobel (op. cit.:
15) has observed regarding the use of the term “Καταλλáσσω” which refers six times to God and only once to the interpersonal relationship. But the divine relationship does not exclude the inter-human relationship; on the contrary it requires the latter as the second great command.
Reconciliation has been instituted for the disciples as ambassadors to reconcile people with
God first and then with other creatures, not only interpersonal but global, holistic reconciliation.
This is the soteriological dimension well expressed in the last verse of the text: “God made him
(Christ) who had no sin to be sin (not to become sinner) but sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). This dimension has been well expressed in the Old Testament in terms of the covenant, which required the sacrifice of animals where the blood plays the important role of purifying the guilt of the sin committed against God and against the community, which for instance could be sin against a fellow individual within the community. This perspective gave rise to the evangelistic mission through which churches are generally busy gaining souls, neglecting the physical dimension of salvation. But the soteriological perspective concerns not only human beings but also the ecological perspective as one reads in Romans 8: 20–21. The environmental dimension of reconciliation is very important because it is the first mandate given to the human being regarding his/her right and responsibility to care for other creatures. The soteriological perspective is completed by the
5.1.2 Christological Perspective
Every exegete of the New Testament who reads 2 Corinthians 5: 16–21 will be struck by the repeated use of “in Christ”, denoting the Christocentricity of the doctrine of reconciliation.
Schwobel remarks that “the Christological reference of reconciliation is more comprehensive
136 than the references of the metaphors of sacrifices or atonement” (op. cit.: 24), adding: “The fullness of the presence of God in Christ is the condition for the all-inclusive character of reconciliation” (ibid: 24). De Gruchy writes: “The world is not at the mercy of fate, … but one that has been reconciled to God in Christ” (op. cit: 53). This Christocentricity makes obvious the dimension of incarnation, embodying two or more aspects: the first being God himself in Christ reconciling the world with himself, while the second is our incarnation in Christ where we are justified as righteous before God. The third aspect of incarnation is to be found in the liturgy as
Itonde Kakoma suggests: “the language of ‘incarnation’ to describe the authentic expression of a people before God and one another is by all means appropriate” (2005:12): incarnation in this regard should also be seen in the sacramental elements. Some might ask: does the
Christological perspective of reconciliation also fit the social context of reconciliation in this world of multi-religious contexts? Of course, if Christ is the Lord, his kingdom rules over all and is for all generations. But our answer to such ecumenical questions calls for flexibility, not a
“quick fix” answer. The Christological perspective on reconciliation accords a sense of its multifaceted nature, as in the ecological dimension because “For in him God in all his fullness chose to dwell and through him to reconcile all things to himself” (Col. 1:19 -20a); Schwobel (op. cit:
24). And Christ is the focus of this ministry because of his reconciliatory office as the great high priest. It was right for John the Baptist to present him as: “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 (NIV)). Basing himself on the Old Testament the author of
Hebrews wrote: “In fact the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22 (NIV).
We also call attention to pictures or images of the reconciling Christ in a multiracial not only in a religious context, since we must keep our minds alert to how we are representing Christ. Here is a good example of the reconciling Christ according to the Kimbaguist who appeared to
Simon Kimbangu (as quoted by David W. Shenk): “In which vision Christ appeared as neither black nor white” (1997:119). We hear the cries of African poets and theologians describing
Jesus. Gabriel M. Setiloane in a poem, “I am an African”, pointed out that the white child Christ which Western theologians brought into Africa is not recognizable, like Moses wearing western garments: but the one who is sweating on the cross when He is stripped naked like us, his face and body bloody in the hot sun, is black so that we cannot resist him (1995:130). If our image of Christ is a biased one then the ministry of reconciliation will not be accepted by the people we pretend to reconcile with God and with one another. The Christological as well as the
Soteriological perspectives in the letter of 2 Corinthians 5: 16–21 are well expressed: being in
Christ requires self-judgment, renewal of behaviour; meanwhile God is the author of reconciliation and Christ the means by which it is made possible: God punished him so that we might inherit his righteousness and gain a new identity, that of children of God. This message is central in the proclamation of salvation in Christ and of reconciling people with God and one another in Christ.
Christ has to be positively presented to all the cultures of the world. The Gospel of John describes Christ using many metaphors, some of which are not found in the synoptic Gospels.
He is the living word, creator, the Lamb of God, the living water, the living bread, the door of the sheep pen, and the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. If we do present him like this we avoid the dividing Christ, which David Bosch refers to as: “two different but very muscular Christs” (1988:103): the confronting Christ does not reconcile but divides people and denominations. The Christological perspective offers divine forgiveness to humankind through the death of Christ. But it also gives us opportunities to offer pardon to those who do wrong to us.
Lastly, we should not forget about reconciliation with the spirits of our ancestors, since to Christ all powers must submit: “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Phil.2: 10). Carrying out reconciliation, in Christ churches and believers hold His authority (Matthew 28:18). Dwight N. Hopkins, inspired by Black theology, pointed out:
“The resurrected lordship cosmologically altered the balance of forces over sin’s dominion, so the kingdom of sin likewise submits to the kingdom of Christ” (2006:102). This authority conferred on the disciples for the benefit of the world operates in the baptism in Christ through the Holy Spirit: the Pneumatological perspective.
5.1.3 Pneumatological Perspective
The Soteriological and Christological aspects are achieved in terms of the Pneumatological perspective. The Holy Spirit is the excellent counsellor who convicts the world of guilt, but also conveys a knowledge of right, truth and justice and convinces people to forgive one another.
Reconciliation, most times, is experienced as difficult. Christoph Schwobel stresses the
Pneumatological perspective during three periods: the past, the present and the future. He
138 wrote: “The Spirit is in this sense both the link to the past event of Christ’s death, the medium of our relationship to the living God and effective anticipation of the perfection of this relationship in the eschaton” (op. cit.: 25). Also, Schwobel emphasizes that: “the plausibility of the notion of reconciliation and peace with God depends on explicating this largely implicit pneumatological element of the model of reconciliation” (ibid: 25). When reconciliation occurs, where tension and confrontation have held for decades, even centuries, it is the implicit work of the Holy
Spirit. There is no formula of reconciliation: the Spirit of God guides ministers of reconciliation regarding how to act in specific cases. The healing relationship between Jews and Gentiles, as in the case of Peter in the house of the Roman officer, in the book of Acts (10: 15, 34) was the work of the Holy Spirit. Many cases of reconciliation are delayed, waiting for the proper time, and while negotiations are being carried on to some degree people are afraid to be open on some issues; apologies are sometimes not accepted. These cases demonstrate that the work of reconciliation is truly the ministry of the triune God. Hence the TRC experience of Desmond
Tutu saying to the audience when he was asked not to pray before a hearing, not to invoke the help of God’s Spirit: “No, this won’t work! We really cannot start like this, … People, close your eyes so that we can pray!” (Meiring 1999:30). Reconciliation in this pneumatological perspective should be seen as a ministry of intercession as in John 17. Reconciliation is sometimes a process of confrontation, in which case it is important to emphasize that the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit are given to believers for them to become able to reconcile and comfort people. We are not saying that the Holy Spirit only ministers within the Church: he cannot be encapsulated in one specific box and such a conception should be held as wrong.
He is free to use even the institutions we consider as the most evil: however the church should be seen as his privileged and beloved institution and a dwelling place of the Holy One of Israel for the mission of reconciliation.
We cannot move from the pneumatological perspective without saying something about the truth to which the Holy Spirit will guide all people, being himself the Spirit of truth (John16: 12).
Meiring reminds one that the leaders of the ministry of reconciliation need to respect truth: “In all the traditions of religions searching for the truth turns into spiritual exercise. Finding truth, the leader will soon discover, goes far beyond establishing historical and legal facts.” (2002:5).
Finding the truth would set one free, taught Jesus Christ. According to Meiring, looking for truth
“is more than collecting facts” (ibid). Moreover, what we sometimes consider as truth is not necessarily what the other party regards as truth. Transforming conflict among people, we need to uphold the truth, within the context of the conflict. The historical perspective demonstrates
139 the interaction of: the Soteriological, Christological and Pneumatological perspectives of reconciliation. We now turn to this perspective.
5.1.4 Historical Perspective
This perspective is a broad one which cannot be explored in one or two pages but for the purposes of the topic we need to summarize its main concepts. The history of South Africa and
Angola records contact amongst different people: free settlers looking for new areas for their own safety and peace, colonizers, and hunters and merchants. This history is generally taken in a negative sense, but should it not be seen as the way by which God’s mission of reconciling and uniting people has been made possible? Despite the wickedness of humankind, God’s will was and is to reconcile and unite people for his glory. The immigration which characterized the old world, had also been characterized by violence against the first owners of the land.
It was in obedience to God’s will that a wave of missionaries arrived in Africa during the period of colonization, but those peaceful messengers were accompanied by the power of the colonizing countries from which they came. Emilio Castro testifies: “The priests came with the soldiers, the church with conquerors” (1985:4). The history of missions is often seen as evil, wiping out black people’s cultures by inculcating western civilization instead of salvation. But, as mentioned previously, the African history of Christianity did not begin with colonialization.
Furthermore, the pre-colonial era also evidenced a dramatic history of cannibalism and divisions characterized by wars between kingdoms. “We are prisoners of history,” wrote David
Bosch (1988:101): thus reconciliation becomes a field of confrontation for our mutual liberation from our prisons of history. The confrontation of MPLA, FNLA and UNITA as liberation movements with the Portuguese brought independence to Angola, which should be perceived as one of the first steps of reconciliation between Angolans and Portuguese. The confrontation of the ANC and the Apartheid regime in South Africa brought about a correction of mindsets to search for peaceful coexistence. Confrontation often precedes the process of reconciliation.
Confrontation should not be understood always as violent but might also be seen also as an opposition of opinions.
God desires the interaction of people: when He called Abraham for a mission involving such interaction, Abraham was required to leave the prison of his history, which incorporated his
140 culture, family and land, for the new identity and new culture of being a man of God. Even
Abraham did not truly understood God’s will when he was called. The Kingdom of God as perceived in the New Testament is a kingdom of all-inclusive nations gathering before the enthroned King of kings. The historical context of mission became one way in which God made reconciliation possible between different races of humankind. Today we are considering how to facilitate that interaction, which is the outcome of history, as the focus of healthy cooperation and openness in the contemporary mission perspective.
5.1.5 Missiological Perspective
The Missiological perspective, like the historical, went hand in hand with the history of
Christendom in Africa. In this section the researcher intends to offer a clear and concise view of mission in Angola and South Africa in terms of the biblical perspective on their particular contexts. In South Africa the apartheid context was altered by the endeavours of many powerful actors including the churches, who thereby accomplished their prophetic mission, but still have much to do. The missionary endeavour of the churches in Africa also contributed to the process of reconciliation. In Angola the churches should also considered to be responsible for the peace we experience, even though the military victory is often perceived as the reason for change in Angola. The churches did what they could in accordance with the Lord’s will but much is still to be accomplished. “Mission” should be understood as an “attribute of God”
(Bosch 1991:390) and as the “mother of theology”: Martin Kahler’s notion quoted by Bosch
(ibid: 16). To Bosch’s understanding of mission we need to add Ralph D. Winter’s notion of
“modality and sodality”. Ming-Suen Po presents the notion here below:
Ralph D. Winter proposes a lay ministry model that is built on the interrelationship between two structures: the ecclesiastical structure (modalities) for building a communal life, and the missionary structures (sodalities) for outreach to win the lost
(1974:121 -139) (2002: 59).
Both structures become decisive in determining God’s will as regards the transformation of our relationship firstly with Him and then with one another. Whereas modalities (churches) cannot cross social and political boundaries, sodalities by their essence transcend these frontiers, with creative missiologists working in all spheres of the social sphere, bypassing the traditional
141 understanding of sodalities, religious para-ecclesial structures. Lutiniko, explaining the work of the Mennonites in the Congo, shows that it was the result of both structures: in his view the
“Anabaptist presence in Africa resulted from the early twentieth century missionary activities of various Mennonites churches (modalities) and teams of missionaries (sodalities)” (2006:133).
In Bosch’s understanding modality and sodality are described as ecclesiae and ecclesiola: “It was not the church (ecclesia) that was the bearer of mission, but the small, revived community inside the church, the ecclesiola inside ecclesiae” (opcit: 253). In the Acts of the Apostles we notice how the mission of reconciliation travelled from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to the extremities of the earth by means of both structures, redeeming structures working together in transforming the world. Reconciling people should not only be seen as church planting, which is not excluded, but also as dealing with the socio-political and economic issues of people, because: “The churches in our day face a variety of missionary options” (Emilio Castro op. cit.:
14). For this reasons in applying the practical dimension, the contextualization of the missiological perspective is necessary for ministers working in any social context of reconciliation. Mbala Vita Lusunzi’s powerful explanation of how contradiction between the blessing ceremonies of Christianity and religious tradition embodied his experience is worthy of attention:
When I was about to leave my family to embrace my career the church pastor came to bless me in the presence of all, but my father who took part in the ceremony was not convinced that I had been blessed. Later he called my mother and my brothers behind the house and said “Now I want to bless my son; forget about your church blessing.
Then he stood and spread his legs and asked me to pass under his legs three times; then he held both my hands. We jumped up three times and he said, “Go, say a word to be heard by all, step on a stick and break it; be a man and blessed my son” (Luanda
16-09-2006; edited verbatim account)
In this way, the churches really need to understand the social context in order to contextualize the Gospel within it. The TRC as a sodality in the above sense needs to renew its mandate in the case of South Africa; meanwhile Angola needs to create it for the healing of the country.
How? The following section on practical perspectives will explore this aspect.
5.2. Practical Perspectives
The second part of this chapter discusses the four practical perspectives which act as the main anchors by which reconciliation is held in order for it to occur: cultural, sociological, economic and political. All are covered by the contextual dimension, which serves as an umbrella term for all of them. In the chapter considering Africa’s need of reconciliation, we described the different and fertile grounds of tensions in Africa but we now need to look at these dimensions as fertile soil for peaceful coexistence and possible reconciliation where tensions are still imprisoning our societies. Reconciling people is a noble mission that requires careful consideration of all these contexts: when one of these dimensions is omitted reconciliation fails. Erich Weingartner, describing the “Tozanso Process”, describes important lessons, such as: “In circumstances like
Korea, it is better to involve political authorities in an open process than to try bypass them”
5.2.1. Cultural Perspective
Today each African person is fighting to retain his/her culture: no one wants to embrace his/her neighbours’ cultures or be invaded by surrounding cultures. We are truly prisoners of our history. Most of our conflicts are generated by our cultures, which may have given us insights into how to do things well and how to avoid wrongs. Culture is a wide field, which incorporates many aspects of society such as languages, traditions, sport, art, and religion, even psychology. Dealing with culture in the field of reconciliation requires skills and knowledge. In the South African experience we learn, in terms of the cultural dimension of reconciliation, the theology of “Ubuntu”. In Angola we proclaim the “Tata Nlongi” and “Udjango” theologies, which we consider as counselling, or theologies of care: one from the culture of Congo and the other from the Umbungu culture. We will place them in a parallel comparative table in order to illustrate similarities and divergences. Emilio Castro defines the thrust of these theologies, which: “also reflect the richness of church in our day, the interplay of culturally linked manifestations of the Christian faith” (op. cit.: 15). Ubuntu theology is well known in South
Africa and has a literature but the Angolan theologies are not really known and do not have a literature. Ubuntu is registered in the Black consciousness where Black theology should be seen as a further contributor to overturning apartheid. We should not dismiss these Angolan
143 theologies as theologies even if they are not really known as such, but are culturally useful in social transformation.
126.96.36.199. Ubuntu theology: an effort for reconciliation, in South Africa
What does Ubuntu entail? To answer these questions, it is good to say something about
Archbishop Desmond Tutu who is regarded as one of the prominent exponents of such a theology. Desmond Mpilo Tutu is without doubt the most influential church leader in South
Africa, in recent times. He was born in Klerksdorp (1931). His father was a teacher, his mother a domestic servant. He too was trained as a teacher and taught for some years, before he received a call to become a priest in the Anglican Church. After theological training in
Johannesburg and London, he accepted a part-time post at the Federal Theological Seminary
(Fort Hare). In 1970 he moved to the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, before travelling to the United Kingdom where he was appointed co-director of the Theological
Education Fund of the World Council of Churches. In 1975 Tutu returned to South Africa, firstly to become dean of Johannesburg and later as bishop of Lesotho. In 1978 he was appointed general secretary of the South African Council of Churches. During this time his theological insights as well as his leadership in the struggle against apartheid drew world-wide attention. In
1984 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to him. In 1985 he was elected bishop of
Johannesburg and in 1986 archbishop of Cape Town. In 1995 President Nelson Mandela appointed Desmond Tutu as chair of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission where he, arguably, played the most important part of his career. Tutu has been recognized worldwide for his leadership and theological insights, as well as for his role as reconciler in the community. He is the recipient of honorary doctoral degrees (inter alia from the universities of
Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Colombia, and Pretoria). He is a popular author. Among his many books are: Crying in the Wilderness (1982), Hope and Suffering (1983), The Rainbow People
of God (1994), An African Prayer Book (1995), and No Future without Forgiveness (1999)
A number of books have been written about Tutu’s Ubuntu theology: among others, Michael
Battle’s Reconciliation: The Ubuntu Theology of Desmond Tutu and Michael Nuttall’s Number
Two to Tutu: A Memoir. Many other sources which refer to Ubuntu have helped us greatly in considering Ubuntu as a well-known theology in the South African context. Briefly, Ubuntu as
144 theology, according to Desmond Tutu, is peaceful coexistence and a consideration of others in the community since we constantly need one another. As he puts it:
That story speaks about how human beings need each other, that God has made us so that we know we need each other – In our African idiom we say: ‘A person is a person through other persons’. None of us comes into the world fully formed. (1997:5).
This is the basic thought of Ubuntu theology. It rests on mutual respect between human beings, not succumbing to racial discrimination or human rights abuses. This theology has its roots in the African culture where human beings are seen to learn from one another, to experience their togetherness. Tutu said: “We would not know how to think, or walk, or speak, or behave as human beings unless we learned it from other human beings” (Ibid: 6). It is a theology of
“interdependence”. No one is “self-sufficient”; if he/she attempts to be he/she will end up a
“subhuman” (ibid). Ubuntu touches upon every sphere of our lives, and our culture. Tutu explains:
In Africa we have something called ubuntu in Nguni language, or botho in
Sotho, which is difficult to translate into English. It is the essential of being human. It speaks of the fact that my humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours. I am human because I belong. It speaks about wholeness, it speaks about compassion. A person with ubuntu is welcoming, hospitable, warm, and generous, willing to share…For they have a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that they belong in a greater whole and are diminished when others are tortured or oppressed, or treated as if they were less than who they are. It gives people resilience, enabling them to survive and emerge still human despite all efforts to dehumanize them. It means it is not a great good to be successful through being aggressively competitive, that our purpose is social and communal harmony and well-being (op. cit.: 7/8).
Tutu’s theology centres upon this notion. It is a theology which confronts evil in the community when others are violated and diminished. Michael Battle described ubuntu as theology which denies racial discrimination: “Tutu tirelessly denied that the color of one’s skin can be an index of one’s value as a human being. Indeed, his Ubuntu theology can be understood in its entirety as a Christian rebuttal to such a claim” (1997: 1). Ubuntu is an African notion. Tutu saw Ubuntu
145 in some form in many African countries. In Kenya, after the Mau Mau campaign, Tutu remarked: “Ubuntu was abroad in the post-independence of Kenya” and in Zimbabwe also,
“Ubuntu was at work” (1999:36). There was no retaliation but forgiveness. However, Tutu observed the failure of Ubuntu in Congo and Rwanda. Tutu asks: “Where was Ubuntu in the
Belgian Congo in1960s?” Why did the Rwandans forget Ubuntu in 1994?” (Ibid: 36). Michael
Mnyandu, in the same way as Tutu, perceives Ubuntu as central in his article: “Ubuntu as the basis of Authentic Humanity: an African Christian Perspective”. In his introduction he states:
“The objective of this essay is a better understanding of the concept of ubuntu as the soul of
African society” (2003:304). It is according to him God’s ethical gift to all human beings:
“Ubuntu is a free divine gift as well as positive training in and regular practicing of virtue by doing good deeds and treating other people with respect as abantu (human beings)” (ibid:
307). Tutu’s ubuntu theology was tested and proved by the TRC success and helped to bring about the dramatic change in South Africa: the new challenge of the new South Africa, democratic and open to a new type of understanding because of its complex multi-cultural dimensions as a nation.
Orlando de Almeida testifies to this in his article: “Moving into dance,” where he explains that we are not fighting but we are dancing (2003:18). Culture created apartheid policy and culture overturned it; theology elaborated apartheid discourse and theology in response elaborated a destructive discourse so as to dispose of it. In this respect one may enquire about the “Tata
Nlongi” and “Udjango” theologies in Angola.
188.8.131.52. The Tata Nlongi Theology: A Hope for the National Reconciliation
The Tata Nlongi theology is still unknown and as an oral theology it does not yet possess any literature. We explain it in the hope that future generations will articulate and structure it very well. For the moment we erect the first cornerstone of the so-called theology. Tata Nlongi was a catechist, a teacher during the colonial period in the Congo tribal context. He should be understood as assimilated into the rural context, educated, civilized, knowing a little Portuguese or French but not as well as those assimilated in the urban areas. This is a brief historical context of Tata Nlongi, of which a literal translation could be “father teacher”. Why should such a person serve as a reference for a theological model in Angola? I knew such persons as servants in my infancy when Tata nlongi Bivwala Daniel arrived the first time to request my
146 father to let me go to school. My father had refused to allow me to learn western “witchcraft”
(the knowledge of how to write and read, gained from the first contact with missionaries, was construed as witchcraft). It was Tata nlongi who helped my father and my mother to understand that it was for their good that their son learnt to read and write. It was not easy to make them understand. I also saw Tata Nlongi mobilizing the community for worship, for the collective task of repairing wooden bridges, visiting families every morning, comforting people when they were frightened by any negative event.
When I left the rural area for the capital city I could not discover such a person and ministry amongst those called ministers / pastors. When I realized my calling to the ministry, the Tata
Nlongi image rapidly began to preoccupy my mind. What exactly did the Tata Nlongi ministry mean? And what should it entail? These questions caused me to investigate the Congo culture where I established that the Tata Nlongi was really a product of culture. When I learned my own proverbs I understood that one’s sense of being in the community means taking care of each other. One of them is: “Bole Bantu umosi kininga”, a literal translation being “Two are persons, one is a shadow”. I observed a traditional gathering for dialogue and conflict resolutions called “Nku”, which is a traditional king’s mat on which the throne is situated for him to welcome his subjects and solve problems within the community
Today this gathering is well known as an expression of traditional dialogue accompanying every event held by the
Congolese people in Angola: Marriage counselling, death, divorce, management of conflicts or transformation of conflict, consideration of tribal beliefs, the value of totems and the reverence of ancestral names. I found the qualities of Tata Nlongi in the traditional men and women. So I taught it in Angola as part of Angolan theology’s contribution to the religious and African traditions. In the short period of my research at Luanda during which I discussed Angolan theology, the Tata Nlongi theology was encouraged as a model by the majority of the theologians we interviewed.
Briefly, the Tata Nlongi theology concerns the care of each other, the sense of being in the community, not being isolated. It comforts, enables people to work, develops their environment and seeks peaceful coexistence. It avoids violence, adopts silence instead of confrontation with one’s neighbours who may be wrongdoers.
In addition, Michael G. Comerford alludes to Ondjango, a traditional parliament where the transformation of conflict and many issues were discussed in the presence of the soba, a
147 traditional political municipal administrator (2005:218/221). The Ondjango should be seen as theology in the Umbundu context and be encouraged to promote reconciliation for Angola, as should the Tata Nlongi theology. If we compare Ubuntu theology to that of Tata Nlongi we initially observe similarities: a sense of belonging within the community, hospitality, care of each other, seeking for harmonious co-existence. But divergences are also evident. In the case of the Ubuntu theology the sense of the defence of human rights, and its confrontation of the apartheid regime, has been much discussed in literature and is well-known from its most famous promoter. The Tata Nlongi theology is still in a conceptual phase lacking literature, and mainly concerns tribal issues: even though in colonial times some Tata Nlongi were involved in national liberation, as in the case of the prophet Simao Concalves Toko, not many others were.
This theology does not at present benefit from a promoter: we hope to fill this role because it is of value as regards resolving and transforming conflicts.
This traditional ideology of “Nku” where the spokesmen possess the qualities of the Tata Nlongi must be promoted at the national level as part of the struggle for national reconciliation, as must the Ondjango in the Umbundu context. Forgiveness and truth as evident in the Tata
Nlongi theology during the traditional gathering are central values of reconciliation. The wrongdoer is summoned before the elders, not the “sobas” who are political administrators in the rural area, to which Michael Comerford refers. But the spokesmen in the Tata Nlongi are still active in the capital city and urban towns. Forgiveness is granted after the truth has been told and the wrongdoer has paid for his/her guilt according to the requirements of the gathering of people, which in ancient times might have taken the form of being beaten in public, as a means of dealing out justice: then reconciliation could take place. Retributive as well as restorative justice is found in the Tata Nlongi theology of reconciliation. Today for forgiveness to be granted, since most people are Christians retribution is not the focus: confession before the elders satisfies the victim and reconciliation then obviously takes place. In terms of the leading theology of the TRC, Ubuntu, forgiveness was one of the miracles. The case of Ms
Ngewu recorded in volume five of the TRC report illustrates this point:
What we are hoping for when we embrace the notion of reconciliation is that we restore the humanity to those who were perpetrators. We do not want to return evil by another evil. We simply want to ensure that the perpetrators are returned to humanity
In addition to the Ubuntu and the Tata Nlongi theologies, the cultural dimension of reconciliation is necessary, because it promotes interactions among people. Culture finds its expression in the arts and education, where unity should be promoted. Religious or Christian music can be a hindrance to reconciliation but, skillfully used, all music could be helpful for the healing of society. In recovering from trauma, healing music can offer really helpful therapy.
Reconciliation as ministry needs to take account of these issues and use them for interaction, as Orlando suggested, “moving into dance”. Yet most Angolan secular music is very violent, as referred to above, which calls for more emphasis being placed by art and music on peaceful co-habitation not division, of which Alidjuma has also sung. Popular instructive music, well known, could be one of the mediums for action and interaction which might represent a first step towards dialogue among people in a divided society. The cultural dimension should be viewed together with the sociological dimension, discussed next.
5.2.2. Sociological Perspective
Reconciliation is a necessity for any society small or large, but to minister reconciliation to a divided people we need to know the structure of the society in which the reconciliation is needed. South Africa, we remarked, is a cosmopolitan society, two nations in one according to
President Mbeki (2000:75). Vicente wrote that our past still lives with us and it is obvious that
South Africa sociologically is a divided society, even in the churches. In Angola we portrayed the divisions among Angolans: the Langa and the Shungu, the mutual insults used a society divided by unequal economic power. We must also include the high rate of illiteracy within
Angola. Since in both countries divisions still exist there is a perennial need for reconciliation, especially at the national level, in both countries. To overcome these divisions once again the
Ubuntu principle in South Africa should be actively and creatively used. We have already pointed out in the South African experience that churches need to experiment with the planting of new churches where young ministers, white and black, could work together with trust and confidence in each other. New primary and high schools could be founded to promote the interaction of all South Africans, while universities need to renew the policy of distribution of bursaries to all South Africans, whites and blacks and foreign students. The actual conditions, under which non-South African students must study in South African Universities, are not at all satisfactory. Reconciliation as a ministry should collaborate with civil society in order to empower people to discover their dignity and to respect each other as Imago-Dei, which
149 constitutes the philosophy of Ubuntu. Tensions stemming from different traditional beliefs among South Africans have to be transcended by a mutual acceptance that we are different.
The Luena Memorandum could teach us many lessons. The decades of civil conflict have destroyed us completely and we are tired of being betrayed and of hating one another. We need to rebuild our country. Why should we continue to insult each other? This gap could be healed by the ministry of reconciliation in Angola which should create an open space for dialogue where Angolans in the local social structures could sit and talk openly so as to achieve such mutual understanding and acceptance, rejecting mutual insults. This is why we suggested an Angolan Truth and Reconciliation Commission (ATRC) though it could be called by another appropriate name: as long as Angolans are allowed to evaluate the past our hopes will be satisfied. It could be termed the “Nkuu” (dialogue) Commission.
In this regard the Tata Nlongi theology could be experimented with and appreciated. We have to seek the reconciliation and the healing of our land: we need to confess and ask for forgiveness as did South Africans. Even though they are divided to some degree the situation is not as severe as it was during apartheid. We too need to forgive one another for the healing of our land as we read in Psalm 85, because “Reconciliation is built on a mutual understanding and acceptance of these differences and a capacity of people to manage conflict and live with others”, as the fifth volume of the TRC Report (1998: 443) puts it. In our society, the civil war left us the legacy of orphans and street children. A ministry of reconciliation needs to focus on how to help them, so that they become useful to society instead of being a problem as is the case today.
In the TRC experience it became necessary not only to revert to the past, but also to take care of the deceased. In some cases the remains of victims had to be reburied according to the traditional rituals, to heal some of the wounds of the past. The ancestors needed to be recognized and honoured. African theologians today are aware of this, as Sylvester wrote:
“Moreover, most African theologians further assert that the ancestors contributed toward an understanding and worshipping of God, as well as the inception of Christianity” (2005:93). This makes reconciliation a holistic ministry. The structure of Angolan society goes beyond the political parties’ structures to the traditional ones where the sobas (counsellors) are recognized in the management of the municipalities, a fact which the national reconciliation dialogue
150 should also take into consideration. The social perspective goes hand in hand with the economic and political perspectives, a discussion of which follows.
5.2.3. Economic Perspective
This is a sensitive and disturbing issue. In this section the writer wishes to argue that the ministry of reconciliation should help leaders to find means to alter a situation which causes many conflicts among people. We simply want the economic issue to be addressed and to establish a fair lifestyle amongst rich and poor, to enable the poorest to acquire the means to supply the necessities of daily life: this is merely just, and before God we will need to justify the use of what He gives us in our beautiful land with its many rich mineral resources. The South
African experience shows that the poor are becoming poorer and the rich wealthier. And if, as many think, the apartheid regime is still alive within South African life, one of the most crucial issues is still economic inequality. It is known that many whites and political elites are rich and the majority of blacks still poor, as we have noted in the third chapter of this thesis.
In the same vein the Angolan experience has told us that economics was one of the main issues of the civil war in Angola and that the war was a means for the adversaries to reap economic benefits. The lack of transparency regarding the state’s budget, half of which is missing, is the reason why the National Bank took the decision to appoint overseas auditors in all financial institutions. In Angola too, the poor are still poor and the wealthy are still rich.
Millions are still discriminated against by a minority. The majority still suffer, working for a miserable salary. Yet the constitution, Article 18, stipulates the equality of all citizens under the law, including economic equality. A look at the statistical data on Angola regarding this issue published by Kairos-Africa causes one really to feel ashamed and sorrowful:
Poverty statistics: Population living in absolute and relative poverty 82.5%, Maternal mortality rate during 1996 1.9%, Population without access to drinking water 62%, population without access to adequate sanitation 56%, population without access to healthcare 76%, …Unemployment 80% Adult literacy 42%, Disabled landmine victims
86,000. ( www.kairos-Africa )
We understand that while we were mourning the deaths of our brothers and sisters there was not enough time to take care of each other, but the moment has now come to rebuild the country and restore our Angolan identity. We believe that through a ministry of reconciliation the churches can significantly contribute to healing our beautiful country, to addressing the economic issues. In South Africa we noted that the TRC was helpful in dealing with national reconciliation, placing a particular emphasis on economic inequality, and that it pleaded for the payment of victims of the apartheid regime. Many critics of the TRC’s process mentioned the fact that reparation and rehabilitation for victims were slow to arrive, as wrote Hugo Van der
Merwe (2003:4). For Angola, as regards economics, we suggested that churches train their members and pastors as chaplains to assist the state in dealing with financial issues, for moral reasons. Comerford points to this sensitive issue when he comments on Malaquias’ doctoral thesis that “His overall assessment of Angolan NGOs prior to 1995 is rather negative: it creates the impression that the founding of these NGOs was more about personal gain for their founders than about pursuing objectives in relation to development or reconstruction”
This comment also shows how the economic issue has to be taken seriously by at least three parties: the Government or state, national NGOs and international NGOs, which must use funds objectively for the reconstruction and the development of the country. How many local initiatives lack support while the already established institutions misuse the funds, thereby hindering newly created institutions? Malaquias’ observation should not be rejected but is rather to be taken seriously.
The plight of the poor and the necessity of redress has already been mentioned. We have really to be careful in such a process not to dwell on the wrongs already done, so as merely to feed emotions, but we do need to discover how bad the damage to our humanity was. It could follow, as we recommend, a process like the TRC. The evil done in Angola kept people in a traumatic state, and their healing will take place only if an opportunity is given to them to breathe by recounting what they saw and offering a sincere pardon to all offenders once for all.
There will be no real reconciliation without true confession and true justice, of which forgiveness and peace are a logical consequence.
5.2.4. Political Perspective
Reconciliation in its political sense assists people to be free, but also to be responsible, to be patriotic, by defending their rights and those of others, participating in the reconstruction of the nation by free and democratic elections, combating the status quo where centralized power is held by one institution. The reconciliation process aids people to access a democratic state and enjoy freedom. Here we recall the South African experience: we will always remember the dramatic change which has taken place since 27 April 1994, with South Africa becoming a truly democratic state where people are free to criticize and express their opinions, thereby showing the maturity of people and government. But evil will never end as long as we live in this world, and true reconciliation is a hope of the eschaton (Schwobel 2003:25). This is why we continue to experience human rights abuses, a high rate of crime, rape, kidnapping of people, theft of cars and transmission of HIV by injection and the belief that this can be healed by having sex with a baby girl etc. We encourage the work of chaplains with the security and military forces.
We also encourage the same in the hospitals and even in hotels, where we recommend that chaplains should perform worship services with patients and tourists to meet the spiritual needs of some tourists. We have noticed and encourage the healthy collaboration of the South African
Government with the churches, clearly seen in the TRC and the presence of chaplains in the security forces, hospitals and military camps.
In the case of Angola, we argued that the memorandum of Luena is a promising beginning. We need to accept it and proceed further with national reconciliation. Churches should not be confused with political parties (Comerford op. cit.: 22 and Henderson, op. cit.: 222, cited above). To this end we uphold a healthy collaboration of churches with the state, but always keeping a proper distance between the two. Because the churches are “moral authorities enjoying significant popular legitimacy” it is important to distinguish their authority from that of those in power during war, argued Michael Comerford (2005: 62). Critics of the media in
Angola and of the lack of freedom of expression in this arena during the civil war have said the media stoked the fire, inciting division among Angolans who had already been divided since colonial times. Luis Ngimbi referred to this as “coterie evangelism”, focusing on specific tribes like the Bakongo, Umbundu, Ngangela, and Ovimbundu – and thus further dividing the people of the country. And likewise the media, according to James Lawrence, suffered from a lack of freedom: some journalists were detained, some killed, as in the case of Alegria Gustavo of
Radio National de Angola and the detained Gilberto Neto of Folha 8 independent newspaper, according to the Kairos-Africa Protest letter (July 19, 2001). Reconciliation in such political conditions needs courage to defend and set free the Angolan nation: the churches have to be part of this. Constructive criticism, formulated by Michael Comerford, merits repetition here:
Had the churches been incorporated into the negotiation structures adopted by Troika or the UN, their outcomes may have been different, but perhaps not. The churches themselves appear to have been insufficiently organised to make an intervention at this level (op. cit.: 62).
Comerford encouraged future church leaders to be politically active and courageous, to undertake initiatives in any instance where the light is needed. If the churches and Christians are to succeed in becoming the light of the world, it is particularly in this field of reconciliation, but we will have to work hard. The TRC report Volume 4 confirms: “African Initiated Churches have, at times, been regarded as inward looking and disinterested in political participation.”
(1998:62). As mentioned previously, church and State need a healthy collaboration, both being
God’s instruments for the welfare of the world (Samuel Kobia, 2004: 17).
The civil war in Angola is regarded as one of the greatest crimes against humanity, contended
Solomon Schimmel, mentioning it along with: “The ‘killing fields’ of Khmer Rouge in Colombia, the Hutu massacres of Tutsi in Rwanda, the Serbian ethnic ‘cleansing’ of the Muslims in the former Yugoslavia and of the Albanians in Kosovo, and the unbelievable brutalities of civil wars in Angola, Sierra Leone, and many other countries” (2002:6). The United Nations would be well within its rights to ask the Angolan government to help establish an international court to try the civil war crimes. We thank God for the first steps towards peace but we need to give close attention to those voices calling for true reconciliation. The establishment of an “Angola Truth and Reconciliation Commission” (ATRC) – call it even a “Tata Nlongi Commission” or
Ondjango Commission – may help all Angolans to evaluate the past and heal old wounds. We have also suggested the placing of chaplains in the hospitals, schools, police stations, military camps and in the big hotels.
As regards the educational system, instead of establishing our “own” universities, it would be better for all to work together in an interdenominational faculty of theology within the Agustino
Neto National University. Some will surely ask whether such a concept is part of the ministry of reconciliation. The answer is certainly yes! Because, at the University, national cadres are trained in togetherness, and there the image of unity as the outcome of the reconciliation of the nation should be evident, in the meetings between students and lecturers under the chaplains of the university.
Juridical issues should be a further goal of this ministry. However, critics perceive the institutions of justice negatively. The sense of justice that churches teach in the pulpit should be heard and seen in action during reconciliation initiatives, and the churches may have to remind the jurists of their duty by the presence of chaplains working with them in the courts. Hence at this point we need to formulate some practical recommendations as to what should be done, based on the findings of this thesis, and try to summarize them in a general conclusion.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In this thesis the first chapter explained the relevance of the subject, which stems from a deep experience of suffering from the Angolan civil war’s consequences and a consciousness that the spontaneous peace since the signing of Luena’s memorandum of understanding has excited all Angolans, including myself, to look forward to what we can do for the future of our country. This led me to determine four objectives as a goal for this thesis:
• Understanding of the challenges emerging after the peace agreement and comprehending that national reconciliation is the most important of all these.
• Assisting the Protestant Church Councils: ‘Conselho de Igreja Cristas em Angola (CICA) and
Alliance Evangelica em Angola (AEA)’ to unite instead of operating separately.
• Promoting the national effort to bring about a lasting peace, to encourage socio-economic development and
• Finally to discuss the understanding of mission as the holistic task of the churches, summarized in four mandates: Kerugma, Diakonia, Koinonia, and Leiturgia.
The approach taken was, firstly, to analyse the socio-political, economic, cultural and other factors which led Africans in general, and South Africans and Angolans in particular, into discrimination, racism and many other forms of conflict. Secondly, I wanted to discover the role that the churches, in view of the Biblical imperative for reconciliation, should play. Thirdly, I endeavoured to describe and analyse the South African experience of truth and reconciliation, before attempting to apply my findings to the Angola situation. And finally, from this analysis, I hope to develop suitable principles for a ministry of reconciliation that may serve the churches in my home country well.
The second chapter, Africa: a Continent in Need of Reconciliation, discussed the question of the legacy of a lifelong presidency, human rights abuses, political tensions, rebellions, economic abuse and many diseases everywhere in Africa. In the main debates concerning
Africa at the beginning of the 21 st
century we indicate the despair and hope within her. We demonstrate that this continent is a field of various tensions. Firstly we discussed the
156 leadership legacies on both sides, political and religious. African leaders like to stay in power until death: the notion of a kingdom still remains in their mind and democracy faces a very major struggle despite some exceptions. Political, economic and socio-cultural tensions everywhere in Africa and the problematics of poverty and HIV/AIDS, as well as religious and ideological tensions, all these are reasons for despair in Africa. But we have been encouraged by some authors in terms of their hope that Africa will play an important role in the world
The role of the Church in Africa despite her legacy of disunities and many other issues not dealt with in this thesis is also discussed: it is still the “bearer of the presence of the kingdom through history”, but not a righteous community so much as a sinful one (Newbigin 1978:59): only by grace do the churches play their role of salt and light. We concluded that in reality
Africa urgently is in need of reconciliation.
In the third chapter the focus falls on the South African experience. The 1994 election of
Nelson Mandela is described as the departure point. But we discover that South Africa is still a divided country and needs further reconciliation. We offered a retrospective description of the apartheid regime; we explored the circumstances that gave rise to the negotiations which led to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). We examined the process of the TRC through its three Committees, Human Rights Violations, Reparation and Rehabilitation and Amnesty.
We appreciated that the work of the TRC was not easy since the country was in that period between hope and despair. In the actual present situation the struggle for healthy interaction between whites and blacks constitutes a new challenge, as does the economic situation.
We arrived at the role of the Churches when we examined the four dimensions of mission: as
Kerugma, preaching the gospel is the way to encourage interaction in mutual respect of the other as “abantu” (human beings). We also proposed the planting of new churches for a new
South Africa. In terms of Diakonia, as the service dimension of mission, we recommended various kinds of chaplaincies. With respect to Koinonia we reinforced the importance of interaction and unity in fellowship. Many social activities could be helpful to encourage a greater fellow-feeling among all South Africans. And in regard to leiturgia we explored the way the reconciled people of God could worship, suggesting that Freedom Day could constitute a particular occasion for the whole nation to gather and worship God. Then we described South
Africa as a complex society – a cosmopolitan one where the ecumenical dimension is very important.
The fourth focus is the Angolan experience. The year 2002 is considered as a departure point, containing two important events which drew world attention to Angola: The death of Jonas
Savimbi on 22 February 2002, which wrought spontaneous peace in Angola and led to the
Luena memorandum of 4 April. The second event was the solar eclipse in December, which brought many visitors to Angola, since the civil war had ended. The retrospective description of
Angola in the discussion of colonization and the slave trade recapitulated the context in which the formation of the three national movements for the Angolan Independence took place: the
MPLA in 1956; FNLA in 1957, initially as Uniao das Populacoes de Angola (UPA); and UNITA in 1966. These three movements should have cooperated, but, as described earlier, clashed instead. The churches in that period supported particular liberation movements and consequently failed in their prophetic mission until eventually, the Roman Catholic and then the
Protestant churches became stronger in creating the Inter-Ecclesial Committee for Peace in
Angola (COIEPA) in 1999 (Comerford 2005: 54). They led many initiatives for mediation between MPLA and UNITA. This background led us to investigate the role of the churches after the signing of the memoranda of both Luena and Cabinda. Many challenges face Angola today, which are the legacy of the civil war and which were listed earlier. The four dimensions of mission which the Angolan churches could carry out in this context were discussed.
We finally observed that the Angolan experience is like the South African one, which encouraged us to suggest an Angolan Truth and Reconciliation Commission (ATRC). The exact name does not matter but the principle is to evaluate the past for the purpose of the healing of memories. The Cabinda issue was considered and it was concluded that there is an urgent need for inclusive dialogue on this issue. We emphasised that the future of Angola is balanced between opportunity and danger and that the state could assist, especially if it calls an urgent gathering to establish a commission to evaluate the past, as the South African
Government did. Victims (such as the “comfort women” in the case of Korea and Japan) need an opportunity to tell their stories for their emotional healing (Jon M. Van Dyke 2006:12). We also understood from the field work that the churches’ leaders are divided regarding a truth commission in Angola: some are in favour, others doubtful. But in attempting to explain the concept we were encouraged to bring the issue to the national audience and await the reaction, as a witness to what the churches can offer as a message from God.
Subsequently the fifth chapter focused on the Development of a Ministry of Reconciliation for
the Angolan Churches: Theological and Practical Observations.
Five of the former held our attention: the soteriological dimension, focusing on salvation as
God’s ministry, links to the Christological dimension which concentrates on Christ’s being made sin for us, to be himself priest and sacrifice once for all on the cross, where reconciliation in all its ultimate instances has been made possible. The pneumatological dimension is linked to the christological as well as to the soteriological aspects, understanding the work of the Holy Spirit in the world and the Church as his chosen instrument, but does not hinder the Holy Spirit’s freedom to use any means to bring about reconciliation, which need not follow a formula. We need to submit to him in order to be guided by him. In terms of the historical dimension we studied the context of the South African experience of apartheid and the establishment of the
TRC as well as the Angolan experience of civil war. The missiological perspective itself focuses its attention on holistic mission, defined as “God’s attribute” (Bosch 1991:390), by making use of the theological dimensions as well as carrying out the practical dimensions through the redeeming structures of modality and sodality.
We next moved to the four practical dimensions: Cultural, Sociological, Economical and
Political, seeking a clear understanding of our responsibility for the ministry of reconciliation.
Cultural perspectives draw attention to the South African effort of contextualizing Ubuntu theology as a typical model for the ministry of reconciliation: it was fairly successful in the TRC while in Angola the Tata Nlongi theology likewise offers a hope in this respect.
In the present chapter, the last, the writer provides a conclusion and recommendations. We indicated that reconciliation should be clearly defined (Meiring 2006:4), and we need to understand what theologians, sociologists, and others mean by reconciliation. Who does it concern? Is it structural (institutional), societal (communities), interpersonal or individual? All definitions should be contextualized within history.
Truth, justice, forgiveness and much commitment are ingredients of reconciliation (Meiring
2006:5-6). Forgiveness is the first step of healing, where Mandela set a powerful example in
1994 because of his willingness to forgive. Archbishop Desmond Tutu voiced a major concern about forgiveness: “we do want to forgive but we don’t know whom to forgive” (1999:115).
Forgiveness is not initially for the sake of one who has offended me but it is firstly mine, for my own healing; then it can be offered to other people. With this in mind I now wish to move toward making certain recommendations for Angola, gleaning ideas inter alia from the South African experience.
6.1. Final recommendations
Angola has been systematically exploited since colonial times and now its inhabitants experience much suffering and extreme poverty: one might point out that we are Angolans neither by accident nor by choice, but as part of God’s plan that has given us the mandate to care for and protect this part of the world. National reconstruction becomes the interest not only of the state but also of the churches and communities of faith as well as of every individual in his/her field of action. Therefore the recommendations are summarized in four sections: To the
State and Society; to the churches and communities of faith; specific recommendations for the
Mennonite churches in Angola; and finally suggestions for further research.
6.1.1. To The State and Society
1.1 The South African experiences have taught us a great deal. Why should we in Angola likewise not evaluate our past? We suggest the creation of a commission which will evaluate the damage of the civil war, crimes against the civilian population, reparation for the human rights violations of the past, and plan for the future to avoid the repetition of similar events in the country. We suggest that the state negotiate with churches regarding the constitution of such a commission and its mandate, objectives, time-frame and the election of its members.
1.2. Repentance and forgiveness in Angola, as in South Africa, are needed for the healing of our wounds and national reconciliation. The state and former belligerents need to repent and we, the people, need to tell the stories of what has happened in the presence of all Angolans.
We draw from the TRC’s recommendations regarding Reparation and Rehabilitation, Gross
Violations of Human Rights and on Amnesty (volume five, section 85):
Recommendations for the establishment of the special units to follow up on the uncompleted work of the investigation unit, in particular to investigate gross human rights violations that resulted from political conflicts on the past, should be resisted. Such action would militate against the spirit of understanding the transcending of the divisions of the past, against bringing to a close a chapter in our history. It would negate the spirit of agreement that gave us our democracy. It is a very sensitive issue that requires great wisdom. It would be politically unfeasible to prosecute all those who committed gross human rights violations in the course of the liberation struggle and who failed to apply for amnesty (Op. cit.: 454/5)
Wisdom is needed in establishing a commission to investigate the past and we would like to avoid some of the mistakes that the TRC made in the course of its activities.
1.3 National Reconciliation is a necessity for the moment but should be preceded by a truth commission as suggested above. The churches through COIEPA are motivated to assist in national reconciliation which, for some leaders, has already been accomplished, while others hold that the cease-fire or even reconciliation between political parties does not mean national reconciliation. The theme “Contribution of Justice in National Reconciliation”
(COIEPA report 2003) revealed that the churches are striving to achieve that goal for the welfare of all Angola. Repeatedly the document argued: “In other words, a human rights strategy for education would help to promote the national reconciliation process” (COIEPA
2003: 20). As we have pointed out, justice has to be done, and seen to be done, otherwise it will be a mirage. Volume one of the TRC Report reveals: “Reconciliation is not about being cosy; it is not about pretending that things were other than they were. Reconciliation based on falsehood, on not facing reality, is not true reconciliation and will not last” (op. cit.:
17). We thank our leaders and all Angolans for the first steps they have made but we must courageously face the reality, asking why we killed ourselves and caused so much damage to our people and our land. We have to move from a peace brought about by conquest to a negotiated peace where there is neither winner nor loser. The agenda of national reconciliation should correct the language of violence which we have inherited from the evil civil war. Because we need to tell the truth, the case of the death of President Neto needs
161 investigation (Bridgland, 1986: 282). The Belgians and Congolese set up a Commission in
1999 to investigate Lumumba’s murder (Annelies, Verdoolaege & Paul, Kerstens 2004:75) www.galegroup.com.innopac.up.ac.za
and the truth was revealed. It would be helpful for
Angolans to establish such a commission to investigate the death of Dr. Augustinho Neto.
The emphasis would not fall primarily on words but also on concrete actions by the state, churches and faith communities, and finally by all Angolans.
1.4 Education is an important issue in reconciliation. The churches should assist the state here and make sure that in all provinces our children and adults are being trained to address the high rate of illiteracy. In the same way we suggest that a faculty of theology and its extensions in the provinces be created within the national university. President Jose
Eduardo dos Santos’ words reveal that transformation of one’s mind is possible through education (Op. cit.: 4)
Such a message should encourage the leaders of churches to invest more in education, but not in an isolated fashion: rather, in a global fashion where all churches are represented in the national university. The state needs to take the first steps with respect to education and to aid churches and communities of faith to establish a faculty of theology in the university in Angola in order to enhance reconciliation.
1.5 In the national project for reconstruction, health is very important. It becomes the task of all citizens to avoid diverse epidemics of diseases like malaria, ebola, and to receive sexual and moral education in order to combat the pandemic disease of HIV/AIDS. The suburbs of the capital city, for instance, need to be cleaned up. Society needs to be educated to live in a pure environment. The churches could assist in this regard, as part of the initial mission mandate to care for the environment. In the same vein Angola in colonial times was an important grower and exporter of coffee, but is no longer on the list of coffee producers of the world. We suggest that the state consider macro and micro-agriculture projects. And encourage those institutions, NGOs, churches and individuals, who possess the capacity to produce efficiently, to apply for and benefit from such opportunities. To find clean water is a struggle in Luanda: the state needs to tackle this matter urgently to foster better health.
1.6 The struggle against poverty in Angola cannot be only an abstract discourse. It calls for concrete actions by the state, churches and NGOs. The state should assist such persons through the ministry of social affairs. And the state would do well to ask the churches for human resources to assist here, because poverty is an ongoing debate and is a complicated issue as Bennie Mostert has commented:
Poverty cannot adequately be described as the result of discrimination and a political system like apartheid. While apartheid is definitely a contributing factor in South Africa, there are many other aspects to it. Poverty is a complex problem (2002:74).
This helps us to understand that reconciliation is also a complex liberation ministry, which affects the entire life of the human being in restoring her or his imago-Dei. This struggle is firstly a spiritual one, where the churches are very strong and are specialists in the field, but we have also to learn how to free people from a culpable political system which holds the majority in poverty. The national budget, for instance, should aid parents in some responsibilities, such as providing primary schools and hospitals free for pupils, but in the case of Angola such facilities are inconceivable without state aid. The state needs to revise its policies regarding the salaries of ]its?] employees, the banking system, free primary schools and hospitals and unemployment in order to combat poverty properly.
1.7 Guns have been distributed in Luanda as self–defence against crime, but for the welfare of all Angolans it is necessary to decide how to take back all illegal weapons. We suggest that the state collaborates with churches on this issue, opening offices in the suburban towns and requiring people who possess illegal firearms to return them (COEPA report, op. cit.:17). This issue should be one of the matters attended to by the national commission for truth and reconciliation. Luanda is a large city with a population estimated at 3 million ( www.angola.org.uk/pov-luanda.htm
) but is becoming one of the most dangerous cities in Africa in terms of crime because of illegal guns in the hands of the civil population.
1.8 Landmines need an effort of the state to be removed. They are still located in some forgotten areas and specialists in this field with sophisticated tools of detection are needed for their complete destruction. These weapons are extremely dangerous and will not be
163 removed merely because of the Luena or Cabinda memorandums. As McGrath has pointed out: “Once these things are laid they will remain there either until somebody stands on them and sets them off or until they are destroyed by a properly constituted and organized programme of eradication. And it will take years” (McGrath 1995: 108). It is true that some efforts in this respect are being made but they are too few and do not assist the victims of the landmines.
1.9 The rate of unemployment needs a technical solution to reduce it. We suggest that national industries, such as Sonangol (oil exploiter) and Indiama (diamond exploiter) create job opportunities. The agricultural sector to which we referred above could constitute one of the national projects to reduce poverty, among others in this regard.
1.10 South Africa and Angola, in spite of crime and other problems, have been selected to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup and African Cup of Nations respectively. For this reasons both countries need to be prepared to welcome a large audience from everywhere. Those visitors will not enjoy their brief visit if security does not function properly to reduce crime within the capital cities.
1.11 Special attention should be paid to the street children by churches and the state. Are they not the result of the criminal civil war? They need special care from psychologists and pastors for their spiritual needs, for instance trauma debriefing, and the treatment of other phenomena such as witchcraft, or mental disorders. A special budget should be set apart for them in associations between the state and organized NGOs where their social needs for education and housing should be deal with seriously.
1.12 Reconciliation should accord special attention to foreigners already within or wishing to enter our countries for purposes such as investment: they need to know that the human rights of foreigners are respected. We must welcome those who wish to invest in businesses, creating job opportunities and empowering our people for development.
Meanwhile the state should play an effective role in keeping the country safe against terrorists.
1.13 The protection of women and children from human rights abuses drew the attention of the Amnesty international reports on Angola as well as on South Africa where the rate of
164 such abuse is high: Police statistics for the year April 2004 to March 2005 recorded 55,114 reported rapes; an increase of 4.5 percent of the reported rapes were committed against minors and children (AI, 2006:237) Evidently the churches and communities of faith must conduct a clear dialogue with the state for a campaign against such abuse. This will assist the state to care for those marginalized classes.
1.14 There is a necessity for symbolic reparation, as in the TRC. Its report remarked:
In a number of cases, the need for exhumations and reburials became evident. It is recommended that mechanisms to expedite this process be established by the appropriate ministries. Alternative culture-specific ceremonies should similarly be facilitated (TRC, volume five 1999:188).
There are many Angolans who died in inhuman conditions whose families are distressed about them. The state should help such suffering families with the costs of exhumation, reburial and ceremonies. It is also necessary to extend the list of the national martyrs of the colonial and civil war struggles. The case of the Tokoists as stated above (Quibeta nd: pp 44/7) above revealed such necessities among Angolans. The proposed commission would do well to establish an extended list where many who died for the sake of Angola would be recognized as martyrs for national liberation.
1.15 As regards Cabinda Province we have praised the efforts made but believe that further effort is needed to deal more completely with the issues. The State needs to incorporate other role players who call for peaceful dialogue regarding Cabinda.
6.1.2. To The Churches and Faith Communities
The findings of this thesis reveal the role of the churches and faith communities during their pre-civil war and post-civil war involvement and their efforts in resolving conflicts between belligerents. Therefore some recommendations are very important for them in this phase after the civil war.
2.1 We praise the efforts of churches in Angola, in particular the Episcopal Councils of Angola and Sao-Tome (CEAST), the Council of Churches in Angola (CICA) and The Evangelical
Alliance in Angola (AEA) for their involvement in politics by creating the ecumenical structure of the Inter-Ecclesial Committee for peace in Angola (COIEPA). However, there exist two
Protestant councils: why not only one? We suggest that CICA and AEA begin negotiations in this respect, which will lead them into one structure, flexible enough to accept independent and charismatic churches seeking affiliation. COIEPA confirms this, concluding that churches should evidence an internal capacity of reconciliation between themselves (op. cit.: 17)
2.2 Churches as well as faith communities need a clear definition of mission. From the first chapter of this thesis mission has been understood in terms of Missio-Dei, described by Bosch as God’s attribute (1991:390). Churches as basic structures (modalities) as well as other paraecclesial organizations or mission-teams (sodalities) are both redeeming structures, God’s instruments for the salvation of the world. From this it follows that churches and faith communities are God’s instruments, useful in every social effort for the glory of God who loved and reconciled the world to Himself through Jesus Christ. The world becomes our field of mission as Kerugma, proclamation of the gospel; as Diakonia, service in the social sphere; as
Koinonia, where the fellowship and unity of believers will give credibility to the gospel proclaimed and the services we render to the society; and as Leiturgia, worship of the Lord will make a powerful contribution to national events. A special emphasis is given to the ministry of chaplaincy. In Angola, unfortunately, this system does not yet exist officially. Some sporadic efforts do exist, for instance a military preacher in “Echos do Evangelhos” (the Gospel echo), a
Christian programme broadcast by Angolan National Radio, but we do not have official chaplains recognized by the law. We suggest that the council of churches in Angola take the opportunity and initiative to approach the state in this respect.
2.3 Partnership in the ministry of reconciliation needs a clear understanding of vision in which
Christians are partners in the field of mission, pursuing a policy of participation and mutual respect as equal humble servants of God.
2.4 Angola, like South Africa, is a cosmopolitan, attractive country, especially in its urban areas.
Many religions are already active, with visible actions and infrastructure as in the case of Islam.
In order to avoid religious conflicts in a newly democratic state like Angola the creation of an inter-religious committee becomes a necessity for the purposes of inter-religious dialogue, and
166 to create an atmosphere of peaceful coexistence among the children of God: this will be perceived as a sign of maturity among God’s servants. In a speech the president of the republic, reported in Jornal de Angola, 13 September 2006, said: “Freedom and cultural pluralism are much more guaranteed within the great states which recognize themselves as multicultural” (2006:4). If we wish to be one of these democratic countries the churches and faith communities should do their best to cooperate with one another. This would avoid the ethno-centrism we have inherited from colonial policy.
2.5 The new Constitution should be distributed to all Angolans for them to know their rights and duties as good patriots. We suggest that a mechanism be established for copies to reach every
Angolan, even in the most rural area. The churches need to be involved in such a campaign, as the voice of the voiceless.
2.6 A national ecumenical service of reconciliation could follow the South African model adapted from Psalm 85, as presented in Sinfonia Oecumenica:
Call to worship: Leader: The world belongs to God, Community: the earth and all those who dwell in it. L: How good and pleasant it is, C: to live together in harmony. L: Love and faith come together, C: Justice and Peace meet each other. L: If the disciples of Jesus remain silent, C: these stones would cry aloud. L: God, open my lips, C: so that my mouth shall proclaim your Glory. (1998: 474).
Churches and communities of faith must carefully consider such a programme and cooperate in drawing it up, perhaps following Teca’s proposal (1997:140/5).
2.7 We suggest that a reconciliation ministry for the churches should be nationally coordinated with provincial offices where about three to four (not more) staff could permanently attend to people who want issues of conflict resolved. In the bases or local communities provincial bodies could establish local committees with about two or three persons, in collaboration with the ministers of congregations where the local committee is situated. The reconciliation ministry would have these objectives: to reconcile people and groups in conflict or experiencing tension; to defend the human rights of people using non-violent methods; to promote training in nonviolent self-defence; and to empower those who are in the field by offering a solid formation in
167 reconciliation, for the transformation and management of conflicts. Below is a diagram of the type of structure we propose at the national level.
Reconciliation Structure model
Director for Conflicts
Director For Mobilisation
Fundrising and Personal
2.8 In the new emerging context churches need to adapt their message of reconciliation to the reality of Angola today. The Tata Nlongi theology could be a means of transforming society politically, economically and culturally. The churches need to team up with God, as it were, to defend and care for the oppressed and the voiceless marginalized people, in order to restore their human dignity, as beings created in the image of God. Along with the
Tata Nlongi theology, the Ondjango of the Umbundu people and the nkuu of the Bakongo could also be considered as approaches in which the gospel finds common elements for its contextualization in Angola. Conflict amongst Angolans, found in mutual insults such as
Langa and Shungura, could be diminished and no longer found among the people of God.
2.9 The struggle against HIV/AIDS calls for deep understanding: how should the churches and communities of faith adjust their message to the population, which needs more than a coherent message concerning how to avoid infection? The Ministry of Health’s campaign encourages men to wear condoms but the churches on the other hand hold to the holiness of sexual behaviour and do not agree with the use of condoms; yet people are being infected, including our members, and in such a situation the churches need a theological commission to understand this issue.
2.10 Special attention from churches and the state is deserved by the street children, as mentioned previously.
2.11 The frequent abuse of women and children summons churches and communities of faith to a clear dialogue and collaboration with the state in order to mount an effective campaign.
2.12 The ministry of reconciliation calls for intercession. Churches and communities of faith need to be prepared to intercede in favour of our nation for what we are needing. This ministry is one that will attract the hostility of the devil, yet the Lord Jesus has said: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (Luke 10:18-19). Paul made the same point: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6: 12). We are called to pray without ceasing for our ministries and for our rulers, that reconciliation may come about.
6.2. Specific Recommendations to Mennonite Churches
Mennonites in Angola have embarked on a promising initiative: the creation of the Inter-
Mennonite Conference in Angola (CIMA) in 2003, which links all three Mennonite denominations: the Mennonite Brethren, in partnership with Mennonite Brethren Mission and
Services International (MBMSI) in the United States, Canada and Brazil, giving leadership to the project of establishing a faculty of Missiology in Angola, denominated the Institute Biblica e de Missiologia em Angola (IBMA); while the Evangelical Mennonite Church and the Mennonite
Community are both linked in partnership with the African Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM): all three Mennonite Churches in Angola are members of the World Mennonite Conference (WMC), and of the Council of Churches in Angola (CICA). In their common creed Jesus is seen as the only foundation of the church, while non-violence and peace as well as reconciliation comprise the areas of their social engagement. Therefore the following recommendations concerning the
Mennonites in Angola are made:
3.1 The formation of a special team for peace and reconciliation, in accordance with the practice of other Mennonites in the world who possess well-developed institutions for this purpose. Through partnership with them, Mennonites in Angola could contribute greatly in this field.
3.2 Training of members in theology and other social sciences. The leaders of Mennonite
Churches should select candidates for theological and non-theological training at all levels.
This training requires financial support. Mennonite Churches need to mobilize members to
169 sustain the training of their future cadres. The endeavour to obtain sponsorship cannot be directed to their traditional partners. Mennonite organizations as well as other partners could be approached. Mechanisms should be created to fund sustainable and continued training by our members through God’s grace in order to send more candidates to various universities.
3.3 To avoid conflicts and divisions, as have occurred during recent years, the Mennonites in
Angola need to adopt a rotating system of leadership. The members of Uige province should not always act as the leaders of Igreja Evangelica dos Irmaos Menonitas em Angola since this could continue to be a stumbling-block for Mennonites in Angola (Fidel Lumeya, Johannesburg
14 August 2006).
3.4 CIMA needs to accord special attention in its agenda to setting apart financial support for a common project which will help to create employment among Angolan Mennonites and other
Angolans. Health is regarded as one of the most urgent projects in this respect and concrete plans need to be made.
3.5 Emphasis needs to be placed on the training and ordination of women ministers and on their exercise of ministry within the churches.
6.3. For Further Research
The following issues could not be investigated more fully in this thesis but they constitute topics for further research.
4.1 Reconciliation and Trauma Healing in Angola. This topic is very important, as will be evident from arguments adduced earlier.
4.2 Reconciliation and Traditional African Religions: Witchcraft and a Christian Answer. Many
African ministers are facing the challenge of witchcraft and are tempted and challenged by traditional beliefs regarding healing. Does Christianity have an answer to this challenge?
4.3 Missiology itself is a very challenging field in the 21 st
century. The notion of Redeeming
Structures: Modalities and Sodalities, according to Ralph Winter (Ming-Suen 2002:59), calls for further research (termed by David Bosch Ecclesia and Ecclesiola, 1991:253).
4.4 The Tata Nlongi Theology: Anthropological and theological research aimed at understanding this in itself and as an umbrella term for Undjango and Nkuu is needed.
4.5 Reconciliation as regards the Mennonite mission in Africa, with regard to the cases of
Congo and Angola. Mennonites from United States and Canada possess much experience in this field of the reconciliation and resolution of conflicts. But for those in Africa unfortunately this field is new and few are committed to it. It is important that its study be encouraged so that
Mennonites in Africa become more involved. The research would revisit the Mennonites’ history in Africa, which many blame today for the mistakes committed on both sides, and attempt to establish how reparation and forgiveness may be possible so that we become a new, strengthened and reconciled people of God nurturing a new vision of partnership for global mission.
We believe that if these recommendations are followed, the churches in Angola can really become partners with God in his own mission of reconciling the world with himself in Christ, as well as becoming ambassadors of conciliation (2 Cor. 5:20) in the world in which we live.
God desires peace with his people and amongst all humanity. Hence he has commissioned not only Jesus but also all Christians to bring the message of reconciliation to the world. Such a message is sorely needed in war-ravaged countries such as Angola. The foregoing thesis is intended to make not only a theoretical, but above all a practical, contribution in this regard.
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The Methodist Newspaper for all Christians, vol 35 No 08 August,
91. Mudenda, Reginald. 2004. “Church is Key to Hope: Zimbabwe”, In The
Magazine of the Council for World Mission, October/ November /December:
92. Murray, Andrew. 1898. The Two Covenants and The Second Blessing,
Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington Pennsylvania.
93. Neely, Alan. 1995. Christian Mission: A Case Study Approach, (American Society of
Missiology Series, no. 21), Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York.
94. Richardson, Neville. 2006. “Say Nothing About Us Without Us Churches and Same
–Sex Marriage Seminar”, In Dimension The Methodist Newspaper for all Christians, vol. 36 No 02, February/March,
95. Newbigin, Lesslie. 1977. The Open Secret, Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand
96. _____________, 2003. Signs amid the Rubble: the Purpose of God in Human
History, Edited by Geoffrey Wainwright, William B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids,
97. Nuttall, Michael 2003. Number Two to Tutu: A Memoir, Cluster
Publications, Cape Town.
98. Nzongola – Ntalaja, Georges 1997. The Congo from Leopold to Kabila: A
People’s History, Zed Books, London and New York.
99. Okuma, Thomas 1962. Angola In Ferment: The Background and Prospects
of Angolan Nationalism, Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut.
Orlando de Almeida, 2003. Orlando de Almeida (Exposition Art’s
Brochure), Edited by GO-RA Art Gallery, Parkhurst, South Africa
101. Paludan, Anne Bay. 2000. Reconciliation in Action with Special Reference to
Africa, Edited by Uffe Gjerding, DavChurchAid, Demark.
102. Pannenberg, Wolfhart. 1967. Theology and the Kingdom of God, Edited by
Richard John Neuhaus, Westminster Press, Philadelphia.
103. Pelissier, Rene. 2006. “Angola Physical and Social Geography” In Africa South of the
Sahara, 35 th
Edition, Published by Routledge, London and New York.
104. Perkins, Pheme. 1985. Reading the New Testament, Paulist Press, New York /
105. Po, Ming-Suen. 2002. “God’s Creative Mission for Lay Professionals”, In Missiology:
an International Review, Scottsdale, PA, Vol. XXXII, no. 1
106. Porto, Joao Gomes & Parson, Imogen. 2003. Sustaining The Peace In Angola (An
Overview of Current Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration), University of
107. Quibeta, Simao Fernando. n.d. Simao Toco O Profeta Africano em Angola: Vida e
Obra, Editor Simao Quibeta, Luanda, Angola.
108. Rad von, Gerhard 1975. Old Testament Theology, Volume One, SCM Press, London.
109. Raiser, Konrad. 1991. Ecumenism in Transition: A Paradigm Shift in the Ecumenical
Movement? WCC, Geneva.
110. Richardson, Alan & Bowden, John. 1983. A New Dictionary of Christian Theology,
SCM Press, London
111. Ryken, Leland, Wilhoit, James C., Longman, Tremper et al. 1998. “Covenant”, In
Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, Inter Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, USA.
112. Setiloane, Gabriel M. 1995. “I Am An African”, In Mission Trends no 3
Third World Theologies, Edited by Gerald H. Anderson & Thomas F.
Stransky, Paulist Press, New York/ Ramsey/ Toronto & Wm. B.
113. Siaki, Paul. 2002. “Christianity in the New South Africa: Another Look at the
In No Quick Fixes, Edited by Kritzinger Dons, IMER, University
of Pretoria, Pretoria.
114. Schwobel, Christoph. 2003. “Reconciliation: From Biblical Observations
to Dogmatic Reconstruction”, In The Theology of Reconciliation, Edited
by Colin E. Gunton, T & T Clark, London.
115. Schimmel, Solomon. 2002. Wounds Not Healed by Time. The Power
of Repentance and Forgiveness, Oxford University Press, London.
116. Shenk, David W. 1997. Justice, Reconciliation & Peace in Africa, Uzima Press,
117. Sinfonia Oecumenica. 1998. Worship with the Churches in the World,
Published by Evangelischen Missionswerke in Deutschland, Hamburg,
und der Basler Mission, Basel.
118. Slabbert, Frederik Van Zyl. 2000. “Truth without Reconciliation, Reconciliation without
Truth”, in After the TRC: Reflections on Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa, Ed.
Wilmot James and Linda Van De Vijver, Cape Town, published by Philip David, Ohio
University Press, Athens.
119. Smith, Drew R. 2006. Freedom’s Distant Shores: American Protestants and Post-
Colonial Alliances with Africa, Baylor University Press, Waco, Texas.
120. Southall, Roger & Melber, Henning. 2006. Legacies of Power,
Leadership Change and Former Presidents in African Politics, Nordic
Africa Institute, South Africa, Pretoria
121. Speckman, McGlory. 2005. Friendship and Love Where There Were None, Biblical
Perspectives on Reconciliation, Published by Institute for Missiological and
Ecumenical Research, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.
122. Svensson, Sara. 2004. “Rwanda: Finding the Path Forward”, In Conflict
Trends 2/2004 Special Issues: Peacekeeping In Africa, Published by Accord
123. Tingle, Rachel. 1992. Reconciliation or Revolution? The struggle in the
Church in South Africa, Christian Studies Centre, London.
124. Tutu, Desmond. 1997. The Essential. David Philip, Cape Town,
Mayibuye Books, University of the Western Cape.
125. __________, 1999. “Foreword”, In Chronicle of The Truth Commission, Ed.
Piet Meiring, Published by Carpe Diem Books, Vanderbijlpark,
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Volumes 1- 7, Cape Town, South Africa
128. Uwechue, Raph et al. 1981. Africa Today: Angola, Africa Books
129. ________________, 1996. Makers of Modern Africa, Africa
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130. Van der Bent, Ans. 1995. Commitment to God’s World: A Concise Critical
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131. Van Niekerk, A. 2005. “Reconciliation as the functional integration of
Complex systems”, In Verbum et Ecclesia, Volume 26 (I), Pretoria
132. Venter, P. M, 2005. “Atonement Through Blood”, In Friendship and Love,
IMER University of Pretoria.
133. Villa-Vicencio, Charles. 2000: “On the Limitation of Academic History: The
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& Van De Vijver Linda, published by Philip David, Cape Town.
134. Weingartner, Erich. 1997. “The Tozanso Process: Ecumenical Efforts for
Korean Reconciliation and Reunification”, In Reconciliation of Peoples:
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135. Wessels W.J. 2005. “Reconciliation: A Prophetic Perspective”, In
Friendship and Love, IMER, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.
136. Wheelers, L. Douglas. 1972. “Origins of African Nationalism in Angola:
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Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa, Published by David Philip, Cape
138. Wink, Walter 1997. Healing A Nation’s Wounds: Reconciliation on the
Road to Democracy, Life & Peace Institute, Uppsala.
7.2. Church Publications & Discourse
1. CICA 2002. “Conferencia Sobre os desafios da Paz e Reconstruccão Nacional”.
Tema: “Levantemo-nos e edifiquemos” (Nehemias 2: 16 –18) de 12 a 15 de Agosto,
Reuniao do Comite Executivo: Comunicado de Imprensa, 7de
3. CIMA, (2003). Estatutos da Conferencia Inter-Menonita em Angola (CIMA), Luanda,
4. ______, 2006. Esboco do Programa Quadrienal de Accao 2006/2010, Luanda,
5. Congreso Mundial Menonita (CMM), 2003. Declaracion Del Concilio General Sobre
Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, 17 de Agosto.
6. COIEPA, 2002. Relatorio Geral do COIEPA Ano 2002, Elaborado Pelo & assinado pelo Secretario Executivo, Dr. Daniel Ntoni Nzinga, Luanda.
7. ______, 2003. Relatorio Geral do COIEPA 2003, Elaborado Pelo & assinado pelo
Secretario Executivo, Dr. Daniel Ntoni Nzinga, Luanda.
8. ______, 2004. Relatorio Geral do COIEPA 2003, Elaborado Pelo & assinado pelo
Secretario Executivo, Dr. Daniel Ntoni Nzinga, Luanda.
______, 2005. Relatorio Geral do COIEPA 2003, Elaborado Pelo & assinado pelo
Secretario Executivo, Dr. Daniel Ntoni Nzinga, Luanda.
2006. Declaracao Sobre o Caso de Cabinda, Elaborado Pelo & assinado pelo Presidium, Luanda 2 de Agosto.
11. Instituto Biblico e de Missiologia de Angola (IBMA). 2001. Rapport du Colloque
Missiologique: “La Mission et La Paix” du 8 au 12 Otobre au Centre d’Accueil
Kimbanguiste a Luanda.
1. Biema, Van David. 2004. “Why Did Jesus Die?” In Time, April 12.
Breytenbach, Karen. 2006. “It’s Time to pay for Apartheid: Tutu calls on White
Business to Contribute for TRC Reparations”, Pretoria News, 21 April.
3. Bullard, David. 2006. “Spare us the talk of Ingratitude, Desmond”, In Sunday Times
Business Times Careers, 30 April,
4. Dos Santos, José Eduardo. 2006. “Declaracoes Presidente da Republica, Jose
Eduardo dos Santos, na ceremonia de abertura do 3 rd
Simposio sobre Cultura
Nacional”, Edited by Guilhermino Alberto, In Jornal de Angola, Quarta Feira 13 de
5. Ntango, Daniel Nzakimuena. 2006. “Paz em Cabinda Cristaos Louvam a Deus”, In
Flash de Noticias Semenal, N0. 313-314, Publicacao de CEDIL, 11 de Agosto,
6. Ntoni Nzinga, Daniel. 2006. “A Igreja e As Eleicoes em Angola”, In Capital, 2
7. Villa-Vicencio, Charles. 2006. “Our Past is Still With Us: South Africa Would do Well to
Clear its Books on the Atrocities of the Past, for the Pressure to do so Will Only
Continue to Build”, In Sunday Times, 23 April,
7.4. Electronic Sources
1. BBC-NEWS, 2001. “African Economy Growth and Collapse”, www.news.bbc.co.uk
Access date 2006/10/03.
2. Banjo, Adewale. 2004. “Africa: Still on the Anti Graft Crusade”, Electronic Monograph,
AISA, April 28, www.ai.org.za
, Access date 2006/10/03.
3. Banco Nacional de Angola. 2006. “Instituições financeiras estão sujeitas à auditoria externa”, www.jornaldeangola.com
, Access date 2006/06/01.
4. Binsbergen, Wim M. J. Van. 2005. “Ethnicity: Central Africa”, In Encyclopedia of Africa
South of the Sahara, www.up.ac.za
, Access date 2005/04/05.
5. Buchanan, John M. 2005. “An Evangelical Imperative”, In Christian Century, www.EBSCO
, vol.122 Issue 16, Academic Search Premier, Access date 8/9/2005.
6. Christian Century. 2005: “Hundreds of Christian leaders see new unity”, in Christian
, vol. 122 issue 12, Access date 6/14/2005,
7. Christiansen, Drew. 2005. “Of Many Things”, in www.EBSCO
, in America; 10/17/2005,
Vol. 193 Issue 11, Access date 2006/01/10.
8. Christianity Today. 2005. “We are Brothers”, in www.EBSCO
, in Christianity Today;
June 2005, Vol. 49 Issue 6, Access date 2006/01/10.
9. Constituicao de Angola, 1992. Law on The Amendment of the Constitution,
Seen and approved by the people’s Assembly, Luanda, 25 August. 166
, Access date 2005/09/02.
10. Collier, Paul 2005. “Economic History: The Colonial and Postcolonial Eras”, In
Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara, www.up.ac.za
, Access date
11. Dos Santos, José Eduardo. 2003. “Discurso pronunciado por Sua Excelência Jose
Eduardo dos Santos, Presidente da Republica de Angola, na abertura da reunião da commissão Nacional de luta contra HIV/SIDA e as Grandes Endemias em Luanda”,
Feb. 09, 2005, www.angop.com
, Access date 2005/09/02.
12. EBSCO, 2005. “Republic of Angola”. In the Background Notes on Countries of the
, Access date 2005/04/14.
13. EBSCO, 2006. World Almanac & Book of Facts, 0084382, Database: Academic
Search Premier, Section: Nations of the World Republic of Angola, In www.up.ac.za
Access date 2006/02/08.
14. EBSCOhost. 2005. “After Savimbi”, In Economist; 3/2/2002 vol. 362, Issue 8262,
Database: Academic Search Premier, www.EBSCOhost
, Access date 2005/09/03.
15. _________, 2005. “Angora [sic]’s Wondrous Peace: After 40 years of on-off murderous civil war, Angola is truly at peace. But starvation, and corrupt politicians, could still wreck it”, In www.EBSCOhost
, Access date 2005/09/03.
16. _________, 2001. “Dos Santos Will just go he says, Angola’s President Promises to
Retire Before the next election. Will he”? Economist, Vol. 361, www.EBSCOhost
Access date 2005/04/14.
_________, 2005. “A Long-standing Leader’s Mixed Legacy”, Economist, Vol. 375, www.EBSCOhost
, Access date 2005/04/28.
18. Ecumenical Rural Development, Center Angola. 2006. www.cicaangonet.org
, documents, Access date 2006/05/17.
19. Gnanadadon, Aruna. 2005. “Yes, Creator God, Transform The Earth! The Earth as
God’s Body in an Age of Environmental Violence”, In The Ecumenical Review vol. 57
No. 2 April in www.up.co.za
, Access date 2006/01/10.
20. Fiona, Fleck 2004. “WHO hopes 3-by-5 plan will reverse Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic”,
In WHO News, Publisher, www.EBSCOhost
, Access date 2005/07/21
21. Frontline Fellowship News. 2003. “Resisting Sharia in Nigeria”, Cape Town South
22. Heneghan, Tom. 2005. “At a Loss for Words, Ecumenism Stutters in Germany,” www.EBSCO
, published by Commonweal, 11/18/2005, Vol. 132 Issue 20, Access date
23. Inter-Church Coalition on Africa. 2001. “Angola Urgent Action Bulletin Canadian
Journalists for Freedom of Expression, Friends of Angolan media: Please endorse this action by Canadian Journalists for Freedom of Expression, CJFE, Protesting the murder of journalist Alegria Gustavo, of Angolan National Radio, and the continued harassment of other journalists including Gilberto Neto of the independent Newspapers
Folha 8, and Justin Pearce of the BBC. Call for Investigations Into these Actions”. In www.kairos-Africa , Access date 2006/05/07.
24. Jornal de Angola. 2006. “Inspectores Militares Angolanos e Sul-Africanos Reunem-se em Luanda”, www.jornaldeangola.com
, Access date 2006/05/31.
25. Jornal de Angola. 2006. “Criancas Desfavorescidas expões quadros no seu dia”, www.jornaldeangola.com
, Access date 2006/06/01.
Kim, Jikang. 2003. “Africa’s Sustainable Development and The Establishment of
, Access date 2006/10/03
27. MacLean, 2006. “The Week”, Database: Academic Search Premier, www.EBSCOHOST.up.ac.za
, Access date 2006-02-06.
28. Martin, Arão 2006: “CICV Reintegra Familia na Região Centro Sul”, In Jornal de
Angola May 31, www.jornaldeangola.com
, Access date 2006/10/03.
29. Mbeki, Thabo. 2005. “South Africa Reaches Agreement on Apartheid Victim
Reparations”, April 15, 2003, Source Database: Historic World Events, www.galenet.group
Access Date 21/12/2005.
30. McLaughlin, Abraham 2006. “In Africa, Islam and Christianity are growing – and blending”, www.csmonitor.com
, Access date 25/10/2006.
31. Mugambi, J.N.K. 1996: “Africa Churches in Social Transformation”, www.EBSCOhost
Source: Journal of International Affairs, Summer 96, Vol. 50 Issue 1, Access date
32. Ngimbi, Luis. 2003. “CICA disposto a contribuir para o exito das proximas eleicões”, www.angop
, Access date 2006/05/17.
33. Poku, Nana K. 2002. “Poverty, debt and Africa’s HIV/AIDS crisis”, In International
Affairs 78, 3 www.mrc.ac.za/bod , Access date 2005/07/21.
Powers, Jessica 2000. “Christianity vs. Islam in Africa. A 19 th
Century debate”, www.csmonitor.com
, Access date 2006/10/25.
35. Rankhumise, Sello, Patric, Modise, Tony & Mbowane, Meshack. 2003. Towards
Democratic Consolidation in Southern Africa? A Case Study Mozambique 2004
Elections, AISA, Electronic Monograph, www.ai.org.za
Access date 2006/10/03.
36. Republic of Angola Embassy in the United Kingdoms, Province of Luanda Population, www.angola.org.uk
, Access date 2007/05/03.
37. Rodoreda, Geoff 2003. “South Africa The Battle Over Apartheid Reparations.
Multinational corporations are now facing multi-billion dollar lawsuits in American courts from victims of apartheid. But big business is fighting back”. In New Africa July
, Access date 2006/02/08.
38. Ryan, William. 2005. “Polish National Catholic-Roman Catholic Dialogue”, in
Ecumenical Studies, 00220558, Spring 2001, Vol. 37, Issue 2. In www.EBSCO
Database: Academic Search Premier, Access date 2006/01/10.
39. Sanneh, Lamin 2005. “Christianity: Missionary Enterprise”, In Encyclopedia of Africa
South of the Sahara, www.up.ac.za
, Access date 2005/12/21.
40. Saunders, Christopher 2005. South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, In
History Behind the Headlines, www.galegroup.com.innopac.up.ac.za
, Access date,
41. Shane, Graham. 2003. “The Truth Commission and The Post-Apartheid in South
Africa”, Published www.EBSCO
, Access date 2005/03/15.
42. The World Fact Book. 2006. “Angola: Introduction, Geography, People, Government,
Economy, Communications, Transportation, Military and Transnational Issues”, www.theworldfactbook
, Access date 29/06/2006.
43. Van der Merwe, Hugo. 2003. “The Role of the Church in Promoting Reconciliation in
Post-TRC South Africa”, In www.oxfordjournals.innopac.up.ac.za
, Access date
44. Van Dyke, Jon M. 2006. “Reconciliation between Korea and Japan”, In Chinese
Journal of International Law, University of Pretoria, www.oxfordjournals.innopac.up.ac.za
, Access date 2006/06/23.
45. Verdoolaege, Annelies & Kerstens, Paul. 2004. “The South African Truth and
Reconciliation and the Belgian Lumumba Commission: A Comparison”, In Africa
Today, Spring 2004, vol. 50, issue 3, www.galegroup.com.innopac.up.ac.za
, Access date 2005/12/21.
46. Warren, Christopher 2005. “Luanda Demining”, In U.S. Department of State Dispatch;
10/14/96, vol. 7 Issue 42, p516, Database: Academic Search Premier, www.EBSCOhost
, Access date 200509/03.
47. Zegeye, Abebe, Dixon, Thea et al, 2005. “Images: The Seesaw Haunting Keeps
Killing the Living”, Published by www.EBSCO
. P29, Social Identities, Dec 99, Vol. 5
Issue 4, Access date 2005/04/05.
7.5. Unpublished Documents
1. Fernando, Octávio. 1998. Ecumenical Worship Sermon in Luanda. November 11
2. Nzinga, Daniel Ntoni 2006. “Esperiencias de Reconciliacao e Resolucao de
Conflitos: Sua Influencia Na Educacao Civico-Eleitoral”, In Luanda
Universidade Catolica, 24 Fevereiro. 6p.
3. _________, 2006. “O Processo da Paz e a Reconstrucao de Angola: Uma
Leitura Patriotica dos Acordos De Alvor A Luena”, Luanda, 12 September.
5. Teca, Afonso 1997. “La Guerra de l’Angola et La Crise d’Identite Quete
d’Une Pastorale De Reconciliation”, Memoire de Licence en Theologie,
dirige par le Prof. Masamba Ma Mpolo, Universite Protestante au Congo
Faculte de Theologie, Kinshasa
6. Vita, Mbala Lusunzi. 2006. “Cultura e Missiao: Contradicoes”, Workshop to the churches leaders held at Luanda organized by IBMA on 15 – 16 September.
Bester, Paul Lang
De Carvalho Emilio
48 General FAA, Vice-
Ptria 16/03/06 Interview in his office
Gen. Lda 14/09/006 Interview 1hr
Lda 12/09/006 Interview 1hr
8. Kamufuaketako, Kiala 50
7. James, 70 Methodist
Answer to my
Rep. Legal ADPA
±48 Rev. IEBA Maculuxi Lda 07/09/006
10. Lentikile, Mashoko
26 St Master Old Test
48 African Mission
49 Pastor MICCER
53 Sec. Gen IEIMA
15. Malaquia, Antonio S. 50
16. Maleka, Sindisiwe
17. Malungu, Antonio
Rev. IEIMA Fin.
Student 7 days
Interview & dialogue
Interview & dialogue 3hrs
Interv & Qstres
Ptria 06/03/06 Answer to my questionnaire
Lda 12/09/006 Interview 1h
18. Molefe, Job 51
Sec. Gen. IERA &
Ptria 14/03/06 Answer to my
19. Mukanda, Kabanga A. 43
Mankuntwala, Manuel 50
Mathe, Steve 30
Muenemo, Binda J.C. 42
Mutungani, Simao 41
24. Mpanda, Makwenda 53
Rep. Legal IEFPA Lda 16/09/006
Nurse/ Hpt Neves
Tokoista Sec. Dpt
Member Answer to my questionnaire
Vice-Pr IECMMA Lda 16/09/006 Interview
Pastor IEVRA Lda 16/09/006 Interv & Qst
Lda 18/09/006 Interview & doc.
25 Mpanzu, Mvemba
Noé, Alberto Jose
Sec. Gen. & Pastor
Sec Gen. IEBA
Sec. Exec. CIMA
Dpt PAZ CICA
Sec. Gen CICA
Interview & document CIMA
Interview 1hr & documents
31 Nsingi, Mukambu P.
32 Nzambi, Bosco
Director of IBMA
Answer to my questionnaire
Lda 16/06/006 Inter & doc
33 Nzinga, Daniel Ntoni - Sec. Exec. COIEPA Lda 11/09/006 Interview & doc
51 UPSA Provincial Answer to my
35 Teca, Afonso 44 SBA Translator &
France & Prof UA-
Neto & IBMA
Lda 11/09/006 Interview 2h
36 Teca, Deolinda ± 37 Dir DJERC/CICA Lda 13/09/006 Interview 1hr
37 Vita, Mbala Lusunzi ±53 PhD Research Lda 16/09/006 Presentation &
54 Pastor Igreja
Central Golf II
Interview & document 2hrs
7.7. Music CDs
1. Ali Djuma, 2006: CD Dj. Jony Explosao, Luanda.
2. Dj. Churra & Drolasta, 2006: CD 6 Vozes de Batida 2006, Luanda.
7.9. Versions of Bible
1. Holy Bible New International Version (NIV), 1984, published by Struik
2. New Living Translation (NLT), July 2004, Tyndale House publisher, Inc.
3. New Testament, Greek, Nestle – Aland 27 th
April 1993, published by Deutsche
4. Biblia Hebraica, Stuttgartensia, Edited by W. Rudolph et H.P. Ruger.
1987, published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft
1.1. Questionnaire to Churches Leaders in South Africa
Complete name………………………………………….Birth date……………………….
Function with the church…………………………………………………………………….
From …………to ………Denomination name …………………………………………….
Telephone number:………………………..Cell phone number…………………………..
Academic grade…………………………In Which Faculty/ University….………………..
South Africa has dramatically changed since the process of democratisation took place in the country. I am searcher from Angola doing my PhD and I am interested to know about how things changed and what have you done so that the process of democratisation could be seen and people everywhere seems to express their freedom in many ways. This is why I really want to know about your experience so that I can compare it to what we are expecting to do for
Angola, as you could know that we also have been violated by the civil war long time ago. Here are my questions below:
1. Tell me about your own experience during the apartheid years. Did you (or your family) suffer?
2. What was the experience of your denomination with apartheid?
2.1. Did your church suffer under apartheid? What happened?
2.2. Was your church possibly also guilty of apartheid or racism? Give examples.
2.3. Did your church (or member from the church) contributed to the struggle
against apartheid? Give example.
3. How do you evaluate the work of the TRC? Do you know someone who has
been victim of the gross human being violation identified by the TRC?
4. Did your church play a part in the activities of the TRC?
5. Do you think the work of the TRC helped the country on its way to Truth and
Reconciliation? Motivate your answer.
6. Do you still need reconciliation in the RSA? Why? What are the main issues of concern?
7. What are the prerequisites for reconciliation in the country?
8. What can the churches do to promote reconciliation on the national and local level?
9. Do the churches/ Christians need reconciliation among themselves?
10. What contribution can people of other religions make in terms of reconciliation?
11. Has Africa and African people a special gift in this regard? Do Africans find it easier to forgive and reconcile?
12. Do you know of a special experience of reconciliation in your church? Please tell me the story (20 lines).
1.2. Questionnaire to Churches Leaders in Angola
Complete name………………………………………….Birth date……………………….
Function with the church…………………………………………………………………….
From …………to ………Denomination name …………………………………………….
Telephone number:………………………..Cell phone number…………………………..
Academic grade…………………………In Which Faculty/ University….………………..
Since the death of Jonas Savimbi on 22 February 2002 and the signing of the Luena memorandum of understanding on 4 April our country experience dramatic change people have now free circulation from one province to another there are many feelings and many expectation for this experience. As you know that I am in South Africa for my doctorate studies it seems to me important to me to bring a contribution in the process of reconciliation which started since the occurrences I refer above. Here below are my questions:
1. Tell me about your own experience during the years of Civil war. Did you (or your family) suffer?
2. What was the experience of your denomination with the civil war?
2.1. Did your church suffer under civil war? What happened?
2.2. Was your church possibly also guilty of civil war? Give example.
2.3. Did your church (or member from church) contribute to the struggle against
civil war? Give example.
3. How do evaluate the Luena Memorandum of understanding?
4. Did the society including churches play a part in the Luena memorandum?
5. Do you think that the Luena Memorandum helped the country on its way to truth and reconciliation? Motivate your answer.
6. Do we still need reconciliation in Angola? Why? What are the main issues of concern?
7. What are the prerequisites for reconciliation in the country?
8. What can the churches do to promote reconciliation on the national and local level?
9. Do the churches/ Christians need reconciliation among themselves?
10. What contribution can people of other religions make in terms of reconciliation?
11. Has Africa and African people a special gift in this regard? Do Africans find it easier to forgive and reconcile?
12. Do you know of a special experience of reconciliation in your church? Please tell me the story (20 lines).
Appendix II: Newspaper images of Desmond Tutu
After 10 years of the TRC work locals News Papers published chocking images of the
Archbishop Desmond Tutu calling for the payment of apartheid victims.
2.1. Pretoria News
Friday April 21 2006 the “Pretoria News” published this image of Desmond Tutu with this message: “ It’s time to pay for apartheid. Tutu calls on whit business to contribute funding for
TRC,” wrote Karen Breytenbach.
2.2. Sunday Times
In the Sunday Times 23 April 2006 Charles Villa-Vicencio wrote: “ Our past is still with us.
South Africa would do well to clear its books on the atrocities of the past, for the pressure to do so will continue to build.”
The Case of Cabinda FLEC’s Documents
The documents on behalf of Cabinda are important to be revealed that the case of the province of Cabinda is an urgent agenda. Churches leaders gave three letters to me during my time of research in Luanda. They are written in Portuguese. The first came from FLEC’s Cabinet
(office) to the Excellent Mr Daniel da Rosa Politic Counsellor and Diplomatic of Angolan
Embassy in French, Paris signed by Francisco Xavier Builo on 25 August 2006 one page. The second also from FLEC but this came from the FLEC’s president cabinet to the Republic
President of Angola, His Excellent Engineer Jose Eduardo dos Santos signed by Mr Nzita
Henriques Tiago, president of FLEC on 25 August 2006 two pages. And the last comes from people of Cabinda to the President of the Republic of Angola, His Excellent Engineer Jose
Eduardo dos Santos with information copy to the National Assembly and to the province
Governor of Cabinda it concern is: “Memorandum of understanding for peace and reconciliation in Cabinda” signed by two delegates Dr. Felix Sumbo and Dr. Francisco Luemba, on 1
September 2006, in two pages. See them here below.
To His Excellency Mr. Daniel da Rosa, Politic Counselor and Diplomat of the
Angolan Embassy in Paris, France
. To the President of Angola, His Excellency Jose Edouardo dos Santos
To the President of Angola, His Excellency Jose Edouardo dos Santos
From People of Cabinda to the President of Angola, His Excellency Jose
Edouardo dos Santos with a copy for information to the National Assembly
3.3. From People of Cabinda to the President of Angola, His Excellency Jose Edouardo
Dos Santos with a copy for information to the National Assembly
An image of an Angolan landmine disaster
This image here below I quoted it from the book: Why Angola Matters report of a conference held at Pembroke College, Cambridge March 21 – 22, 1994 in the section five: Rebuilding
Community at War: a test case, speakers were: Rae McGrath, Sue Fleming and Teresa
Santana on page 121. It shows the image of the landmine disaster unnamed Angolan in this picture is not the only one who suffers from mine lands they are many case likely in Luanda and elsewhere in Angola.
Abbreviations used in this thesis
AEA: Alliance dos Evangelicos em Angola (Alliance of Evangelical in Angola)
ANC: African National Congress
ANANGOLA: Associacão dos Nativos Angolanos/ Association for the Natives of
ATRC: Angolan Truth and Reconciliation’ Commission
CEFOCA: Centro de Formacão e Cultura de Angola
CEAST: Conferência Episcopal de Angola e São Tome
CICA: Conselho de Igréjas Cristas em Angola/ Christian Council of Churches in
CIMA: Conferência Inter-Menonita em Angola
CPDM: The Cameroon People Democratic Movement
CNPR: Conference National for Peace and Reconciliation
COIEPA: Comité Inter-Eclesial pela Paz em Angola
CSLA: Conselho Supremo pela Libertacao de Angola
DRC: Democratic Republic of Congo
Edica: Encontro de Dirigentes das Igrejas Cristas em Angola
FAA: Forcas Armadas Angolana
FLEC: Frente pela Libertacão do Enclave de Cabinda
FNLA: Frente Nacional de Libertacão de Angola
FRODEBU: Front Pour la Democratie au Burundi
GRAE: Governo Revolucionário de Angola no Exílio
HRV: Human Rights Violation
IBMA: Instituto Biblico e de Missiologia de Angola
IFM: Fond Monétaire International /International Fond Monetary
INAR: Instituto Nacional dos Assuntos Religiosos
MDFC: Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance
MMD: Movement for Multiparty Democracy
MINUCI: Mission des Nations Unies en Cote d’Ivoire/ United Nations Mission in
MONUA: Missão Observadora de Nacões Unidas em Angola
MPLA: Movemento Popular de Libertacão de Angola
NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NC/NIF: National Congress and National Islamic Front
nd: Not dated
NIV: New International Version
NGOs: Non-Governmental Organizations
ONUB: United Nations Operation in Burundi
OUA: Organization de l’Unite Africaine/ African Organization for Unity
PAIGC: Partido Africano pela Independencia de Guinea e Cape Verde/ African
Party for Independence of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde
PDA: Partido Democrático de Angola
RUF: Revolutionary United Front
SACC: South African Council of Churches
SADC: Southern Africa Development Community
SADF: South African Defence Forces
SLPP: Sierra Leone People Party
SWAPO: South West African People’s Organization
TNG: Transition National Government
TNA: Transitional National Assembly
TRC: Truth and Reconciliation Commission
UMOCI: United Nations Operation in Cote d’Ivoire
UN: United Nations
UNAVEM: United Nations Angolan Verification’s Mission
UNAMSIL: United Nations Mission In Sierra Leone
UNITA: União Nacional pela Independência Total de Angola
UPA: União das Populacões de Angola
UPDF: Uganda People Defence Forces
UPNA: União das Populacões de Norte de Angola/ Union for the Population of
the Northern of Angola
ZANU-PF: Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front
WCC: World Council of Churches
When the Lord brought *peace into Angola,
We were like men who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
Our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!
Restore (Cabinda) our fortunes, O Lord,
Like streams in Cunene.
Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will turn with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.
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