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Gisela Albrecht: Beyers Naudé [1915-2004] by Ben Khumalo-Seegelken, 17 January 2015, South Africa

26 January 2015

In a contribution that Gisela Albrecht has published * 2004 on the person and work of the South African theologian Beyers Naudé, I am presenting here excerpts in revised form, it records the history of the respected admonisher and Signpost Beyers Naudé by former supporters and beneficiaries apartheid to a reputed and consistent opponent and freedom apostles after that set as a witness and co-designer accents even and especially in the "new" South Africa and created new perspectives, according to:

"We who are largely aware contemporaries were not more of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, had the good fortune to be of Beyers Naudé, who has fought a very similar struggle in apartheid South Africa as Bonhoeffer in Germany Nazi contemporaries." [Gisela Albrecht, 2004].

His story - the life story of South African theologians Christiaan Frederick Beyers Naudé [1915-2004] - is the story of a reversal, radical upsetting, but outwardly almost silently and without time-fixable break. Something like a "Damascus experience" did not exist in his life, no flash of realization that apartheid was wrong and the biblical basis for an after - as it was then - `Rassen' separate church heresy, heresy. For him, it was not like at Frikkie Conradie , a friend and young colleagues, Bure as he grew up in the ideology of apartheid as he was. Conradie enough for a single match, a single night long conversation with a theologian from the other side of the then so-called `Rassenschranke', with Alan Boesak , then its apartheid worldview broke down and he began his life anew.

Beyers Naudé lived almost until his 40th year [1955] relatively unchallenged by the legislated exclusion and exploitation of `non-weißen' population in his country - all integrated into the ideology of his Church, the Evangelical Reformed Church Dutch confessional family, the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK), and his `Volkes', the Boers; loved as a pastor in `weißen' Communities of NGK and soon became known as the charismatic preacher in wide circles. 1940 as the youngest member of inclusion in the Broederbond , the secret headquarters of white supremacy, and then break loose promotion to the highest offices in the DRC with a brilliant - and political career.

From apartheid the NGK Pastor Beyers Naudé not know virtually nothing of it survived as black among her even more; of resistance and liberation struggle of the majority population - from the African National Congress , ANC, about - he only vaguely heard atownship never entered, Beyers Naudé had lived only in white residences, served in white communities. But subliminally runs a counter flow of irritation of sporadic doubt that he pushes away, as much as possible. Unbeknownst to his colleagues, even from his family, he begins with a renewed study of the Bible and theological literature. For the first time he visited the townships of blacks, makes contact with non-white clergy."It was an intellectual process" - as he judged himself in retrospect its development, a judgment that is difficult to understand when you consider the existential radicalism of his later life.

When the doubt no longer be pushed aside and he with itself can hardly endure the agonizing inner struggle, he is already a prominent church leader at the center of power. He is still hesitating that to be true, which quite frankly is yet before his eyes.And he is afraid. Fear of being considered a traitor. Fear, perhaps, of losing his power.Militancy and rebellion are its essence really strange. He remains in what phase of his life he is, even decades later, in time, as he lives under spell [freedom of speech and assembly and publication ban] and at night the young underground fighters advice and help looking at him, the Boer pastor, the pastor who does not want to separate but connect.

But then Sharpeville, 1960, where 69-violent demonstrators blacks are killed by the police. That changed everything for him. Declared as the World Council of Churches in response to Sharpeville in the same year at a conference in Cottesloe in Johannesburg, the apartheid unbiblical, which is in a sense to cross Station: Beyers Naudé then refuses to him demanded of his church revocation of his consent to Cottesloe Declaration - an open confrontation with the NGK, which leads to their exclusion from all offices of his church. 1963 calls Beyers Naudé an ecumenical network, the Christian Institute, with in life.

Luther - Bonhoeffer - Naudé

Beyers Naudé has arrived at the attitude of Martin Luther - like Bonhoeffer, who at the trees of Wittenberg nailed by the decision to impose the "Aryan paragraph" in the Prussian State Church leaflets with the text: "The Aryan paragraph is a heresy of church and destroyed their substance. Therefore, there is a church opposite the ... performs the Aryan subsections, only a service of truth, the outlet ". If you replace the term "Aryan clause" against the "apartheid" of which is a text that the situation of Christians to Beyers Naudé in South Africa meets exactly 30 years later.

Start of a battle

Cottesloe - that was the Beyers Naudé for the start of combat , which in Germany is not only a theological conflict with the church leadership was like the struggle of the Confessing Church, but always clearly a political analysis of the state was. The Christian Institute took the central concepts of the Bible - Community, justice, reconciliation within the meaning of the prophetic tradition - literally and announced thus implicitly and automatically, because that was not the intention of the State of loyalty; the mere fact that it is the Bible "literally took" and this word was living against injustice by the ecumenical practice of siding with the oppressed and advocacy for the right to put the Christian Institute, the foundation of the apartheid state in question, denied him his authority, to reclaim these terms for themselves and to fill it with the apartheid ideology. What may have been converted into living word for a political power, the South African government confirmed itself: The Christian Institute was declared by the apartheid government to "danger to the state," Beyers Naudé made ​​even the process.

Let Beyers Naudé was then a 10-year later - 1973 - known in court inevitability of his opposition to the Apartheididelogie: "If a situation should arise in which a Christian word to the law of the land must refuse to obey because of his belief in God, then he has before God the right to disregard the law; he must [it] be understood, however, that he take the consequences of this disobedience and she has to endure. "

Condemned to silence - become a sought-after interlocutor

It has often been said that the ban burying alive a man. It is certain that the apartheid state that is with Beyers Naudé never succeeded. She had occupied him in October 1977 with the spell available, she picked up only seven years later. The publicly silent Beyers was more eloquent than before, and in the political, social, and personal communication almost entirely restricted to individual conversations in the private room of his house may Beyers. Of greater political impact than the publicly and internationally active director of the Christian Institute And without the spell made him a martyr - he does not allow it. They met him in his garden under the apricot tree - his house and his phone was constantly monitored - he behaved so calm and relaxed, as if he had not noticed that a car with intelligence officers stood outside the door demonstratively his house.

Perhaps his charisma grew because his extraordinary talent for presence, to focus on the man who was in front of him, now was unopposed, free of the overwhelming, chaotic partly obligations of the office everyday Diakonia house. And of course the spell in the eyes of the rebel was township -Youth also a kind of accolade of credibility, tangible evidence of its solidarity: "Until I was banned, they did not really familiar to me," Beyer said, "but from the moment as though I had received the spell available, they said among themselves differently: Now the guy is beyond doubt, he is willing to pay the price. The fact that the apartheid government to take action against him, proves that he in truth is on our side in the struggle for liberation. "

It was a time of almost total reduction to his house in the outer so tranquil white district Greenside, in the Beyers Naudé to the limits of his Whiteness marked by the birth of existence more than exceeded the time of his freedom of movement; People from all over the world came to him from all walks of life, with all kinds of concerns;and he took it all seriously, even if it were personal worries and no issues.

What has changed most him and his life, as he once said: As the spell forbade him leaving his white residential area, black South Africans came to him one by one, by day and by night. They took him into their community as hardly a white man before him, let him share their lives with what they thought and felt. And he listened to them and came closer to understanding the realities of black life than ever before. He has kept this close - even after his spell expired and he had become a church leadership personality as General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches again.

Part of the human community are!

Even in the "new" South Africa Beyers has not ceased to be part of this community: He was a guest of the ANC delegation was in the initial negotiations with the apartheid government, so as Desmond Tutu said, midwife, midwife at the birth of the new South Africa , Until his death - and perhaps even in death - Beyers Naudé was a symbol that you remain completely faithful to his origins - he is a Bure remained with every fiber of his heart - but beyond that may be part of the human community. At his request, his ashes scattered was both in Alexandra Township, as well as in the cemetery of his former workplace, the white community of Aasvoêlkop.

As Beyers Naudé was born on 18 September 2004 in South Africa to the grave, it was perhaps a set of Mandela, who met exactly what all of us - has so much attracted to Beyers - even if we had no words for it. Beyers remember him, Mandela said in his own way, he had to return to be a member of the human family, rather than just being part of a limited community.

Before 10 May 2014 Beyers Naudé would be 100.

* Gisela Albrecht has studied literature and philosophy and theology specializing as a journalist in South Africa. She was premiered at the 2004 "Berlinale" together with Angela May turned documentary "Memories of Rain" by two South African resistance fighters and has since been seen at festivals around the world.