The role of selected churches and communities in the development and maintenance of inter-racial relationships in Natal in the context of apartheid (1970-1994)
In this study, the role of selected churches and communities in the development and maintenance of inter-racial relationships, in South Africa‟s racially stratified apartheid society, was explored. The study traced the history of anti-miscegenation attitudes - from the arrival of the Dutch settlers in the Cape in 1652 - and the theological basis upon which the segregation policies of apartheid were built. The focus of the study was on inter-racial couples and children, who survived the turbulent period of apartheid. Respondents were recruited through the use of the snowball sampling method. A semi-structured interview process was the primary tool for collecting data. Nine people, representing six family units were interviewed. The results of the study indicate that some inter-racial families were able to navigate the period of apartheid and to create a counter-culture of resistance to the oppressive legislation, which criminalized their relationships while others struggled under repression. The system was detrimental to all inter-racial relationships. However, Black women suffered more and were often exploited. The level of support from churches and communities was varied but in general, people in inter-racial relationships relied heavily upon select circles of friends and family within their communities, who helped preserve the clandestine nature of their relationships. In some instances, local churches chose to confront the prevailing injustice of apartheid segregation legislation and to help families construct alternative realities, while in other instances, local churches shared in the general race prejudices of the time and did not offer meaningful support.
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