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Political Ressourcement: Decolonizing through Retrieval in African Political Theologies

Published: 27 August 2021

Abstract: Political ressourcement is a strategy for decolonizing political imaginations by drawing on means of human organization that predate European colonialism. One such resource in this regard is the millennia-old tradition of compositional politics in sub-Saharan Africa. The compositional tradition’s insights for contemporary political theology are twofold. First, basing a community’s identity upon amalgamation rather than exclusion offers a powerful means of building lasting political association. Second, such amalgamation has become a proven way of challenging colonial politics’ exclusivist understandings of tribal, ethnic, and racial identities. In commending this tradition as a means of political ressourcement, the essay draws from Paul Landau’s historical research of the South African highveld. It engages a wider conversation in African studies on the compositional tradition, then shows how this tradition has proven a vibrant strategy for decolonial action for twentieth and twenty-first century Christian churches.
Keywords: Compositional / African political theology / decolonial / hybridity / Paul Landau

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