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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499


MULLER, Retief. The Awkward Positioning of a Dutch Reformed "Missionary" in Apartheid South Africa: Rev. D. P. Botha and the Cape "Coloured" Question. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2020, vol.46, n.1, pp.1-15. ISSN 2412-4265.

The Rev. D. P. (David) Botha was a lifelong apartheid critic and minister in the Dutch Reformed Mission Church (DRMC) and later the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA). Early in his career, he served as a "missionary" in a DRMC congregation in Wynberg, and subsequently in other congregations in the Western Cape, South Africa. During his career, he wrote an important book and engaged in public discourse through contributions in newspapers and other mainstream publications. Focusing on these sources, most of which now form part of his private collection in the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) Archive, this article traces Botha's growing agitation regarding the implementation of apartheid policies, in the aftermath of the institution of the 1950 Group Areas Act. Among other things it illuminates the early apartheidera white view of the other, as experienced and critiqued by this insider-outsider minister with respect to his assessment of general white perceptions of so-called "coloureds" in the Cape Town area. Through specific attention to Botha's correspondences with A. P. Treurnicht and Beyers Naudé, this article also shows the problematic perspective of a white missionary seeking to alleviate the impact of policy decisions on his church members, while simultaneously buying into the predominant ideology of racial categorisation.

Keywords : apartheid; "coloureds"; Dutch Reformed Mission Church (DRMC); group areas; South Africa; theology.

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