On-line version ISSN 2312-878X
Missionalia (Online) vol.43 n.2 Pretoria 2015
This edition of Missionalia goes to print at a critical historical juncture in South Africa, as well as our Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. Faith communities and various civil rights movements, unions and political groupings are meeting at different times for discernment on the way forward. However, a key dimension to this journey of discernment, is remembrance. On the one hand, these communities remember the Marikana massacre on a koppie ["little hill"], close to the powerful Lonmin mine on 16 August 2012, as well as the killings that preceded this dark day. Some social commentators, like Tinyiko Maluleke consider this atrocity to be due to a failure of leadership. He concluded his reflections in a weekly newspaper, "The Marikana massacre is not about the commissions of a Mpembe here, a Mbobo there and a Phiyega elsewhere. It is not about public order policing or first aid skills. The Marikana massacre is about a fundamental failure of leadership from the lowest to the highest echelons of our leadership structures, starting with the labour movements, the mining houses and our instruments of democratic administration as well as a blatant shirking of political accountability at the highest levels" (Mail and Guardian, 3 July 2015). Addressing this "failure of leadership" and "blatant shirking of political accountability" should indeed be very high on the agenda of scholars, faith communities and all individuals concerned with transforming mission.
Another significant moment happening in the month of August is the 30th commemoration conference of The Kairos Document in Johannesburg. In 2008, the late Willem Saayman already warned that a new kairos moment is approaching (Saayman 2008: 16-28). It is therefore not surprising that in this edition we open with an article by our dear and respected prophet, Willem Saayman, together with his former colleague and student Zuze Banda, which paints, but also critiques, the broader African vision of renaissance and rebirth for a current mission praxis. Included in this agenda is also the engagement with questions of interreligious dialogue (Togarasei), a post-secular age (van der Merwe), African Child Theology (Knoetze) and the quest for peace (Pokol and Kaunda). While these articles were not grouped to consciously aim at describing the kairos moment of our time, it is significant to take note of how they highlight key dimensions of an important emerging agenda. Perhaps the key in this confluence of ideas is discernment, i.e., how our methodologies serve our journey of seeking the impulses of God's mission. Hence, we have two articles from younger colleagues, Helio Aparecido Campos Teixeira and Ezequiel de Souza from Brazil, and Elina Hankela from Finland and South Africa, which self-consciously and critically, guide and deepen this conversation. They remind the reader of a matrix of deeper and global questions which is essential for this journey of discernment
Our challenge then is not (again) to recount the challenges we face, whether it be in terms of a dearth of leadership or accountability. We concur that this is our challenge. Our challenge today is to creatively, meticulously and prayerfully discern the way forward. This is perhaps the thread that binds this collection, as we join hands, heads and hearts - in solidarity with the broad community around Marikana and the Kairos movement.
Prof RW (Reggie) Nel and Rev GJ (Cobus) van Wyngaard