Moiseraele Prince Dibeela
This interpretation of Genesis cosmology is done by an African in Botswana. It is therefore done with certain presuppositions arising out of my Africanness. The first such supposition is my conviction that this creation account carries some of the central teachings of the Hebrew Bible. The second presupposition is that much of what now constitutes the Bible arose out of an experiential living of the faith. This understanding calls for a new hermeneutic: a hermeneutic that does not only take seriously the form and world of the text, but the culture and experience of the reader. For instance, what is the significance of Setswana mythological narratives about creation in comparison to biblical myth? Is the fact that African communities are largely storytelling communities of any significance to reading the Bible, which as a final product is a compilation of stories of faith by the believers?
Academic structures have made Bible reading a monopoly of the few professional theologians and clergy who have gone to seminaries and universities. But what do we do about the ordinary member in the pews? How can academic methods of reading be allowed to have a creative interplay with experiential readings of the Bible? These questions lay ground for a hermeneutic that seeks to take cognisance of the world of the reader, the world of the text and how they impact on each other. In order to bring into focus my approach to the text, I shall begin by expounding on my culture and my identity before I specifically examine the text itself.
I am a Motswana man belonging to the Bangwaketsi ethnic group in the south of Botswana. I am quite aware that my maleness is a factor in the process of interpreting the Bible. It is bound to influence my approach. As a Christian, I believe in an inclusive society and I cherish respect for all peoples irrespective of their gender. However, I cannot deny that I have been socialized in a patriarchal society, which has implanted in me the false belief that a man is superior to a woman. This belief is unacceptable to me yet it is so strong in me that no matter how I resist it, time and again I find myself guilty of unconscious gender discrimination.