Original Research

Black self-hatred: Regaining self-worth – From decolonisation towards reconciliation in South Africa – A practical theological appraisal

Magezi E. Baloyi
Theologia Viatorum | Vol 44, No 1 | a33 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/tv.v44i1.33 | © 2020 Magezi E. Baloyi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 July 2019 | Published: 18 May 2020

About the author(s)

Magezi E. Baloyi, Department of Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


The black-on-black violence that typifies the present-day South Africa, amongst other things, manifests itself in different forms, for instance, mob justice, xenophobia, black undermining and even harassing another black person in the workplace, along with other signs of an inferiority complex. The affirmation of ‘Black is Beautiful’, which was a popular slogan used by the slain Black Consciousness leader, Steve Biko, finds slippery ground to resonate amongst the black masses today; hence, the manifestation of self-hatred still has a space within black communities. It is the continuity of this pathology, from an outward look to inward thinking, decisions and actions that deprives African people of a chance to make an impact in respect of self-worth, decolonisation and reconciliation. As much as people can blame the slow pace of the transformation agenda in South Africa, it is equally important to determine the role of inflicted self-hatred as a factor in the process. It is a bone of contention that being truthful to self-worth and self-esteem takes courage to make us active participants in our decolonisation, which will ultimately play a role in the reconciliation of the previously (and presently) divided South Africa.


black-on-black violence; practical theology; Steve Biko; self-worth; decolonisation


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