Pharaoh Let My Children Go: Meditations on Blackness Under Democratized Whiteness

  • Hlulani MdingiEmail author
Part of the Advances in African Economic, Social and Political Development book series (AAESPD)


South Africa prides herself on what she has “done” by “overcoming” the system of apartheid and the global, diplomatic and democratic face she presents to the rest of the world. However, recent events serve as evidence that cracks are visible in South African democracy—the prophet Daniel (5: 25) captures the traces of the immanent fall at the table of the Babylonian king, Belshazzar, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN (you have been weighed, weighed, divided and have been found wanting). South Africa is listed as one of the most unequal countries in the world, a neoliberal position, which begs the question whether South Africans have in truth crossed the Red Sea to the triumphant entry to Promised Land. The people have crossed over to the Promised Land, ideological, rhetorically and in the urge of nation-building. However, those meant to lead us have chosen to have one foot and hand in the Promised Land and the other hand and foot at the table of former global oppressors such as Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Antiochus Epiphanes, Caesar, and the historical gains of white power. The footing of “leaders” in both the Promise Land and the table of the oppressor manifest the ability of how white power maintains a dialectical and perennial continuums of oppression and the servitude of oppressed. The ability of a total liberation of the oppressed impedes the prestige and privileged of the self-appointed and anointed agents of change of power. Capitalism with its tentacles that entails the classification and antagonisms of race and class are adopted as part of the government. In South Africa, leaders maintain the dogma and underlining intents of institutional racism and the total control of the means of production and resources. The core values of freedom and liberation are deferred for international “respectability” and adoration. In short, a good physiological aesthetic is preferred despite the internal failing of the organs of that body. I contend that the Promised Land requires new rulers, new systems and a new humanity that possesses sovereignty and power; in the words of Kwame Nkrumah: “We prefer self-governance in danger than subjugation in tranquility.” There are distinct parallels between South Africa and the departure of the Hebrews from Egypt for the Promised Land under new rulers, and South Africa and its black people can look to the freed Hebrews for a model of self-rule.


Blackness Black theology Pharaoh Liberation Oppressor Black church Colonialism Racism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy Practical and Systematic TheologyUniversity of South AfricaPretoriaSouth Africa

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