THE REFORMED CHURCHES IN SOUTH AFRICAAND THE STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE:REMEMBERING 1960-1990
Conference presented by theFaculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University
14-16 May 2012
This conference provides the opportunity to revisit a very dramatic period in South Africa church and theological history, with a special focus on the role played by the various Reformed Churches.In 1960 the Sharpeville massacre took place – an event that sent shock waves through the country and also caused an international outcry. In 1990 the State President at the time, F.W. de Klerk, gave his famous speech in which he unbanned several political parties, including the ANC, and announced the release of some political prisoners, most prominently Nelson Mandela, thus heralding in a period of transition that led to the first democratic elections in 1994. In South African church history 1960 and 1990 too serves as important historical markers. In 1960 an important and controversial ecumenical church consultation took place at Cottesloe (in Johannesburg) and in 1990 another eventful consultation was held near Rustenburg. The decades between 1960 and 1990 was, without doubt, a dramatic period in South African church history as churches, ecumenical bodies, church leaders and theologians responded in their different ways to the realities of apartheid South Africa. The “church struggle” against apartheid in South Africa has been chronicled in several articles and books, most notably in John de Gruchy’s influential book The Church Struggle in South Africa (1979, 1986, 2005). Yet much work still needs to be done. The need remains to revisit the role churches and theology played in the church struggle by way of responsible church and theological historiography. This conference aims to address this need.