Me, Right Rev. Anders Wejryd and Kenneth Mtata
(Kenneth has been lecturing at UKZN. I actually got his office!)
The conference is over. I am on my way back home. Home to South Africa. I realise this is my home right now. For many reasons.
First of all my wife is there. I shouldn’t forget our dog, but my wife is after all far more important. Now one could argue that I just left four of our five children in Uppsala. How can I say that I go home, when I leave them behind? Because they are all adults now. But it was nice meeting all of them during my short visit in Sweden. Even the one that lives in Gothenburg.
Another reason for realising that my home is in South Africa I got at the last panel discussion of the conference. One of the last questions put to the panel included a reference to “the scholar from South Africa” and when the person who spoke continued I understood that he referred to me. “The scholar from South Africa” - nice!
But also during the conference it struck me that we work differently in South Africa. The students and teachers at the University of KwaZulu-Natal are more concerned with the society they/we live in. The theology, even if it deals with the history of Christianity, are more interested in the contemporary church. The theology is contextual. In this conference there were of course a lot of contextual theology but also a number of lectures and presentation about times and situations long passed. And I reacted to that. Have I become so South African already?
But of course, sometimes you also need to dwell on things and dig deeper into very isolated phenomena in order to understand. The big picture consists of details. Some of us are truly interested in details and they also contribute to a greater understanding. But that is not really my interest. In a sense I reacted to the theme of the conference, form this contextual perspective:
Remembering the past, living the future.
My questions is:
What about the present?
I am homeward bound. In many ways.