Since the 1950s, Christian Aid has stood in solidarity with South Africa against apartheid and inequality, and continues to do so as one of the founding partners of ACT Ubumbano. Read about the experience and lessons learnt

Christian Aid first began working in South Africa in the 1950s with ‘clandestine’ grants, given to Black community programmes to signal support and solidarity. Over the next 60-70 years the programme evolved in different ways, responding both to shifts within South Africa and within the organisation.

The final stage of this journey was for Christian Aid, along with other European members of the ACT Alliance, and Southern African civil society organisations to establish ACT Ubumbano, a solidarity hub fighting for economic, environmental and gender justice. Throughout its long history solidarity was a key value in the programme, but what this meant in practice shifted as needs changed.

This review explores key themes in Christian Aid’s engagement in South Africa, noting in particular the depth of political analysis and strength of national partners in South Africa, and how this shaped the type of relationships and contribution that Christian Aid was able to make in this context. This was not a one-way process as our partners also influenced Christian Aid’s thinking and practice.

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