Seminar – Objection and Resistance in Confessing for Justice

– in Barmen (1934) and since Sharpeville/Cottesloe (1960)

Ben Khumalo-Seegelken

Carl von Ossietzky Universität, Oldenburg
Institute for Protestant Theology and Religion-Education
Summer Term 2014 (22.04.-22.07.2014)
Tuesdays 16:00 – 18:00
[4.07.144]

Persons and some organisations in Germany [1933-1945] and in South Africa [1948-1994] objected to and sought to resist and to overcome injustice and inhumanity in their respective countries – Nazism in Germany and Apartheid in South Africa. Both Germany and South Africa have in the meantime witnessed the overcome and downfall of unjust and inhuman regimes in their countries; democracies upholding human rights have emerged.

The Theological Declaration of Barmen, which presents in a nutshell the convictions underlying the objection against and the resistance of Nazism by persons and congregations within the Protestant Church in Germany [1933-1945], was agreed upon on 29-31 May, 1934 – round eighty years ago. The Cottesloe declaration, which presents a theological response by member-churches of the World Council of Churches meeting on 7-14 December 1960 in Cottesloe, in Johannesburg, to react on the atrocities of the apartheid-regime that had reached an alarming climax in the Massacre in Sharpeville1 [21 March 1960], has been discussed, interpreted or even simply ignored in South Africa and abroad for over half a century already.

“Barmen” and “Sharpeville/Cottesloe” are being revisited and examined in the light of the developments in ecumenical theology with special focus on Germany and South Africa especially with regard to the controversies around the Programme of the World Council of Churches to Combat Racism (PCR) [1969], Call for Economic Sanctions against Apartheid [1970s] up to recent critique of the work and findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission [1995-1998]2 – a critical review including the Massacre in Marikana [16 August 2012] – based on and led by the question: Objection and Resistance in Confession of Faith: Persons and Organisations Today. Which and How?

Dr Ben Khumalo-Seegelken


1 = The Sharpeville Massacre 1960 – Truth Commission Special Report: http://www.sabctrc.saha.org.za/glossary/sharpeville_massacre.htm?tab=victims
2 = The TRC and CODESA Failed South Africa: It’s Time We Reflected on This