The Dominican Friars in Southern Africa

A Social History (1577-1990)


The purpose of this book is to gather in a single narrative the rather disparate stories of Dominican friars in Southern Africa over the past four centuries. Dominicans from Portugal and Portuguese India were present in South-East Africa from 1577 to 1835. Patrick Raymond Griffith, an Irish Dominican, became the first resident bishop in South Africa in 1837. A Dominican mission was established in 1917 with the arrival of a group of English friars. A second group arrived from the Netherlands in 1932.
The aim is to provide a social history of the Dominicans in Southern Africa, that is, a history that deals specifically with the social and cultural factors of historical development. The Dominicans ministered in a political, social and cultural context which impacted on their apostolic activities and, in turn, was affected by them. The book's terminus ad quem is 1990, when the National Party opened a process of political negotiation, thus ending more than forty years of apartheid rule.
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Biographical Note

Philippe Denis, Ph.D. (1983) in History, University of Liège, Belgium, is Associate Professor in History of Christianity at the School of Theology of the University of Natal. He has published widely on the history of the Reformation and the history of indigenous Christianity in Southern Africa. He belongs to the Dominican Order.

Review Quotes

' ...this study is [...] a fine example of historical methodology.'
Charles S. Walter, Missiology, 2000.
This book is indeed, as it claims, `a social history’, something far more than the story of one quite small group of priests and nuns…this is a book to be warmly welcomed.
Adrian Hastings, Ecclestical Hist., 2000.


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