Development and South Africa: A critical Theological Reflection on the Discourse of Development within the All Africa Conference of Churches and its significance for post-Apartheid South Africa

John Stephanus Klaasen


The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) has made significant contributions to the theological discourse of development in Africa. Two gatherings, Lome (1987) and Harare (1992), stand out in the history of the AACC as defining moments in the theological discourse on the regression of development in Africa since the achievement of independence of the first African states from colonial rule. The purpose of this article is to investigate the contributions of these two gatherings and to assess the role of personhood and personal responsibility for development in South Africa as one of the last African countries to achieve democratic rule. Development attempts by the religious, and specifically Christian institutions such as the Ecumenical Federation of Southern Africa (EFSA) and the World Council of Churches, are correlated with dominant development theories to demonstrate the overlapping of development approaches. Some of the weaknesses of these approaches are pointed out. The constructive part of the article suggests that a theological notion of personhood and its relation to development is a more sustainable form of development within the context of contemporary South Africa.


South Africa; development; All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC); Ecumenical Federation of Southern Africa (EFSA); personhood; personal responsibility

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 John Stephanus Klaasen

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.