Old Testament Essays (Jun 2022)

Heteropatriarchy’s Blame Game

  • Charlene Van der Walt,
  • Hanzline R. Davids

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 35, no. 1


Read online

The COVID 19 pandemic compounded the insecurity and vulnerability experienced by LGBTIQ+ people who remain confined to their family homes during the lockdown in South Africa. LGBTIQ+ people are often referred to as Izitabane, a term that gives derogatory expression to the othering, stigmatisation and exclusion experienced by LGBTIQ+ people in African contexts in general and African faith communities in particular. As the pandemic unfolded, faith leaders reached out to their flock via social media through online worship services and daily devotions. In some instances, these devotions sought “theological clarification” for the pandemic and in the process evoked violence towards the LGBTIQ+ community who were held responsible. In order to engage critically and creatively with these life-denying realities and to search for impulses of hope and life, an episode from the Joseph narrative found in Gen 37 has been appropriated as a reflective surface in the development process of Contextual Bible Study resources engaging the African faith and sexuality landscape. Building on insights gained from employing the tools of Queer Biblical Hermeneutics to read Gen 37, the final part of the essay describes the Contextual Bible Study developed jointly by the Ujamaa Centre at UKZN and Inclusive and Affirming Ministries and offers it as a resource for Izitabane to resist normalisation, correction and annihilation when the Biblical text is used in a life-denying manner. https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2022/v35n1a4