Title page for ETD etd-10232008-173602

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Els, Cornelius Wilhelmus
Email elscw@lantic.net
URN etd-10232008-173602
Document Title Reconciliation in Southern Africa : the role of the Afrikaans Churches. A historical and analytical study of the contributions of the Afrikaans Churches to the process of reconciliation in Southern Africa, with special reference to their response to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Degree PhD
Department Science of Religion and Missiology
Advisor Name Title
Prof P G J Meiring Supervisor
  • Southern Africa
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • Afrikaans Churches
  • TRC
Date 2008-09-04
Availability unrestricted

This study investigates the role of the Afrikaans Churches in the quest for reconciliation in South Africa. Since it is a historical and analytical study, much use has been made of the relevant historical material. It is important in a study like this that there be a relevancy for this kind of study. South Africa is a nation with a complex society, who were weighed down for about forty years under an Apartheid policy, necessitating a probe into the influence of apartheid on society at large but also on the Afrikaans Churches. The different cultural groups in our country need to be reconciled to each other. But what kind of reconciliation? Many different definitions of reconciliation are given depending on who defines it. The politicians’ definitions were different from that of the church. Because reconciliation is a biblical term, it is necessary to look at the biblical mandate and how reconciliation is defined in biblical terms. Short overviews of the history of the origin of the different Afrikaans Churches under discussion are given. (Chapter 1)

In order to understand the reaction of the different churches to the announcement of the constitution of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), it is necessary to look at those events that happened in the churches during the years of Apartheid. The fact that the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) is the largest church under the Afrikaners, explains why more space is given to occurrences in the DRC than to the others. Because Afrikaners work together in many situations, belong to the same clubs, etc. it is also clear that the occurrences in the DRC would have some effect on members of the other churches. Attention is paid to the polarisation and tension amongst churches due to race relations as it manifested itself within South Africa and also globally. (Chapter 2)

Through Parliamentary legislation, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established for South Africa. It is important to take note of the mandate of the TRC and its method of work. Different reactions came from the faith communities and especially from the Afrikaans Churches. This researcher investigates the different attitudes in the churches as made known through correspondence in the different church magazines and daily newspapers. Attention is paid to the different reactions of the churches to the special hearings and the question whether churches must confess before the TRC or not. (Chapter 3)

The reactions in the churches on the submission of evidence before the TRC are investigated. Only the DRC and the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) of the Afrikaans Churches and four theologians from the Reformed Churches of South Africa (RCSA) made their submissions. The other churches did not make use of this opportunity to clear their slates. The submission of the Uniting Reformed Church of South Africa (URCSA)is also mentioned as many of its members are Afrikaans speaking. (Chapter 4 )

The TRC suggested some proposals on reconciliation for the faith communities. This chapter looks at the responses of the churches to these proposals. There are wonderful things happening where churches were obedient and involved in their surroundings. Mostly they are helping in the areas of poverty relief and unemployment. The question about unity between the ‘sister’ churches amongst the Afrikaners and unification between the DRC and URSCA is discussed. (Chapter 5)

Is there hope for our country for reconciliation? This question was addressed to a few leaders in the different churches and their responses are given. Churches do not always know how to go about helping their congregants working on reconciliation. Three models are currently being presented in South Africa on how reconciliation can become a reality and are briefly discussed. A new model is then worked out and proffered for use in and by the church to help congregants in the quest for reconciliation. (Chapter 6)

Chapter 7 concludes this study by proposing a few conclusions.

An extensive Addendum is given. This researcher interviewed church leaders. Their responses and other relevant material e.g. submissions by churches etc. to the TRC are given.

A bibliography concludes this dissertation.

© University of Pretoria 2007

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  00front.pdf 64.63 Kb 00:00:17 00:00:09 00:00:08 00:00:04 < 00:00:01
  01chapter1.pdf 168.26 Kb 00:00:46 00:00:24 00:00:21 00:00:10 < 00:00:01
  02chapter2.pdf 223.54 Kb 00:01:02 00:00:31 00:00:27 00:00:13 00:00:01
  03chapters3-4.pdf 193.63 Kb 00:00:53 00:00:27 00:00:24 00:00:12 00:00:01
  04chapter5.pdf 202.51 Kb 00:00:56 00:00:28 00:00:25 00:00:12 00:00:01
  05chapters6-7.pdf 199.60 Kb 00:00:55 00:00:28 00:00:24 00:00:12 00:00:01
  06back.pdf 698.24 Kb 00:03:13 00:01:39 00:01:27 00:00:43 00:00:03

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