Countryaah data, nearly 80% of the population in South Africa is
Christian, over half of whom are members of Protestant
churches (including Anglicans making up about 5%), approx.
7% are Catholics and approx. 22% belong to independent
churches. There are minorities of Hindus, Muslims and Jews.
An estimated 16% belong to various traditional African
South Africa offers a complicated picture
of religion. The Reformed Church was brought to southern
Africa by Dutch colonists in the 17th century; the English
Church communities came in the 19th century, along with
missionaries from other European countries (Norwegian
mission from the 1840s); Indian immigrants brought with them
Hinduism and Islam. The religious traditions of the Bantu
people also apply. The situation was further complicated by
the apartheid policy.
The colored population is connected to all denominations.
Among the church leaders are significant personalities such
as Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu (Nobel Peace Prize 1984).
There are over 4,000 "independent churches", but only a few
are officially registered churches. They are divided into
"Ethiopian" churches, which have retained the teachings and
structure of the ancient denominations, with colored instead
of white priesthood, and "Zionist churches," sectarian
associations associated with a particular place identified
with "Sion," the source of salvation and liberation.
The white population is divided into African speakers,
mainly affiliated to the Reformed Church, and English
speakers (Protestants, Catholics).
By the end of the 18th century, the Dutch colonial empire
had weakened against England, and in 1806 the British
created their own colony in Cape Town. They made trade
agreements, made the native leaders the middlemen, and
fought the capture of slaves. In this way, they quickly came
into conflict with the strong slave tradition of the
peasants, and these began to call themselves Africans,
to separate themselves from the newly arrived settlers. With
the British colonization came merchants, trading capital and
big farmers, and a large-scale export of, among other
things, was started. wool, cotton, meat and sugar. Slavery
was formally abolished. Among other things. because the lack
of land among Africans in the Cape region meant that they
still had to seek employment with Europeans.
The system of poor reserves for blacks, linked to
European areas in need of cheap and unrestricted labor, was
further developed. Economic exploitation was not abolished
when slavery was abolished, but rather strengthened in line
with the modern export economy. Living and working
conditions for Africans were tightly regulated. Violations
of the strict working and contractual conditions were
considered crimes, and the first passport and detachment
laws date from the mid-1800s.
Disgruntled with the English, 14,000 Africans
emigrated to the interior of the continent in 1834, thus
embarking on the great trek - the long march -
which led them to the present Transvaal, Orange and Nataal.
Here they developed their agricultural production based on
the exploitation of slave labor. In 1852 they formally
created the Transvaal and in 1854 the Orange Free State. It
was a hero in the history of the farmers. The price of their
independence was paid by Africans who were killed in battle,
driven away from their land or made servants, housemates,
land workers or slaves on European estates. In the
constitutions of the Boer Republics, it was stated that "no
equality should prevail in state or church."
The British recognized the independence of the two
regions - especially as the occupation of the new
territories contributed to Cape Town's security. On the
other hand, the Boers had to trade through the ports
controlled by the English. Despite official history
suppressing native resistance, this one was very strong and
organized and cost a large number of native life. In their
expansion to the north, the Boers encountered Xhosa and
Zulus. The legendary Zulu chief, Shaka, had built a strong
military organization, and throughout the 19th century the
Boers and British forces met with strong resistance. It was
not until 1880 that the British succeeded in subduing the
Zulu people with modern automatic weapons.
For the Boers, the indigenous people were simple
savages who had to be subjected to force and forced
into slave labor. The ideology of white superiority
and racial discrimination was a consequence of the
agricultural production built up in the free states. The
land was not nearly as fertile as the British estates in the
Cape and Nataal provinces. The Boers therefore needed cheap
Faced with this was the commercial and liberal thinking
of the British, who saw slavery as an obstacle to the
formation of consumer markets. It did not, however, prevent
them from posing stiff obstacles to the social and economic
ascent of black Africans. The labor laws of 1809 had imposed
harsh penalties on workers who wanted to change jobs. With
the Master and Servant Act of 1843 and later
similar decrees, it was made criminal to break a labor
Around 1850, the English began to hire black workers in
present-day Mozambique, Lesotho and Botswana, as well as
Indians and Chinese. These "imported" workers came without
their families, wages were miserable and they lost their
jobs, had to return to their country of origin.
In 1894, a law was imposed on African workers for an
amount, a form of labor tax, unless they could prove that
they had worked outside their own district for a period. The
purpose of the law was to force Africans to work for a
salary far below what Europeans received. The Africans were
already being forced into reserves where strong social
control and miserable living conditions prevailed. When the
male population was fetched from the reserves, they could be
held down on salaries well below the family subsistence (
labor reproduction ), with the family's reproduction being
taken care of in the reserves. The historical consequence
was that the salaries of the black miners remained unchanged
throughout the period 1910-70.
At the same time as the tax on labor, the African
peasants were subjected to a similar tax which they could
only pay by working for the Europeans. In doing so, the
traditional way of life of Africans was destroyed and wages
could be kept down.