Democracy is coming to the RSA : on democracy, theology, and futural historicity

Vosloo, Robert (2016-05-25)

CITATION: Vosloo, R. R. 2016. Democracy is coming to the RSA : on democracy, theology, and futural historicity. Verbum et Ecclesia, 37(1): 1-7, doi: 10.4102/ve.v37i1.1523.

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Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.


This article brings the concept of democracy – as an open-ended tradition – in conversation with notions dealing with historicity and the future, such as ‘democracy to come’, ‘promise’, and ‘a democratic vision’. It is argued that although these notions are rightfully associated with the future, they also imply that democracy should not be disconnected from an emphasis on an inheritance from the past. With this emphasis in mind, the first part of the article attends to the French philosopher Jacques Derrida’s intriguing term, ‘democracy to come’, whereas the second part of the article takes a closer look at some aspects of the work of the South African theologian John de Gruchy on democracy, with special reference to his distinction between a democratic system and a democratic vision. The third, and final, part of the article brings some of the insights taken from the engagement with Derrida and De Gruchy into conversation with the continuing challenges facing theological discourse on democracy in South Africa today.

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