Original Research - Special Collection: Decolonialism in Theology today

Decolonial thinking and Europe: Decolonisation between particularity and universalism

Johann-Albrecht Meylahn
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 45, No 1 | a3123 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v45i1.3123 | © 2024 Johann-Albrecht Meylahn | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 February 2024 | Published: 31 May 2024

About the author(s)

Johann-Albrecht Meylahn, Department of Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Colonisation continues to have a tremendous impact on large parts of the globe and not only on previously colonised countries. Many of the current geopolitical, economic and environmental challenges that the globe faces cannot be thought of without taking decolonial thinking into consideration. In his Preface to Fanon’s book, The Wretched of the Earth, Jean-Paul Sartre argues that this book is not written for Europeans, yet he challenges Europeans to read it. It is between such particularism and universalism that this article will engage with decolonial thinking in the context of the globe’s various geopolitical, environmental and political challenges. Europe’s colonial claim to universalism cannot be separated from Christendom. In this article, this Christian colonial universalism will be brought into conversation with an attempt at a decolonial theology.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article is an interdisciplinary conversation between philosophy and theology.


Fanon; decolonialism; social death; Afropessimism; Europe; Human Rights; Ethics; Theology


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