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The church's role in social healing and reconciliation in Zimbabwe : an analysis of reconciliation in the National Vision Discussion Document of the churches of Zimbabwe.

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The study focuses on the National Vision Discussion Document (NVDD) from Zimbabwe, and is a reflection of the need for, and the churches’ approach to, reconciliation in Zimbabwe. The analysis of the social context in which the NVDD was written sets the tone for this study, and provides the basis for discussing and constructing a deeper theology of reconciliation in Zimbabwe. Two criticisms of the NVDD are advanced, namely, the lack for a critical social analysis, and a weak theological reflection. In responding to the first criticism, the study undertakes a detailed analysis of three key areas of enmity, namely, the ethnic conflicts between the Shona and Ndebele, the racial conflicts between white and black centered on land, and the political conflicts between ZANU-PF and civil society and the MDC. In responding to the second criticisms, the theology is deepened through an examination of Miroslav Volf’s, Exclusion and Embrace, John de Gruchy’s, Reconciliation: Restoring Justice, the Kairos Document and the Belhar Confession. Reconciliation was seen to lie at the edge of two parallel truths; justice and forgiveness; truth and reconciliation. In conclusion, the study established the basis for a deeper theology of reconciliation, by focusing on three key areas: social dynamics, theological reflection, and practical and logistical steps to national reconciliation. For a deeper theology of reconciliation, seven levels for reconciliation were suggested: individual, social, cultural, institutional, political, theological and religious. From these seven levels, two strategies for the practice of reconciliation were suggested: ecumenical and strategic partnerships. It should be noted that events in Zimbabwe continue to progress at a rapid rate and the social context changes from week to week. However, these current events suggest that the study remains relevant for national reconciliation and theological praxis because of the abiding issues of conflict that cry out for reconciliation.


Thesis (M.Th.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2008.


Reconciliation--Religious aspects--Christianity., Church and state--Zimbabwe., Theses--Theology.