The History of the Bahá’í Faith in South Africa

A Growing Community

Despite the circumstances in South Africa, the Bahá'ís were committed to the cause of international peace; the abolition of extremes of wealth and poverty that undermine the unity of society; the overcoming of national, racial and other prejudices; the encouragement of equality in the education of girls and boys; the need to shake off the shackles of ancient dogmas that were inhibiting investigation of reality — these principles for the advancement of civilisation made a powerful impression, and attracted many people of Tswana, Xhosa, Sotho, Coloured, Cape Malay and other backgrounds.

While the policy of apartheid in South Africa was diametrically opposed to the central Bahá’í teaching of the unity of humankind, the Bahá’ís during those years, were able, in a peaceful and unthreatening manner, build a community of diverse races united in a spirit of love. Within the limits of the law, Bahá’ís held interracial gatherings and gave priority to the establishment of local administrative bodies.