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Diversity in a multicultural and polyethnic world: challenges and responses

Cornel du Toit

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 25, No 2 (2004), 442-459. doi: 10.4102/ve.v25i2.280

Submitted: 05 October 2004
Published:  06 October 2004


Today’s world is characterised by multiculturalism. The diversity of cultures  and conflicting ethnic groups sharing the same territory pose a threat to both local and world peace. We have come to the end of the ‘nation’ and the end of the ‘state’, two homogenous entities which are increasingly being emasculated by an
instrumental reason in the form of techno-science and  economic globalisation. Ethnic diversity is simultaneously a source of wealth and  a threat  to African societies. African unity in the form of an ubuntu-ethic offers a model for dealing with polyethnicity. Ethnocentrism is biologically rooted and operates through prejudice. As a coping mechanism  for  dealing with  diversity, prejudice has its value and its limitations. It must be contained where it leads  to  xenophobia, ethnophobia and war. Polyethnic coexistence is a prerequisite if Africa is to attain  its developmental ideals as expressed in the NEPAD programme. In this paper, I look at the way in which ethno-philosophy and ethno-theology can help this process.

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Cornel du Toit, University of South Africa, South Africa



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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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