After a long process of negotiations the two �daughter churches� of the Dutch Reformed Church united in 1994 to form the Uniting Reformed Church of Southern Africa. The union is doctrinally based on the classic Ref confessions, and, in addition, the Belhar Confession which was formulated by the Dutch Reformed Mission Church in 1982 and adopted in 1990. The Uniting Church aims at the union of all Ref churches in Southern Africa. a) Dutch Reformed Church in Africa (Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk in Afrika) This church was the result of a merger in 1963 of three churches � the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Bantoekerk in Suid-Afrika, the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Sendingkerk van Transvaal, and the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Sendingkerk in the Orange Free State. The church�s first work was started in the northeastern Cape in 1859 in the towns of Burgersdorp and Middleburg. The year 1864 was a landmark because Henri Gonin started mission work then at Saulspoort among the Kgatla tribe and McKidd in Zoutpansberg at Kranspoort in the Transvaal. Shortly after 1872 a new initiative was taken at Kimberley and in the Free State. Work in Natal started much later except for a few towns on the border to Transvaal. The first synod was constituted in the Orange Free State in 1910. Transvaal followed in 1932, the Cape in 1951, and Natal in 1952. The first General Synod was held on May 7, 1963. The church consists mainly of Sozho and Nguni groups, with small minorities from other northern tribes. It has four theological seminaries. b) Dutch Reformed Mission Church in South Africa (Nederduitse Gereformeerde Sendingkerk in Suid Afrika) This church was founded as a separate church alongside the Dutch Reformed Church because of various factors, e.g.,a growing racial prejudice among the whites, the establishment of mission congregations by foreign missionary societies in South Africa, and the strong influence of German missiological thinking. In 1880 the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church decided to establish a separate daughter church for colored people. The church was constituted in October 1881, in Wellington, and consisted then of four ministers and two elders. The church received a seminary for the training of its own ministers from the Dutch Reformed Church. Ministers have the same title and status as ministers in the Dutch Reformed Church, although they are not licensed to become ministers in the Dutch Reformed Church. At the synods of 1974 and 1978 unprecedented decisions were taken denouncing apartheid and separate development, as well as South African laws undergirding the system, such as the ban on mixed marriages, separate town-ships, and job reservations. The principle of free worship and free church membership regardless of race or color was also accepted. In 1982 a further step was taken. Following the decision of the WARC General Council in Ottawa, the status confessionis was declared regarding apartheid, and a new confession, the Belhar Confession, took a strong stand against all forms of apartheid in church and state. It was officially adopted by the synods in 1986 and 1990.