Religious Faith and Anti-Apartheid Activism

Muslim groups such as Al-jihad and Call of Islam joined the UDF, while other groups such as the Muslim Youth Movement and Qibla also became more socially and politically conscious. Call of Islam dominated Muslim politics by organizing the political funerals of Muslims in the Cape. It drew inspiration from universal peace movements and emphasized the essential oneness of humankind (Esack 491, 94), (TRC Final Report, vol. 4 chap. 3).

In 1988, the UDF launched a nationwide Defiance Campaign in which religious activists of all faiths were prominent once again, despite the threats of banning, intimidation, torture, criminal prosecution, and even death. They, along with hundreds of other liberation activists, helped mount the intense pressure on the government that led to the 1990 negotiations between leaders of the National Party and the African National Congress.


Esack, Farid. "Three Islamic Strands in the South African Struggle for Justice." Third World Quarterly 10.1-2 (1988): 473-98.

Lodge, Tom, et al. All, Here and Now : Black Politics in South Africa in the 1980s. South Africa Update Series. London: C. Hurst and Co, 1992.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report, Volume 4 Chapter 3.

Villa-Vicencio, Charles. The Spirit of Freedom: South African Leaders on Religion and Politics. Perspectives on Southern Africa ; 52. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.

Walshe, Peter. "Christianity and the Anti-Apartheid Struggle: The Prophetic Voice within Divided Churches." Christianity in South Africa: A Political, Social, and Cultural History. Ed. Richard Elphick and Rodney Davenport. Perspectives on Southern Africa ; 55. Berkeley ; Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997. 383-99.

AODL African Studies Center MSU NEH Matrix