If the evidence of Reverend Frank Chikane was anything to go by, the church was not a place of refuge even for men of the cloth during the days of apartheid.
Chikane, at the inquest into Dr Neil Aggett's death on Thursday, testified about how he was arrested numerous times by security branch police from the premises of the church.
As he took to the stand of the high court in Johannesburg, he gave harrowing accounts of how, during one of his numerous arrests, the security branch police hanged him upside down until he lost consciousness. At another point, they made him stand on a set of bricks for about two days while he was chained to a heater. In another interrogation session, they ripped his afro hair from his skull and made him pick it up and throw it in the dustbin.
The Apostolic Faith Mission, he said, had done little to assist him during his many incarcerations but instead had called a meeting and spoken about how he and his wife should leave the mission house they occupied, arguing that they were tired of the negative publicity he was attracting.
“I was suspended from the church. They said I was suspended until I repented,” Chikane said. The church was tired of how he appeared to always be attracting trouble.
Behind bars and during his days of torture, the security branch officers even listened in on his prayers which they used in records against him. Chikane would spend some of his time praying against apartheid.