Original Research

Migration history in South Africa as a lens for interpreting God’s mission: Towards a challenge for churches to embrace migrants

Christopher Magezi
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 40, No 1 | a1887 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v40i1.1887 | © 2019 Christopher Magezi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 May 2018 | Published: 25 February 2019


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Abstract

This article challenges the church to embrace migrants by presenting migration history in South Africa during the era of European explorers as a lens for interpreting God’s mission. In avowing the aforementioned, it argues for migration history of the European explorers to South Africa as the way God has used in establishing the church in South Africa. However, in view of the subsequent colonialism and slave trade in South Africa that emerged from the period of European explorers, this article recognises the conception of slave trade and colonialism during the era of European explorers as an evil act. Notably, in bringing Joseph’s forced migration to Egypt as a theological lens to interpret some sinful acts that were embedded in the migration of European explorers to South Africa that also resulted in the establishment of the early church in South Africa, it contends that God’s purpose and plans are not frustrated or thwarted by human sin. God, in his grace and love to reach his remnant people with the gospel, utilises various migrations of European explorers to South Africa (regardless of how sinful they are) to advance his kingdom to South Africa. The notion of migration history in South Africa as a lens for interpreting God’s mission is utilised to challenge the churches to embrace migrants because God uses migration or migrants to advance his kingdom to all the earth. The article concludes by calling the church to embrace all migrants because humankind are usually unacquainted with the particular migrants that God is utilising to advance his kingdom.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article outlines theological research agenda for migration history in South Africa as a lens to interpret God’s mission. It considers migration history in South Africa during the era of European explorers as a tool that God used to advance his kingdom. As such, it is a theological interdisciplinary article integrating church history and mission. The contribution of this article lies in establishing the emergence of the early church in South Africa as a result of migration, which it utilises as a challenge for churches to embrace migrants.


Keywords

migration; migration history; South Africa; European explorers; Bantu migration; God’s Mission; Joseph’s migration

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