The role of Coloured church leaders in the anti-apartheid struggle : 16 June 1976-16 June 1986

Master Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
In South Africa, there are different terms used to describe so-called different population groups. The official terms used by the apartheid government were Coloured, Indian, White and Natives or Bantu. Coloureds were subdivided into no less than 5 subgroups. Coloureds were also known pejoratively as Hottentots as opposed to the more acceptable, Khoi-Khoi, and Bushmen as opposed to the Khoi San. The term Coloured was not accepted by the majority who fell into this group. Coloureds in their more positive sense can be seen as Africans of mixed ancestry. The term, Indians, referred to South Africans of Indian descent and the term, Whites, collectively described all Africans of European descent. The terms, Natives or Bantu, referred to indigenous Africans, pejoratively called, 'Kaffirs'. With the advent of the Black Consciousness Movement, there was an attempt to challenge this negative classification of all people who were not white. Black Consciousness redefined all oppressed people who were not white as Black. Coloureds Indians and Natives were thus defined as Black. This use of the word Black was meant to be positive to affirm the oppressed masses in South Africa. It was used as a rejection of the term non-white, which defined oppressed people in terms of whiteness. In response to the events of 1976, the apartheid government moved swiftly to counter this attempt to unify the oppressed community under one umbrella, namely Blackness. In order to sew confusion, as well as to once again gain hegemony over oppressed South Africans, they replaced the term Native or Bantu with Black, and continued to use the terms Coloured, Indian and White to describe the other so-called racial groups. In this thesis I will use the tenns coloured, Indian, African, white and apartheid in lower case out of protest against the apartheid classification system. When they appear in quotations in upper case, they will be written within quotation marks. E.g. 'Coloured' The ten coloured will refer to Africans of mixed ancestry. The tenn indian will refer to Africans of Indian descent The tenns 'Black' 'Native' 'Bantu' when referring to indigenous Africans will be replaced by the tenn african in lower case, except in quotations when they will be written in quotation marks. The tenn black will refer to coloureds, Indians and Africans. The tenn Ecumenical Church will refer to the member 'churches of the South African Council of Churches. This includes what is known as the major English-Speaking Churches, such as the Methodist, Congregational, Presbyterian, Lutheran and Anglican Churches. The Ecumenical Church will often be referred to as the Church for short.