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White Brothers–Black Strangers: Dutch Calvinist Churches and Apartheid in South-Africa

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After apartheid was abolished in 1994, fierce discussions within the Dutch churches on the theme of apartheid were quickly forgotten. However, we could still learn from this important chapter of church history. Erica Meijers argues that the debates during the 1970s and 1980s have their roots in the changes which the churches underwent in the 1950s and 1960s. Apartheid confronted protestant churches with their own images of black and white, their role in the colonial area and their view of the role of the church in society. All this led to a decreasing solidarity with the Afrikaners and a growing focus on black reality in South Africa. White brothers became strangers and black strangers became allies. This is in essence the transformation of attitude which both the Netherlands Reformed Church and the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands underwent between 1948 and 1972.


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Affiliations: 1: Editor-in-chief of De Helling


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