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From guns to dialogue : the role of the church in the democratisation and reconstruction of Angola.

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This study set out to find a concept ual fr amework through which the church can respond to the democratisation process that I Angola has been undergoing since the y ear 2002 . In this regard , the study firstly posi ted that the democratisation process the countr y is undergoing presents an opportunit ~ that Angolans can seize to exorcise the past of war and embark on the d efinition of a new nation al future . Secondly , it posited that the church does possess potential to contribut ~ to the success of the democratisation process and positively influence the shaping of I new Angola . To achieve this aim , the study wa divided in three major parts . The first part surveys Angola's socio-political and econo ic past from the beginning of the civil war in 1975 to its end in the early 2002. This su ey is followed by an analytical discussion which attempts to ascertain the major chal ~enges the past poses to the future. The second part of the study discusses the relationship between democratisation and reconstruction. This discussion revolves around the mea ning and the relevance of democratisation for Angola , involves an evaluation of the fram ework th at is guiding the democratisation process, a I diagnosis of the current prospects of the democratisation process , and an evaluation of the I church's respon se to the process. he last p art of the study outlines the Theology of R e construction as it has been posited in Afric a. It discusses its paradigmatic v alue as well as its relevance to th e current soc io-political context in Angola. The study culminates with reflections on how a Theolo g y of Reconstruction can inform th e r esponse of the church to the democratisation process in Angola and thereby to its reconstruction . I The study found that the pursuit o ~ monopoly b y the incumbent ruling party in Angola and the former armed opposition p o v ement , with the complicity of foreign powers' interference in national affairs, is r he major factor that has fuelled Angola's politico- military conflict in the past. This conflict has brought about destruction and hindered national development. The study al to found that while the democratisation process is on course, there have nevertheless c bntinued to be socio-political chall enges from the country's past. Lastly , the study fo ilind that th e church's response to the democratisation process has been anachronistic . Wh ile it had contextual cohesion in th e era that preceded democratisation , it however proves to be r edundant in the current democratisation and reconstruction challenge that the countr y is faced with. By way of conclusion , th e study su ~gests that the democratisation process that A ngola is currently undergoing is the necess ary stepping-stone for the country to move from the destructi ve past into a process I of national reconstruction. It argues that the democratisation proc ess a vails space for th e creation of legitimate and accountable I political institutions and structures that can det er the absolutist and totalitarian politics of the past. In turn , the stud y suggests ~ prim arily proactive , yet also resistant reconstruction theological framework for a church l response to the democratisation process that Angola is undergoing. This framework is posited in v iew of the current socio-political state of affairs in the country and with a vi I w to a decisive ecclesial influence in the making of a new Angola


Thesis (M.Th.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2006.


Reconstruction--Angola., Reconstruction--Religious aspects--Christianity., Christianity--Angola., Democracy--Religious aspects--Christianity., Theology--Angola., Economic development--Angola., Angola--Social conditions., Angola--Economic conditions., Angola--Politics and government., Angola--Church history., Theses--Theology.