Jesus, Jacob, and the New Jerusalem: religion in the public realm between Polokwane and the Presidency

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Seminar Date
May 12, 2010
This paper explores the trajectory of religion in the public realm projected by the African National Congress after liberation (1994), focusing specifically on the period after Polekwane. The paper alludes to the rather reluctant presence of religion in the public realm under Nelson Mandela, traces the ambivalent but increasingly affirmative role under Thabo Mbeki, outlines the official ANC policy on religion in the “RDP of the Soul” document, and then analyses how these trajectories have been taken up by Jacob Zuma in the public realm between Polekwane and the Presidency. The focus throughout is on to what extent there is an emerging ANC-led ‘shape’ to religion in the public realm, and to what extent that shape extends beyond the moral to the economic-political domain.
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