Theology of Land: Reflections and Dialogue from a South African Socio-Political Perspective
AbstractThis paper examines the current situation of land possession in the South African socio-political space. Land possession in South Africa is an emotive issue that receives different political responses based on historical constitutional land laws and declarations, such as the Freedom Charter of 1954. African views on land are elaborated, together with South African current political debates regarding land. Negative politics of the land leave the dispossessed humiliated, experiencing feelings of indignity and insentience. Being robbed of the land is humiliating, but the dialogue about regaining it should occur in the spirit of eschatological hope with one goal in mind: inheriting the land. The paper further elaborates a theology of the land and extensively explains its historical and biblical evolvement from the Abrahamic era to the period of exile. In the midst of tensions between colonial views of land and cultural clashes, eschatological hope is the route to take. Citizens are to be granted the rights and promises that lead to eschatological peace, which creates coexistence where life is fully experienced. Eschatological hope should not be read as opium with a calming effect or a soothing balm for people to endure injustice. It should be a message of hope for the restoration of quality of untrammelled joy on the fruitfulness of the land. All this is achievable through dialogue by and with all stakeholders regarding land issues. The contribution made by this article is the acknowledgement of the imbalances regarding the land issue, and it attempts to bring forth a theological understanding of land and how to apply it in the current South Africa.
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