A critical engagement with BJ van der Walt’s reformational approach towards African culture and world view
Mutua, Isaac Njaramba
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This research interrogates Bennie van der Walt’s third way as a solution for the “divided soul” of the African people - a divided soul that creates a false dilemma. This division is the creation of political colonialism and neo-colonialism, which impacts negatively on the African socio-economic and political structure. The myth of the superiority of Western culture propagates this vice. Van der Walt’s clarification of the concepts of a world view and culture are depicted in chapter 1. He wrestles with the complexity of culture and world view; showing that a world view is deeply religious and pre-scientific and shapes culture. He also shows how religion, world view and culture relate to one another. In chapter 2 Van der Walt’s comparison and evaluation of the African and Western cultures and their world views is reconstructed. It is pointed out that Van der Walt notices fundamental differences between the two cultures, and that he warns of difficulties in the reconstruction endeavour. He then identifies the underlying presuppositions of both the African and Western cultures. Chapter 3 discusses Van der Walt’s articulation of the impact of the world view clash between African and Western cultures on African society. This impact is felt in the socio-economic-political and educational environment. He considers the Western derogatory approach towards African culture and African reactions towards it. Van der Walt rejects especially ethnocentric approaches to African culture and also the African ethnocentric reaction. In chapter 4, the fundamentals of Van der Walt’s third way is enunciated. He notes that his views are founded on Scripture, acknowledgement of sin and redemption through Christ, the sustaining nature of God’s grace and the recognition of trans-cultural dialogue and non-reductionists ontology. Chapter 5 critically analyses Van der Walt third way. Major strengths and weaknesses of Van der Walt third way are identified. Solutions to Van der Walt’s weak points are recommended for his consideration. Finally, chapter 6 articulates that Van der Walt’s third way aimed to prevent any future damage to African culture as it counters a reductionist ontology prevalent in shaping Africa by propagating a non-reductionist ontology. This ensures that Africa’s problem of a false dilemma, divided soul, and negative ethnocentrism is resolved.
- Humanities