Towards an anticolonial agenda for decolonising theological education in Sub-Saharan Africa

Yonah H. Matemba*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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As conceptualised (in text and curriculum outcomes) and actualised in practice (teaching and learning), theological education in sub-Saharan Africa remains a manifestation of the missionary/colonial project, existing in a socio-religious and political context where normative religions (e.g. Christianity) still reign supreme at the expense of the minoritised religious ‘other’ and other contentious narratives. Despite claims of political and religious agency in social space in postcolonial sub-Saharan Africa (through the emergence of indigenous leadership), and indeed veneer of paradigm shift in in including ‘new theologies (see Matemba, 2011; Amanze, 2009), there remains vestiges of coloniality in theological education in sub-Saharan Africa. I argue that theological education in sub-Saharan Africa has been unable to disentangle itself from the shackles of coloniality due to the reluctance or indeed in ability of those offering theological education to undertake radical decolonial reforms in the discipline, partly because many are themselves perhaps “caged [in] a neo/colonial mindset” (Nyoni, 2019, 4). As decolonisation voices in the academy have gained traction, important questions are being raised not only if theological education should (continue to) go through this important process but indeed how far decolonial changes should go if the discipline is to be aligned with the contemporary realities and other freedoms promised in the new African postcolonial settlement. In this presentation I attempt to open ‘new’ dialogue on how an anticolonial (as opposed to well-known postcolonial) approach can provide conceptual tools to challenge coloniality (in its various guises). The presentation also provides decolonial strategies for theological education in sub-Saharan African and suggest what can be done to ameliorate the problem.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2021
EventMalawi Annual Theological Conference: Decolonising the Theological Curriculum in an Online Age - Livingstonia University, Livingstonia, Malawi
Duration: 14 Sept 202116 Sept 2021


ConferenceMalawi Annual Theological Conference


  • decoloniality
  • theological education
  • anticolonial framework
  • Sub-Saharan Africa


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