I’m reading Prof. Jonathan Jansen’s book Knowledge in the blood for the second time this week.
I believe it is a critically important book for white Christians in
 South Africa.  Jansen is the first
 black rector of the University of Free State.

The book tracks his experiences at the University of 
Pretoria in the seven years he worked there as the Dean of Education.  The book explores his experiences with
 Afrikaner students – the book is subtitled “Confronting race and the apartheid

I believe this topic is vitally important for the Afrikaner 
today.  I strongly believe that if 
we don’t theologize into the issues of race, racism and identity as South Africans – then we will simply continue in our cocooned existences.

Apartheid was built on a theological justification.  People were taught this system in churches.  When Apartheid fell, did the church
 teach a new story or did we just stop propagating the old ideology without 
“renewing our minds” towards a counter-narrative?  Are we living with the same apartheid mind (church) in a post-Apartheid South Africa?

Jansen’s observations in this book is poignant and the 
scholarship excellent.

As a beneficiary of Apartheid who was born in the seventies
I feel that it is my duty to follow Jesus into this area of our South African
 history and life.  I know this is a 
minority position – so if you don’t agree with me then I would implore you to 
join me on this journey anyway (you can start by buying the book – I don’t receive royalties).

The book opens with the following observation,

“It will never happen 
again.  This is the first and only
 generation of South Africans that would have lived through one of the most dramatic 
social transitions of the twentieth century.  Nobody else would be able to tell this story with the direct
experience of having lived on both sides of the 1990s, the decade in which 
everything changed.” p.1

It amazes me to think that I/we get the privilege to live in
 the story Jansen talks about and describes as “one of the most dramatic social transitions of the twentieth century”.

In between the 
husbanding, parenting, friendships and working we, as South Africans, are
 living in a society whose story has gripped the world (especially in the early
 90’s). Do we realize the amazing epoch we’re living in?

In the first few pages of the book Jansen talks about how
 the transition to democracy has demoted a large group of Afrikaners from their
 automatic positions of privilege (mostly a psychological defeat).
He describes that within this process,

“ … Afrikaners lose 
the battle for Afrikaans in the public domain – that is, in state departments
 and in government facilities, from post offices to railways, from airports to
 streets.  The common language of
 Afrikaans loses its sure footing as black nationalists take over political 
power, except in three cultural spheres: schools, churches and universities.

With the second 
defeat, the struggle for Afrikaans and to some extent Afrikaner protectionism
 is now restricted to these three spheres.
Of the three, the churches are the 
most secure; they are the only space in which Afrikaners can be left alone to
 be white and Afrikaans without interference; they remain the only arena that 
is, in many cases, still all-white and all-Afrikaans in the new South Africa;
true, there is external pressure to change from the broad church community, and 
there are voices of conscience within the mainstream Afrikaner churches
 pressing for a broader sense of mission and for recognition by world bodies
 that once ejected them from the international faith community; but it is
 entirely up to these churches, once indistinguishable from the state, to decide 
whether and when they will change.” P.35

It is at this point of reading the book that I realized how
 much work has to be done inside the white Afrikaner churches.

I understand something of this change.

Three years ago Kleipot opened up our worship space to other 
South Africans by adopting English as our community language.  It was a tough time and we’re still on
 this journey.

The South African Afrikaner “church” space can become healthy. Or it can be a 
festering space where identity is built on protectionist neo-Afrikaner
 nationalism and reeks of racism.

I recently had two experiences that show how this protectionist tactic is still alive.

Parents in our church told how the Christian 
kindergarten where their daughter is enrolled had a meeting to discuss how they 
will keep black children out by speaking Afrikaans.  For the school there is no paradox between this exclusive attitude and 
proclaiming Christianity – of deliberately using language to exclude others.

The second incident was at a wedding where during the prayer at the banquet the person asked for God’s protection for the Afrikaner who is being 
attacked from every side.

It is in church where I believe that followers of Jesus 
should reorder their identity-forming habits away from excluding boundary
markers – especially those ones used during apartheid.

Does Jesus follow a pattern in which (to use Jansen’s phrase) “the Afrikaner can be left alone to be white and Afrikaans without interference?

So here is my question for the day:  Is there a place for all-white 
Afrikaans speaking churches in the New South Africa.  If yes, why?  If  
not, why?