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 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.
Thesis (PhD (Science of Religion and Missiology))--University of Pretoria, 2008.
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