Category Archives: theology

Padkos: Nigel Gibson & Kathy Oberdeck

Nigel Gibson & Kathy Oberdeck

In this edition we are sharing recent work from Nigel Gibson, another leading thinker that we’ve had the pleasure of hosting at CLP – many of you will remember Nigel as a key figure in CLP’s “Fanomenal Event” a couple years back. He presented “Finding Fanon, Looking for second liberations” (2013) at the Algiers conference on “Fanon and Africa” in June this year. When we commented to Nigel that what he has to say here is terribly important and that it really resonated with our own thinking and politics at CLP, he remarked that there was “not much resonance for the talk at the conference”, and that a persistent reaction was couched in the contemptuous, sometimes-marxist, notion of the lumpen-proletariat! That’s more than a little ironic since the talk itself begins with an account of Nigel’s experiences of this line of attack at a middle-class bookstore in Durban a couple of years ago:

“I was invited to speak about my book Fanonian Practices in South Africa, from Steve Biko to Abahlali baseMjondolo in a bookshop in Durban. Abahlali baseMjondolo … is a consciously ground-up, reflective, and radically inclusive democratic movement based on a shared experience of space. Someone in the audience asked whether I had spoken about Fanon in the shack settlements. The question was meant as a provocation, implying that the book was an intellectual exercise which had no resonance to shack dwellers who are stereotypically criminal, were uneducated and reactionary. In fact, on my arrival in Durban, I had been invited to talk about the book with Abahlali members in shack settlements and at an Abahlali meeting in Durban, where I was warned of the attacks I would face from the authoritarian left for my support of the movement. Clearly this organization of shack dwellers recognized the importance of its own reasoning and at the same time took seriously the discussion of liberatory ideas. Before I could answer the comments at the bookshop, somebody else pointed out that Fanon didn’t need to be brought to the shack settlements. He was already found there.” Read on…

Finally our sincere thanks to Kathryn Oberdeck from the University of Illinois for a fantastic Padkos conversation about religion and popular radical politics earlier this week at CLP. For those who weren’t able to be there (and, indeed, no less for the rest of us who were), we’re also sharing the text of Kathy’s input in this serving of Padkos. As you’ll see, Kathy drew on material from her earlier book, The Evangelist and the Impresario: Religion, Entertainment, and Cultural Politics in America, 1884-1914 and was kind enough to leave a copy of the book with us at the CLP resource centre – feel free to access it there.

Barney Pityana’s Sermon at the Marikana Massacre Memorial Service in Grahamstown

Marikana Memorial Service: Praying for a Just Peace

Presider: Bishop Ebenezer Ntali
Preacher: Prof. Barney Pityana

The Cathedral of St. Michael & St. George, Grahamstown, 30 August 2012

Excerpt from The Prayers of the People

Help us to shatter the structures
which prosper the rich at the expense of the poor
so that all people of this land
may experience economic emancipation

The service was followed by a march on the local police station

God in My Struggle


I’m proud to be in an organization that fights for, protects, promotes and advances the dignity of the poor.

Our struggle is a struggle for respect which puts people first and is people driven. I’ve lately looked at how God plays a huge role in my struggle. If it wasn’t for God we wouldn’t be were we are today. It is true that God is always on the side of the poor.

Today we have bruises and scars from our fight for Human Dignity. Our government does not believe that the poor people’s dignity needs to be respected. If the government recognised our dignity we would be living an equal life. The fact that there is a huge difference between how the poor and the rich live and are treated shows that the government does not recognise us because we don’t have money.

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M&G: Jesus Christ lived in the townships

Jesus Christ lived in the townships
PERCY ZVOMUYA – Apr 21 2011

When Cape Town clergyman Xola Skosana made the declaration last year that “Jesus Christ was HIV positive”, some within South Africa’s Christian community bristled with rage. That such a mildly radical proposition was marked by controversy and uproar is a measure of the state of today’s church. After all, what Skosana said was not in breach of basic church doctrine.

One needs to remember that when Jesus went about Galilee and the surrounding areas he routinely said revolutionary stuff. Some of his most enduring sermons — the story about the Good Samaritan, or how he was the son of God, for instance — were so radical that he risked being stoned. Continue reading