The journey towards healing and transformation in Africa is a continual process, which calls all sectors of society to continually commit towards creating avenues of healing. Rituals have been identified and introduced as a guiding framework for the study as they are widely accepted as a strategy to provide healing and transformation. The study assumes that these rituals can be used as vehicles to tell our stories in order to recreate a community of hope. As such the study has attempted to establish this relationship and assess if these rituals of atonement can be used creatively by the church to bring healing and transformation. In order to elucidate the inherent similarities between biblical and African concepts of atonement the study used theological and exegetical tools to analyse these concepts. The study established that the rituals of the Day of Atonement described in Leviticus 16 have certain similarities with some African rituals of atonement and reconciliation. The Leviticus rituals of atonement provide deep ethical and theological foundations that can positively inform the work of reconciliation in our social, economic, religious and political scene in Africa. The study then concludes that a constructive use of the Bible and the concept of atonement in the Old Testament will benefit Africa in its endeavour to bring about reconciliation. However, in the background lies the assumption that the relationship between Africa and the Bible is not an innocent one. It is then recommended that our approach towards the Bible embraces and treats with sensitivity the fact that the same Bible has been used previously in Africa to shape ideologies like apartheid and liberation ideologies and as well as demonising some of the traditional African cultures and religious expressions. Nevertheless, both the biblical and African views of life indicate that the primary goal of rituals is a community of peace, friendship, purity and creative harmony. In view of the resemblances between the Day of Atonement rituals and the African rituals that have been explored we can safely use the Bible in order to contribute to the continual work of reconciliation in Southern Africa.
Dissertation (MA (Biblical and Religious Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2005.