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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versión On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versión impresa ISSN 1017-0499

Studia Hist. Ecc. vol.35 no.1 Pretoria  2009


Detention without trial: The experience of the Reverend Douglas Thompson in the South African state of emergency, 1960



Anthony Egan

Jesuit Institute South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa




This article is a Lyotardian "little narrative" of the experience of Methodist minister Douglas Thompson's period in detention during the 1960 state of emergency in South Africa. It highlights the way in which Thompson boosted the morale of fellow detainees through his conduct of religious services - acts which reflect Scott's "arts of resistance" of the powerless. It presents a picture of the white left/liberal opposition during this period and illustrates the importance of the churches to act decisively against the apartheid state during the period.



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Works consulted

Published works

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Hewson, Leslie 1960. The report of the consultation among South African Member Churches of the World Council of Churches. 7-14 December 1960 at Cottesloe, Johannesburg.         [ Links ]

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Cullen Library, University of the Witwatersrand

1. A1906 Douglas Thompson Papers

AiA2: Letters

Ai15: Manuscript of Limericks

Da2: Diaries of D C Thompson

2. A1931: Ernest Wentzel Papers

A6: Unpublished Memoirs

3. A1985: Interview with Douglas Thompson

Interviews (conducted by author)

Luli Callinicos, Johannesburg, 24 September 1997.

Ike Horvitch, London, 13 November 1997.


Ron Press, "To Change the World! Is Reason Enough?" Available at :



1 Co-researcher at the Research Institute for Theology and Religion, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa.

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