RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

C. Nxamalo: "The Shembe Story."

The prophet Isaiah Shembe founded the amaNazaretha around 1912. Today, his church is recognized as an important new religious movement in South Africa. But, for decades the followers of Shembe, and other African Independent Churches were shunned and persecuted as political movements, which, the critics said, were "not true religions." Today, the World Council of Churches, and other respected religious bodies, recognize the implicit racism in such judgments. Therfore, they rightly acknowledge that African Independent Churches are genuine religions. This picture has been selected to remind readers that the issue of religious freedom is complex and not something which only concerns people in Europe or North America.

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