The Spirit of Freedom: South African Leaders on Religion and Politics

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University of California Press, Oct 8, 1996 - Religion - 325 pages
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This collection of interviews explores the role of religion in the lives of eminent South Africans who led the struggle against apartheid. Nelson Mandela, Chris Hani, Desmond Tutu, Nadine Gordimer, and seventeen other political, religious, and cultural leaders share the beliefs and values that informed the moral positions they adopted, often at great cost. From all ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds, these men and women have shaped one of the greatest political transformations of the century.

What emerges from the interviews are reflections on all aspects of life in an embattled country. There are stories of the homelands and townships, and tales of imprisonment and exile. Dedicated communists relate their intense youthful devotion to Christianity; Muslim activists discuss the complexity of their relationships with their communities. As the respondents grapple with difficult questions about faith, politics, and authority, they expose a more personal picture: of their daily lives, of their pasts, and of the enormous conflicts that arise in a society that continually strains the moral fiber of its citizens. Taken together, these interviews reveal the many-faceted vision that has fueled South Africa's struggle for democracy.
 

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Contents

No Need for the God Hypothesis
3
A Trade Unionist
21
A Jewish Humanist
33
Struggle Not Politics
47
Spirituality and Struggle
61
Surprised by Joy
75
A Hindu and a Socialist
91
A Vocation to Write
103
A Muslim and a Woman
175
Committed to Peace
187
A Mother and a Daughter of Africa
199
A Black Theologian
209
An Afrikaner of Afrikaners
219
The Two Worlds of Islam
233
A Woman of the Soil
247
A Believing Unbeliever
261

Almost a Priest
115
The Dauntless One
131
Liberation Not Power
145
Promoting the Human Project
159
Obedience to God
275
Afterword
287
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About the author (1996)

Charles Villa-Vicencio is Professor of Religion and Society at the University of Cape Town. Thomas Karis is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the City University of New York and Senior Research Fellow at the Ralph Bunche Institute on the United Nations. He is the coeditor of From Protest to Challenge: A Documentary History of African Politics in South Africa.

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