The African Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ACLARS)

In Memoriam: Mary-Anne Plaatjies-Van Huffel

Photo: Dominique Jeftha, MatieMedia (2019)

With deep sorrow, all of us in the ACLARS Community join many others worldwide in mourning the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Professor Mary-Anne Plaatjies-Van Huffel, who passed away on 20 May 2020 from complications following surgery.

From ACLARS Board Member Professor Mark Hill QC: “Many happy memories of a great scholar and ecumenist and a much loved friend. Sending sympathy to her family, friends and colleagues. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.”

Mary-Anne was Professor in Ecclesiology in the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. We reproduce here the tribute of Professor Reggie Nel, Dean of the Stellenbosch Faculty of Theology.

 “Prof Plaatjies-van Huffel played a remarkable and pioneering role in the church landscape in South Africa, our continent and internationally. She was the first woman to be ordained in the former Dutch Reformed Mission Church, which became the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa, and later she was also elected as the first woman moderator of its General Synod.

“While she has been a staunch activist for causes like black theology, woman’s rights and transformation on many levels, and has represented our continent in prominent positions including in the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the World Council of Churches, she has also been a passionate church historian, church law expert and pedagogue. Her career at the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University commenced fairly recently, but she made an indelible impression in her field, and in the hearts and minds of her colleagues and students. She was the first black woman to be promoted to full professor at the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University and this remarkable achievement would have been recognised at her inaugural lecture as Professor in Ecclesiology later this year.

” We recognise her many remarkable talents, achievements and contributions, but above all we remember her for her indomitable courage, her lovely person and her kind heart.

¬†“We mourn her passing with her husband, Rev Dawid van Huffel, her family¬†and friends, our faculty community and the wider church community.”

See “The Life and Times of Professor Mary-Anne Plaatjies van Huffel: A Transformative Church Leader in Sub-Saharan Africa” by Charles Flaendorp, on the online communication channel of CYM David Street Branch in Tlhabane, which is part of URCSA Rustenburg-Tlhabane Congregation.

The 8th Conference on Law and Religion in Africa: Law, Religion and the Family


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ACLARS Issues “African Perspectives on Human Dignity for Everyone Everywhere”

For those submitting papers: ACLARS Style Guides for 2019 in English and French

The 7th Conference on Law and Religion in Africa: Law, Religion and the Environment

Gaborone, Botswana, 19-21 May 2019

The 7th ACLARS Conference, an excellent event in its own right, was marked by election of new officers of the Consortium and by the adopted of an Endorsement and Elaboration of the Punta del Este Declaration on Dignity for Everyone Everywhere , the foundational document of an international effort launched under the auspices of the European Academy of Religion with the support of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies in the United States. A number of ACLARS members participated in the launching of Declaration in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in December 2018, and in preparatory and ongoing events in support of it. Adding the perspective of African voices to this important international declaration was a partciularly meaningful outcome of ACLARS 7.