“Here I Stand!” Mary-Anne Elizabeth Plaatjies-Van Huffel on Blackness as Key to the Ministry of SA’s Victims of Oppression
Keywords:Mary-Anne Elizabeth Plaatjies-Van Huffel, blackness, liberation theologies, victims of oppression, black women, church
South Africa has many victims of oppression who are materially poor. They are living in poor and unhealthy conditions, unemployed and suffering from poor government service delivery as a result of corruption. They are, therefore, angry and need relevant ministry that could address their conditions. Most of them happen to be classified as “black” and they are predominantly Christians belonging to churches. Mary-Anne Elizabeth Plaatjies-Van Huffel was a black minister in a black church that is predominantly composed of the victims of oppression. Should those who are not “black” be included or excluded in the provision of ministry to the victims of oppression? Will their ministry be relevant to the plight of these victims? What, then, is the qualification for a meaningful and transformative ministry to the victims of oppression? What is the meaning and role of “blackness” as key/qualification for relevant ministry praxis towards the victims of oppression? Plaatjies-Van Huffel left a legacy for the church, which provides a suitable leadership and response to these questions. Therefore, this article seeks to interrogate her theology of “blackness” to determine whether it excludes or includes other servants of God from ministry to these victims of oppression. In order to reach this goal, we will engage with great thinkers as her interlocutors within the scope of black theology, liberation theology, feminist theology, and African theology. The term, “blackness” will also be explored and interrogated in light of the context of this article.
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