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Pre-Apartheid Discrimination & Separation?

July 6, 2006

Well its been a while since I posted–much longer than anticipated. Excuses? I have plenty–I was sick, it’s been hectic at work–setting & marking exams etc & a myriad of others. Ultimately though it doesn’t matter because as Ryan Bell accurately points out in a post on his Intersections blog: “I just entered a busy period of life, got sick, and just generally didn’t feel like writing. Which got me to thinking…this blog doesn’t own me. I own it! I can choose not to write if I want to! So, if you’ve been checking and haven’t noticed anything for a few days, I do apologize. Now, let’s get back to it!” http://ryanbell.typepad.com/intersections/2006/05/blog_silence.html

Back to it then.

In my previous post I began a discussion of the racially divided SDA church in South Africa, pointing out that the SDA church has since its earliest stages been divided along racial lines. Unlike some of those vocal voices in the current debate on separate conferences here in South Africa I do not accept this as evidence that this is the way it should be! Yes it is indeed accurate to state that the SDA church’s separation began well before the official beginning of apartheid in 1948–what should also be recognized is that racial discrimination in South Africa generally did not begin with Apartheid (which in Afrikaans means “apart-ness” or “separateness,”) itself.
“The term Apartheid was introduced during the 1948 election campaign by DF Malan’s Herenigde Nasionale Party (HNP – ‘Reunited National Party’). But racial segregation had been in force for many decades in South Africa. In hindsight, there is something of an inevitability in the way the country developed its extreme policies. When the Union of South Africa was formed on 31 May 1910, Afrikaner Nationalists were given a relatively free hand to reorganise the country’s franchise according to existing standards of the now-incorporated Boer republics, the Zuid Afrikaansche Repulick (ZAR – South African Republic or Transvaal) and Orange Free State. Non-Whites in the Cape Colony had some representation, but this would prove to be short-lived.” http://africanhistory.about.com/library/bl/blSAApartheidFAQ.htm

So in summary then, both racial separation & discrimination in the SDA church and in South Africa generally began well before 1948.

It is not therefore a legitimate argument to base the proposed continuation of racially divided conferences–“minority status” or otherwise–around.

NOTE: For those of you out of the “loop,” here in South Africa it has been proposed that following the amalgamation of most conferences that an application be made to the General Conference (GC–the governing body of the SDA church: http://www.adventist.org/) to set up (resurrect?) separate White conferences with “minority” status.

One comment

  1. […] I have previously blogged on Race and Seventh-day Adventism in South Africa: here, here, here and here.I want to briefly recap the situation focussing on Helderberg College (extracted from my ASDAH […]



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