South Africa’s Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) and the Afrikaner people it served had, since the 17th century drawn a distinction between white ‘Christians’ and the apparently unconvertible ‘heathen’ peoples around them. The Afrikaners’ identity as a covenanted people was reinforced by the British conquest of 1899-1902. In the effort to maintain a white-ruled South Africa, some Afrikaners flirted with Nazism, but from 1948 the National Party chose a different path: a doctrine of ‘apartheid’ or ‘separate development’, which drew deeply on the DRC’s theology. Theology legitimised apartheid, but was also instrumental in bringing it to a sudden and remarkably peaceful end.
No reservations are required for this lecture. It will be run on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Doors will open 30 minutes before the start of the lecture.
Alec Ryrie is Visiting Gresham Professor in the History of Religion. He is also Professor of the History of Christianity and Leverhulme Major Research Fellow at Durham University.
His first series of lectures as Visiting Gresham Professor in the History of Religion will be delievered under the title The History and Legacy of Protestant Christianity.