South Africa is a country in the extreme South of Africa. It is bordered to the North by Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, to the North-East by Mozambique and Swaziland. South Africa is one of the most nationally diverse countries in Africa and has the largest proportion of white, Asian and mixed populations on the continent. The country has rich mineral resources and is the most economically developed in Africa and has a relatively strong global position.
There is no official religion. According to the 2001 census, about 80 per cent of the population are Christians of various persuasions, with 11.1 per cent of the population belonging to the Church of Zion, 8.2 per cent to Pentecost, 7.1 per cent to Catholics, 6.8 per cent to Methodists, 6.7 per cent to members of The Dutch reformed Church and 3.8 per cent to Anglicans. 15% of the population adheres to traditional beliefs or does not profess any religion. Muslims and Hindus account for 1.5 per cent and 1.3 per cent of the population, respectively.
Calvinism became one of the components of national identity of the Boers, foreshadowing such traits of politicians and ordinary people, like persistence, resilience in the face of failure, fatalism, moderation and simplicity. On the other hand, he contributed to the formation of the idea of the exclusivity of the emerging people.
The ethnos, which arose on the basis of several generations of immigrants and refugees, was perceived by its representatives as a new "people of the Covenant" (by analogy with the ancient Jews who concluded the old Testament with God), chosen for great achievements. As a result, the massive migrations of drills in Africa itself ("the great track"), caused mainly by economic reasons, received a strong ideological justification, which strengthened the determination of" trackers", leaving the power of the British as well as the ancient Jews once left the power of the Egyptian Pharaoh in the promised Land.
In the era of apartheid, the state sponsored churches, seeing them as an important tool for supporting the" traditional " African ethnic group. At the same time, Christianity played an important role in the ideological argument of the division of races, reinforcing the spontaneous racism (almost inevitable in contacts between different racial groups) with quotations from Scripture and near-biblical mythology.
According to many researchers, the myth of the descendants of ham ("the curse of Canaan") played an important role in the formation of the racist worldview of Christian Europeans. In a Christian environment, it was believed that the peoples of the southern countries (including Africans) are descended from ham, one of Noah's sons, punished by the father for disrespect. The curse of Noah, pronounced against Canaan, the son of ham, condemned Him and his offspring to slavery with his brothers, which later became one of the excuses for the Europeans to trade African slaves.
In addition, images of the Devil and his servants, in conditions of shortage of a sufficient number of detailed descriptions in the Bible, is largely formed under the influence of the Holy Tradition and Christian Apocrypha, where the forces of Darkness were often identified with a geographical South (including part of Africa, known to the authors of these works) and black skin color. This has further contributed to the formation of racist stereotypes and the justification of racial inequality.
On the other hand, a large number of denominations opposed the practice of apartheid. In the recent history of South Africa, religious themes (often in a sectarian interpretation) have become a source of inspiration for African right-wing extremists.
The response of Africans to the racist position of The Dutch reformed Church, which did not accept black parishioners, and the life troubles of the colonial era and the period of apartheid was the creation of Afro-Christian churches, which were doctrinally different from other Christian denominations and more in line with the spiritual aspirations of Africans.
At present, in South Africa, as in many other developing countries, the popularity of Pentecost (one of the directions of Christianity) continues to grow, which a number of researchers explain by the presence in this doctrine of assumptions that many Africans associate with progress and success. Pentecost involves a symbolic break with the past at baptism, considers wealth and well-being more pleasing to God than poverty, actively fighting alcoholism and other social vices. Thus, in a difficult post-reform period, religion again allows a large part of the country's population to find the purpose of life and strength to achieve it.
Despite the fact that religious organizations remain important as participants of charitable activities, in General, it should be recognized that the influence of religion on politics in modern South Africa is much less than in the period of statehood and apartheid. There are several Christian co-democratic parties in the country, but their role in the political process is very small.
The former high Hierarch of the Anglican Church in South Africa, Archbishop Desmond tutu, who headed the truth and reconciliation Commission in 1996-2001, continues to be considered an important figure in South African public policy, although the assessment of his activities and the role of the Commission in overcoming the consequences of apartheid is very contradictory.
The Junior partner of the Democratic Alliance is the Muslim party of Africa, which is not very popular in the elections. On the problem of politicized Islam, see " External and internal threats to the security of the state."
The situation with traditional African beliefs varies from city to village. In the first, a significant part of the population (especially young people) has already largely westernized, and the influence of religion on the way of life is mainly manifested in the rudiments of the old worldview (superstitions, etc.), formal observance of religious norms, etc. the Village continues to demonstrate a more consistent approach to traditional beliefs.
An element of traditional culture that still influences the behavior of South Africans is the belief in the destructive power of witchcraft. The most odious manifestation of this faith is the public reprisals against suspects in witchcraft, which periodically take place in certain settlements.
Политические системы современных государств.- М.:МГИМО - Университет МИД России, Институт общественного проектирования, Журнал «Эксперт», 2009.
Religion / South Africa / Country Studies URL: http://countrystudies.us/south-africa/52.htm
South Africa / U.S. Department of State URL: https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/2006/71325.htm
Южно-Африканская Республика / Религия и государство, роль религии в политике / Политический атлас современности URL: http://www.hyno.ru/tom4/2070.html