In South Africa, the concept of land is caught up in various ideological, religious and political conceptions. Land is not only soil, but also home, identity, economic profit, livelihood and belonging. In this study, we will explore the complexity of land and our relationship to it by firstly exploring the history of colonialism and with it the presence of missionary activity in South Africa to investigate the theological formation and re-arrangement of people’s connection to land. The conflicting views of coloniser and colonised will also be explored. Our connection to ourselves, to others, God, and nature have been broken by the colonialist project, Apartheid and the capitalist process of commodification, which in South Africa have deep historical roots. The dual process of commodification of people and land, is exemplified by the mining history. In this regard, the Lily Mine tragedy is used as a magnifying glass to explore the effect this process has on both people and creation. Lily Mine, the heaving earth, the workers trapped deep beneath the earth and those left behind, signify a haunting. Here, Derrida’s notion of hauntology is employed as a kind of border thinking to recognise and see these ghosts that haunt. The spectre of broken and maimed bodies, and the broken earth haunts our present and poses an urgent ethical demand on those left behind. The ghost seeks wholeness, restoration, recognition and rest. To find some way of responding to the spectre’s haunting cry, we look to ecofeminism and African women’s theologies. Both, ecofeminism and African women’s theologies recognise the interdependence and interconnectedness of life and offer a way of being and doing that challenges patriarchal, androcentric and Eurocentric ontologies and epistemologies. In exploring ecofeminism and African women’s theologies we find ways, life giving praxis, that breathes life into dead and dry bones.
Dissertation (MTheology)--University of Pretoria, 2018.