The Ecumenical Struggle in South Africa: The Role of Ecumenical Movements and Liberation Organisations from 1966

Keywords: Black Consciousness Movement, Black Theology, Church Unity Commission, Federal Theological Seminary of Southern Africa, Kairos, National Interfaith Leaders’ Council, Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, South African Council of Churches


 In contemporary South Africa, it would be true to say that there is no longer any urgency with regard to organic union as an aim of ecumenism. This marks a significant reversal of the pre-1994 situation where political and other motives stimulated the impulse. This is not only a local situation, for ecumenism has taken on a different character globally. Former alignments have weakened, and emerging alignments challenge former assumptions regarding ecumenism—and are no less political than formerly within the Pentecostal bloc, which has ousted the SACC from its former place of privilege in the government’s affections. This is not to say that nothing has been happening on the ecumenical scene. There has been significant activity which is ongoing and offers hope for the future of cooperation. This article includes material up to the present and explores these recent activities of the twenty-first century.

Author Biography

Anthony Egan, University of the Witwatersrand
Steve Biko Ethics Centre