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Gender, Race, Power and Religion

Women in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa in Post-Apartheid Society


Uta Theilen

This book addresses the evolving structure of the three traditional women’s organisations of the Methodist Church in post-apartheid South Africa, and the experiences of women in leadership roles within the church. These organisations are still more or less divided along racial lines. The aim of the fieldwork – carried out from 1995 to 1997 and in 2000 – was to find out if these racial boundaries would begin to dissolve and if women would find more empowerment in their congregations after the democratisation of the country. Further topics are the renaissance of African traditions and religious practices that came about with the end of apartheid. The methodology follows an ethnographic approach that relies heavily on interviews and participant observation, with the analysis bringing South African women’s voices to bear on these issues, rather than providing an external and analytical analysis of the issues.
Contents: Methodist women’s organisations in post-apartheid South Africa – Methodist mission in South Africa – African traditions and customary law in post-apartheid South Africa – Methodism and African traditions.