Original Research

The tone of Black Theology debates towards democratic dispensation in South Africa: 1985–1994

Mnyalaza T. Masuku
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 45, No 1 | a3033 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v45i1.3033 | © 2024 Mnyalaza T. Masuku | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 October 2023 | Published: 24 April 2024

About the author(s)

Mnyalaza T. Masuku, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


The tone of the Black Theology debates took different forms depending on the relevant political processes and dispensations in which they were debated. This situation played itself out in South Africa over the years, from the introduction of Black Theology in the late 1960s to the introduction of the democratic order in 1994. The changing socio-political context in South Africa over the years determined the shape or tone of these debates. This article examines the history of Black Theology debates in South Africa, covering the almost 10-year period between 1985 and 1994. The nature of the debate took a different turn during this period than before and after. The author will therefore highlight the political climate in South Africa that shaped the debates, examine the genesis of Black Theology and historically examine the debate about it over the period under review. Ultimately, a path forward should be developed. The study draws on existing literature through a qualitative review method for carrying out this project.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article examines the tone of Black Theology debates between 1985 and 1994 towards the transition to democracy in South Africa. Although it is located in the field of missiology, it also has interdisciplinary implications for disciplines such as history, sociology and practical theology.


Black Theology; African; debates; black consciousness; black theologians; South Africa

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions


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