S. S. Tema was a Dutch Reformed minister who was a founder and later president of the quasipolitical Interdenominational African Ministers' Federation. On the periphery of organised politics over many years, Tema in 1937 served as chairman of a committee in the Transvaal charged with reviving the African National Congress (ANC) after it had become dormant under Pixley Seme's leadership. With the defeat of A. B Xuma and passage of the Programme of Action in 1949, he withdrew his support for what he regarded as the "extremist" new Congress leadership and subsequently joined the faction known as the National-minded Bloc, led by Selope Thema. As a delegate to a missionary conference in India in 1939, Tema had met Gandhi and discussed South African problems with him; he thereafter opposed joint African-Indian organisational efforts partly on the grounds that Gandhi had also opposed them. In 1956 he helped plan the IDAMF conference on the Tomlinson Commission Report. For many years the president of IDAMF in the Transvaal, in about 1961 he was elected its national president.

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