About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

South African Council of Churches (SACC)

Founded in 1968, the SACC became a spearhead of anti-apartheid activity. A succession of outspoken general secretaries helped make the SACC one of the foremost opponents of apartheid during the years political organisations were banned. It has 23 full and observer members, with Methodist Bishop Khoza Mgojo as president. The current general secretary, Frank Chikane, has been seconded to the Independent Electoral Commission until after the 1994 elections.

In addition to creating closer ties between different denominations, the SACC also brings together the top leadership of its member and observer churches, providing a joint platform from which they have been able to speak about injustice and violence. Key leaders of the SACC around the country have been detained, banned, brought to trial and even, in some cases, killed. In 1988 the SACC building in downtown Johannesburg was bombed and so extensively damaged that the organisation had to move to new premises.

The SACC has played an important role in helping promote negotiations - even though a strong lobby within the delegates at recent conferences called for this role to be replaced by the 'prophetic' role of denunciation which the SACC played for many years. It also has a strong involvement in voter education and the promotion of democracy, and has helped facilitate a series of ecumenical peace monitors who have visited the country.

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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.