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'Mandela Mania': Mainline Churches in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Barbara Bompani
Third World Quarterly
Vol. 27, No. 6 (2006), pp. 1137-1149
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4017744
Page Count: 13
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'Mandela Mania': Mainline Churches in Post-Apartheid South Africa
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Abstract

This paper investigates the public role of mainline churches in post-apartheid South Africa and their interaction with the political discourse. The action of churches in the public sphere in the 1990s has been commonly defined as 'critical solidarity' and their voice was of support and alignment with the African National Congress (ANC) position in the process of nation building. Through an analysis of political and religious discourse this paper aims to demonstrate that it is possible to identify a shift in the churches' action in the past five years, passing from a position of alignment and non-confrontation with the government to a situation of disengagement and critical oppostion. This reshaped relationship highlights the internal and external difficulties of the ANC in shifting from liberation to democracy. This is underscored by the generation of rhetoric and myth that preclude critical spaces, asserting the inalienable right of the ANC to produce all political discourses.

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