The last racially separated church in the Dutch Reformed family of churches: Constituting the Synod of the Evangelical Reformed Church in Africa

  • Willem Saayman
Keywords: Evangelical Reformed Church in Africa (ERCA), Dutch Reformed Church (DRC), DRC mission, Kaokoland, Kavango, Ovambo, Racially separated churches


The author describes the history and circumstances around the founding of the lastracially separated “daughter” church of the white Dutch Reformed Church (DRC),the Evangelical Reformed Church in Africa (ERCA) in Namibia in 1975. He places thisin the context of racial and ethnic church formation by the DRC subsequent to thepublication of the Tomlinson Report. The DRC in Namibia needed a black partnerchurch in the north of Namibia in order to counter the alliance between Swapoand the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ovambo-Kavango. ERCA was miniscule insize in comparison to the Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches in the northern“homelands” of Namibia, which was one reason why indigenous elders as well assome missionaries considered it unwise to institute a separate church at that time.The objections were overruled by the “mother” church (the DRC) that held theupper hand since it funded mission work in the northern “homelands”. The authorconcludes with some critical comments about this episode of DRC mission history.