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Thiven Reddy

South African religious figure and antiapartheid activist, was born to Sarah and Willem Boesak in Kakamas, Northern Cape. When Boesak was young, his father, a teacher, passed away. His family moved to Somerset West, where, at age 14, Boesak became active in the Dutch Reformed Church. He studied at the Bellville Theological Seminary, graduating as a priest in 1967. He went on to obtain a doctorate in Holland at the Kampen Theological Institute and then returned to South Africa to assume an active role in the struggle against apartheid.

As leader of the Afrikaner-dominated Dutch Reformed Church (DRC), he was the major force in getting the World Alliance of Reformed Churches to declare apartheid a heresy in 1982 At the time that body had not questioned South Africa s membership or the supportive stand of the DRC and the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk NHK toward apartheid and the ruling ...

Article

Diane L. Barnes

William Goodell was born in Coventry, New York, to the Connecticut natives Frederick Goodell and Rhoda Guernsey. A childhood illness left Goodell bedridden for several years but also sparked a lifelong interest in learning. Although his meager circumstances precluded the attainment of formal education beyond common school, he developed an interest in writing and embarked on a career as an author and journalist. Goodell's editing work was closely tied to the reform agendas of his day: in 1827 he began to edit a general reform weekly from Providence, Rhode Island, and over his career was associated with such periodicals as the Genius of Temperance, the Emancipator, the Friend of Man, the Christian Investigator, the American Jubilee, the Radical Abolitionist, and the National Principia. By 1830 Goodell had returned to New York and for the remainder of his career as an editor ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

pioneering religious leader and political activist in Sierra Leone and Nigeria, also known as James “Holy” Johnson, was born around 1835 in the town of Kakanda, near Waterloo on the coast of Sierra Leone. The incessant conflicts that tore Yoruba communities apart in the early nineteenth century brought his parents to Sierra Leone, as they had been enslaved and sold to Europeans. Johnson’s mother told him as a child of the horrors of the Middle Passage and the willingness of slaves to commit suicide rather than endure the voyage into bondage. Luckily, Johnson’s father and mother were liberated from slave ships by British naval anti-slave patrols. His father belonged to the Ijesha community, while Johnson’s mother came from an Ijebu kingdom and claimed to be related to the Awujale royal family. Details about Johnson’s parents are scant, and Johnson’s short 1908 autobiography did not mention his father at all ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Kongolese religious and political reformer, was born to a wealthy noble Kongo-speaking family in Kibangu, a mountainous region located in present-day Angola. Little is known of Kimpa Vita’s immediate family, but she grew up during a period of fragmentation and civil war. The relative stability of the Kongo kingdom in the sixteenth century had collapsed in the wake of the Portuguese invasion from Angola to its south in the 1660s. By the late seventeenth century, the old kingdom had divided into a range of competing noble families, each claiming to be the rightful dynasty that could rebuild the shattered fragments of Kongo into a single state. Kimpa Vita’s father served as an officer in the army of King Álvaro X, whose pretentions of being the true monarch of Kongo did not correspond with the tiny amount of territory around Kibangu that he actually controlled.

Amid this chaotic political landscape Kimpa ...

Article

Ethan Michael Key

Onesimos was significant in the spread of Protestant Christianity, as well as in establishing schools for Oromo children in their own language. He was instrumental in planting the seed of modern education, especially in the region of Wallaga, in the early twentieth century. His most notable literary contributions include the Macaafa Qulqulluu (Holy Bible, 1899) in the Oromo language, as well as the 1894Jalqaba Barsiisa (Oromo Spelling Book, written in collaboration with Aster Ganno), which promoted literacy in the Oromo language.

Born Hiikaa Awajii which coincidentally can mean translator in the mid 1850s near Hurrumu Illu Abba Bora Ethiopia Onesimos was a member of a pastoral Macha Oromo family which was raided by neighboring groups Hiikaa s father Awajii died when Hiikaa was very young leaving his mother her brothers and her young children to tend their cattle alone Shortly after Awajii s death their family suffered a ...