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On-line version ISSN 2304-8557
Print version ISSN 0023-270X

Koers (Online) vol.75 n.3 Pretoria  2010


Dialogical inquiry as an instrument of the reconciliation of conflict in the hands of Christian leaders


Dialogiese onderhandeling as instrument vir die versoening van konflik in die hande van Christenleiers



C.J. Hugo

Department of Practical Theology, University of South Africa, PRETORIA. E-mail:




The apartheid system caused deep rifts in South African society, and even following the dawn of democracy, society in South Africa continues to struggle with violence and conflict, ethnic differences, mass action and poverty. Christian leaders have an important part to play in conflict resolution. Conflict management in organisations incorporates negotiation as a means of conflict resolution. A number of approaches to conflict resolution contribute to this approach; these include forcing, avoiding, accommodating, compromising and collaborating. Christian leaders, however, favour reconciliation as a means of resolving conflict. A Christian approach to conflict resolution needs to take cognisance of the existential aspect of conflict. Examples of such approaches are those of Dreyer, who speaks of reconciliation as a dilemma for forgiveness, and Kistner, who explores the way in which the use of narratives rather than reallife stories in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reduced the severity of trauma. The social construction of trauma in "Mamelodi" by Brigid Hess, which presents a shift from forgiveness to a journey taken along with the perpetrators, and the belief of Desmond Tutu in the healing brought about by the ubuntu philosophy, are evaluated here as being detrimental to reconciliation. Based on the examples cited, an approach to conflict resolution entailing a clear integration of the biblical approach to reconciliation and dialogical inquiry (DI) is proposed as an appropriate intervention approach for Christian leaders. The present contribution is offered from within the discipline of Practical Theology, with a focus on Pastoral Counseling.

Key concepts: deep-rooted conflict, dialogical inquiry, intentional dialogue, reconciliation ubuntu


Suid-Afrika is 'n land waarin die samelewing diep verdeeld was as gevolg van apartheid. Met die aanbreek van die nuwe demokrasie moet die samelewing steeds probleme konfronteer soos geweld, konflik, etniese verskille, massa-aksies en armoede. Christelike leiers het 'n behoefte aan konflikhantering. Konflikhantering as deel van interpersoonlike dinamika in organisasies inkorporeer onderhandeling as 'n metode van konflikoplossing. Verskillende benaderings tot konflikoplossing dra by tot hierdie benadering: dwang, vermyding, akkommodering, kompromie en samewerking. Christelike leiers verkies egter om versoening as metode van konflikhantering te gebruik. 'n Christelike benadering tot konflik moet die eksistensiële aspek van konflik deeglik verreken. Voorbeelde van konflikhantering waarin versoening 'n rol speel, is Dreyer se siening van versoening as 'n dilemma vir vergifnis, asook Kistner wat die gebruik van narratiewe in plaas van lewensgetroue stories in die Waarheids-en-versoenings-kommissie ondersoek. Dit het gelei tot die vermindering van die ernstige aard van trauma. Die sosiale konstruksie van trauma in "Mamelodi" deur Brigid Hess, wat 'n skuif weg van vergifnis na 'n lewenstog met die aanstigters van die trauma verteenwoordig en die oortuiging van Desmond Tutu dat genesing deur die ubuntu-filosofie bewerkstellig word, word hier geëvalueer as teenproduktief vir versoening. 'n Benadering wat gebaseer is op die integrasie van 'n Bybelse benadering tot versoening en die gebruik van dialoog word hier vir Christelike leiers voorgestel. Hierdie bydrae is vanuit die Praktiese Teologie, met Pastorale Berading as fokus.

Kernbegrippe: bedoelde dialoog, dialogiese ondersoek, diepgewortelde konflik, ubuntu, versoening



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