Much has been written about the role and contributions of the church in the struggle against, and
the dismantling of, apartheid in South Africa (e.g. De Gruchy & De Gruchy 2004; Hofmeyer,
Millard & Froneman 1991; Plaatjies-Van Huffel & Vosloo 2013). However, very little has been
written from a church historical point of view about the role of the church in the development and
shaping of democracy in South Africa since 1994. This article attempts to provide a historical
survey of the role and contributions of the church, specifically, in building the new democratic
South Africa. It pays particular attention to the struggles of the South African council of churches
(SACC), the split in the ecumenical movement and the efforts of the church to impact on the
realities in South Africa since 1994 until the present. In spite of all the challenges, the church has
contributed to the building of the democratic South African nation. I shall illustrate this by
examining archival material and information extracted from mainly the primary sources such as
statements, pronouncements, press releases, events, minutes and actions undertaken by the
church within the period mentioned.
This paper was presented at the Third Joint Conference of Academic Societies in the field of Religion and Theology, 11–15 July 2016
at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.