African cities by 2063: Fostering theologies of urban citizenship

HTS Theological Studies 78 (4):11 (2022)
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Abstract

Grounded in a postcolonial, liberationist urban vision, this article lamented the theological and political paralysis of urban denialism that fails African cities and African urban populations. Considering different possible urban trajectories towards 2063 – ranging from floundering to flourishing, implosion to explosion, and apocalyptic disaster to complete rebirth – it then proposed theologies of African urban citizenship, as response. It sought to articulate a vision of citizen-driven African cities, remaking cities ‘from below’, through interconnected and intersectional urban movements. It considered urban citizenship not as the decent and orderly conduct of subjects of the nation-state but as the disruptive and transformative presence and participation of citizens of God’s new city, breaking into cities across the African continent. While it bemoaned the absence of ‘Africa’s urban revolution’ from mainstream theologies and politics practised in the African context, and the insufficient attention paid to it even by the Africa 2063 manifesto, it dared to evoke hope, in spite of evidence to the contrary. This should be viewed as a conceptual contribution, fusing literature study with deep urban immersion. Contribution: Grounded in a postcolonial, liberationist urban vision, this article lamented the theological and political paralysis of urban denialism that fails African cities and African urban populations, contemplating theologies of African urban citizenship instead.

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