THE STATE OF SECULARISM, religion, tradition and democracy in South Africa

: Leatt (D.)

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232pp., paperback, Johannesburg, 2017


Dhammamegha Leatt examines the roles played by religion and traditional authority in apartheid South Africa and the position of religion in the post-apartheid state. She also analyses the negotiations relating to religion in the constitution-making process, and argues that while South Africa is secular in its Constitution and judicial foundations it is increasingly non-secular in its embrace of traditional authorities and customary law.

"The author deftly guides the reader through various committees, negotiation forums, interest groups, political parties and legal wrangles to uncover the often-surprising developments, alliances and political about-turns in the process of Constitution-making. This is not just politics as the search for power, or the politics of big men … but a thoroughly human affair with its attendant messiness, idealism, complexities and ambiguities." Ilana van Wyk, author of "A Church of Strangers: The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in South Africa"

Dhammamegha Annie Leatt is a research associate at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER).