Apartheid en armoede: Wat moet die NG Kerk bely?

Attie Van Niekerk


The Dutch Reformed Church has confessed its guilt in supporting apartheid, and has also launched an initiative to combat the escalating poverty in South Africa. Should these two issues be linked? Attention is given to recent theological arguments coming from some theologians in the Dutch Reformed Church, who attribute the poverty of a large number of black people in South Africa directly to the oppressive policies of apartheid in the past. It is argued that these views are often superficially motivated, and that they tend to obscure a proper understanding of the causes of poverty in the South African context. They repeat the mistakes of the international development industry since 1949, as well as that of the apartheid ideology and many anti-apartheid movements. This mistake is to ignore the actual views, needs and dynamics of the poor communities and to present solutions that are available, familiar, convenient, and often advantageous, not to the poor themselves, but to those who pretend to speak and act on behalf of the poor. More often than not, even well meaning efforts of this type do more harm than good to the poor. Such a lack of interest in and concern for poor people must be confessed by many of the non-poor of almost all ideological convictions. The church should redress this gap by close, existential, respectful involvement with the poor that leads to reliable understanding of the dynamics of poverty in actual life.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/ngtt.2002.v43n1.a14


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ISSN 2226-2385 (online); ISSN 0028-2006 (print)

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