Original Research

Uniting Christian Students’ Association’s pilgrimage to overcome colonial racism: A southern African postcolonial missiological dialogue

R. W. Nel
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 36, No 1 | a1454 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v36i1.1454 | © 2015 R.W. (Reggie) Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 March 2015 | Published: 14 December 2015

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R. W. Nel, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, University of South Africa, South Africa

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World Christianity has been enriched by Christian student movements such as the Uniting Christian Students’ Association (UCSA) from South Africa. This article, based on my recent doctoral research, starts with the affirmation of the ambiguous relations of these movements with colonial racism. However, faced with new challenges in a postcolonial context, there are key impulses to be gained by an inter-subjective, but also interdisciplinary dialogue with these movements as they negotiate their calling. By focussing on one movement within the southern African context, UCSA, in particular its formation and development since the demise of apartheid in South Africa, the article aims to present an attempt to understand the missionary praxis of UCSA through a postcolonial missiological matrix. The article draws on the theological disciplines of missiology, systematic theology, church history, contextual theology, as well as the methodologies in non-theologic disciplines like sociology, in particular social movement studies, and history. The findings show, amongst others, a growing complexity in relation to its agency, how it frames its world and also how it used its authoritative sources to discern its calling. The article closes with some key insights and pointers relevant for faith communities in their mission to overcome colonial racism.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The teaching and research in missiology and systematic theology in how the challenge of colonial racism is addressed, methodologically.


Student Movements, Colonial Racism, Missiology, Postcolonial


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