African Initiated Churches as interlocutors of African spirituality of liberation against colonial spirituality of the empire

  • Mnyalaza T. Masuku


Prof. Vuyani Vellem was a scholar of Black Theology of Liberation. However, he placed the African Initiated Churches (AICs) at the centre of his heart  as a basis for African spirituality of liberation. He believed that the whole of African life is infiltrated by spirituality which is based on African  religiosity. He mentioned African religiosity as an alternative to what he expressed as ‘authoritative salvationist dispensation of Western religiosity’.  The AICs present a formidable platform for ‘un-thinking’ colonial religiosity. He extended the notion of ‘un-thinking’ the West beyond the cognitive  space and embraced spirituality, hence cognitive spirituality. This article, therefore, argues that the AICs are the protagonists in the interlocution  project of African spirituality of liberation. They are formidable giants in unshackling African spirituality from Western Christian spirituality and its  expansionism that attempts to unseat the liberation paradigm of African spirituality. The author’s approach will, therefore, be to identify and  analyse selected areas in the ministry praxis of AICs in their quest for African spirituality of liberation. In order to reach this objective, the author will  examine the subject of African spirituality, by discussing colonial spirituality of the empire that gave rise to the AICs and find out the liberating  spirituality of the AICs. At the end of this discourse, the author will conclude that the AICs succeeded to not only preserve, but also to construct,  contextualise, protect and promote African spirituality of liberation against the antics of the empire.

Contribution: Based on the thoughts of the late  Prof. Vuyani Vellem about the role of AICs within the space of African spirituality of liberation, this article not only provides insights and better  understanding, but also highlights the ministry praxis of the AICs on this subject against the imperial spirituality. This study, therefore, combines the  notions of multi and transdisciplinary religious elements of the focus of this journal. 


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2072-8050
print ISSN: 0259-9422