"They were the immediate representatives of God Almighty on earth"
Dutch Reformed Church in Swellendam
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeDutch Reformed Church in Swellendam - Credit: Fihliwe, Flickr

99% of Afrikaners (Afrikaans-speaking whites) were members of the fundamentalist, pro-apartheid Dutch Reformed Church. Each congregation was led by a dominee (the church’s unwritten law was that he had to be a married man and the father of many children) and a team of elected ouderlinge (elders) and diakens (younger men).

Once a month the dominee and an ouderling or a diaken would call at each congregation household. They would gather the family together to kneel and pray to God to forgive them their sins and to strike them down should they sin again. The dominee would, at the same time, collect the household’s monthly “gift” of money to the church.