Scope and Contents
The collection consists of: minutes of the meetings of the Trustees of the Fund (1974-1976); papers, Director's Reports, newsletters, bulletins and digests issued by the Christian Institute and Fund giving information or responding to events in South Africa (1966-1977); correspondence including letters to the Fund from donors and from C. F. B. Naude (1973-1976); reports, articles, and bulletins by other organisations about the Institute, legal actions in South Africa, other anti-apartheid groups or organisations promoting aid for the black population (c 1974-1976); and correspondence and statements detailing the Fund's finances (c 1974-1983).
Biographical / Historical
The Christian Institute of Southern Africa was formed in August 1963 to allow Christians of all denominations to meet together to frame responses to racial and other problems in South Africa. Initially composed of 280 members, many of them church leaders, it was, unlike the Christian Council of South Africa, composed of individual Christians rather than churches and missionary bodies. As well as monitoring and commenting on social and political matters and on apartheid the Christian Institute began to interest itself in the theological training of the ministers of the African Independent Churches and in 1968 joined with the South African Council of Churches in working out a plan of training for these ministers. The Institute was, however, primarily interested in discussing and promoting appropriate and workable Christian responses to issues such as race relations and, as such, attracted criticism from some churches and from the government. Although it was committed to non-violent opposition, the Institute was increasingly critical of the state and many accused it of confusing religion with politics. It organised conferences and published regularly, in addition to a newsletter and the annual Directors Report, there was an independent Christian magazine Pro Veritate and the Institute established the Study Project on Christianity in Apartheid Society (Spro-Cas) in 1969 which produced a series of reports on a variety of political, economic or ethical topics. In 1973 the South African government began a series of actions against the Institute and its supporters including a trial of Beyer Naude and his colleagues which attracted world-wide attention. In the UK the Christian Institute Fund began raising money to support the Institute and publicising its activities. Along with many other organisations the Christian Institute was banned by the South African government shortly after Steve Biko's death in 1977 but the Fund continued to support causes that promoted racial equality and Christianity in Southern Africa.