Guest Lecture by Dr Wilhelm Verwoerd, University of Stellenbosch

Beyond rainbow-ism in South Africa: a restitutional reading of the "Black Christ"

Peace Bridge

Guest Lecture by Dr Wilhelm Verwoerd, University of Stellenbosch

Dr Wilhelm Verwoerd, University of Stellenbosch, presents as part of the Civic Lecture Series

In this 1962 protest art work Albert Luthuli - then president of the African National Congress and Nobel Peace Prize winner - controversially replaces (a typically pale-skinned figure of) Jesus on the cross.  The then Minister of Justice, John Vorster, is portrayed as the soldier in the background, with Prime Minister Verwoerd as the centurion-with-the-spear.

As South Africa’s post-1994 dream of a “rainbow nation” is increasingly being challenged Wilhelm will treat this painting as an icon to help explore some of the deep wounds of the past that have not been fully recognised, let alone addressed, especially within the white “beneficiary community”.  Since the centurion-with-the-spear is also his grandfather he will focus on the intergenerational challenge of restitutional shared responsibility with this relational dynamic in the foreground.

Dr Wilhelm Verwoerd is a former lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Stellenbosch and a former researcher within the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Between 2002 and 2012 he facilitated dialogue and storytelling between ex-combatants, survivors and members of wider society, mostly in connection with the conflict in and about Northern Ireland.  During this period, he was a programme co-ordinator for the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation and the Irish Peace Centres, as well as a Director of Beyond Walls Ltd.  From 2013 he is based again in South Africa and works as a researcher and facilitator attached to the Transformation Office of the University of Stellenbosch.

This event takes place in Block MU, Teaching Centre, Magee campus and is open to everyone.



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05:30PM to 07:00PM

MU114, Teaching Centre

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