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Stellenbosch Theological Journal

On-line version ISSN 2413-9467
Print version ISSN 2413-9459


LOUW, Daniël. The mirage of "Rainbowism" within the nightmare of #MustFall campaigns. Exploring the penetrating hermeneutics of compassionate being-with against the background of decolonising activism and xenophobic suspicion. STJ [online]. 2016, vol.2, n.2, pp.321-346. ISSN 2413-9467.

Decolonising activism in South African is currently oscillating between social disillusionment (disillusionment about the ability to create a new South Africa by means of Constitutional Justice after twenty-two years of hope for a better life for all) and existential pain (internalised anger resulting from experiences of rejection and humiliating oppression). #MustFall campaigns have become vehicles for the expression of unarticulated feelings of inferiority, suppressed anger and cultural exclusion. It also reveals signs of new forms of racism and increasing exponents of black-white polarisation and xenophobic suspicion. The latter should not be interpreted merely in terms of local modes of radicalization and upcoming modes of political populism, but also against the background of new, global forms of "fear for the other" as expressed in the refugee paranoia and migrant crisis. It becomes a burning pastoral question for communities of faith how to penetrate the bottom line of a possible political cul de sac and cultural intolerance. The question is posed: What is meant by an ecclesial approach within the bleak situation of no-solution-at-all? Instead of a pessimistic retrotopia (back to the past) (Zygmunt Bauman) or an optimistic utopia (the pursuit of happiness in affluent societal projections), the perichoresis of compassionate being-with is explored within the theological parameters of oiktirmos, rhm, hnn and pathê. It is argued that a pastoral mode of hospitable presence should be implied in order to penetrate the danger of a complete xenophobic deadlock in civil society.

Keywords : MustFall campaigns; anti-white polarisation; theology of compassion; decolonisation; colonial anthropology; retrotopia; pastoral caregiving.

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