The Norwegian Missionary Society under apartheid in Durban: attitudes towards the Nationalist Government,the loss of educational endeavours, and the emergence of an autonomous Zulu Lutheran Church
Hale, Frederick Allen
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Active in rural Natal and the Kingdom of Zululand since the middle of the nineteenth century, the Norwegian Missionary Society (NMS) undertook evangelisation and other forms of ministry to urbanised Zulus in and around Durban in 1890. This sub-field became one centre of its work in the Union of South Africa, and by the time of the accession of the National Party to power in 1948, it encompassed numerous congregations and a large number of schools. The Norwegian Lutheran missionaries lagged behind many of their Swedish counterparts in responding critically to the implementation of apartheid during the late 1940s and early 1950s, but the forced surrender of its educational endeavours stimulated a modest increase in its prophetic voice against the social engineering of apartheid. At the same time, the Zulu Lutheran churches which the NMS had spawned were becoming autonomous bodies without missionary supervision. Although shifts in residential patterns caused by legislation compelled the redeployment of personnel from time to time, most aspects of Norwegian missionary work among the Zulus in and near Durban was not severely disrupted by apartheid in the years under review.
- Faculty of Theology