Performing Christ

South African Protest Theatre and the Theological Dramatic Theory of Hans Urs von Balthasar

by Marthinus Havenga (Author)
Monographs XIV, 232 Pages


In the latter part of the twentieth century, against the backdrop of the Sharpeville Massacre and the Soweto Uprising, theatre became a central means of artistic resistance in apartheid South Africa. One of the most significant plays from this time was Woza Albert!, which was created and staged by the actor-duo Percy Mtwa and Mbongeni Ngema, with the help and creative input of the renowned theatre-maker and political activist, Barney Simon. What made this protest play so powerful and provocative was the fact that it restaged the Christ-drama, as presented in the Gospels, in the context of apartheid South Africa. This book sets out to explore this performance of Christ during one of the darkest hours in South Africa’s history, by turning to – and offering an in-depth investigation of – the theological dramatic theory of the Swiss Catholic theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar.


XIV, 232
ISBN (Book)
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, 2021. XIV, 232 pp.

Biographical notes

Marthinus Havenga (Author)

Marthinus J. Havenga (PhD, Stellenbosch University) is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology at the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University. He has published articles in the fields of theological aesthetics, historical and constructive theology, and liturgical studies, and has co-edited the volumes Theology from Below: Contributions from Emerging Scholars and Broken Bodies and Redemptive Tables: The Lord’s Supper and Its Theological, Historical and Socio-Political Dimensions.


Title: Performing Christ