The Passing of a Giant

Beyers Naude died and was buried last month. At his funeral , Desmond Tutu called him "the midwife in the birth of South Africa's democracy."

Once a leading clergyman in the Dutch Reformed Church, Naude experienced what he called "his second conversion"
a conversion to justice, after the Sharpeville Massacre where 69 black protesters were gunned down by the Afrikner government.

His funeral was held at the Aasvoelkop Dutch Reformed Church in Johannesburg--the church he pastored before being tossed out and having his ordination stripped for preaching against apartheid. He was banned by the government as well.

More than 1,000 people attended his funeral at the church. Afterwards, his ashes were spread in a black township, so he could remain among the people he loved.

Know as Oom Bey (or uncle Bey), he was a beloved figure in South Africa. Here's what Nelson Mandela said at Naude's 80th birthday.

"Beyers Naude became an outcast amongst the Afrikaners, amongst many whites and amongst the church that he loved.

"Such is the price that prophets are required to pay.

"Standing in the tradition of great Afrikaners and patriots like Bram Fischer, Betty du Toit, and others, his life is a shining beacon to all South Africans -- both black and white.

"It demonstrates what it means to rise above race, to be a true South African."

We are running a small obit in our magazine, with a story from a professor at North Park University who became friend with Naude during a number of visits to South Africa with college students.

Here's a bit of it"

Naude would later say that he truly became a Christian only after a “second conversion,” when he became “aware of what was really happening to black people,” says Don Klingberg, professor of psychology at North Park University. “Most whites had no idea what had gone on.”
“His second conversion was to justice,” adds Klingberg, who met Naude on several trips to South Africa with North Park students. During a 1999 trip, Klingberg presented Naude and his wife, Ilse, with honorary degrees on behalf of North Park.
On his way to Johannesburg to meet Naude, Klingberg stayed at the home of a black South African. When his host learned that Klinberg was going to see Naude, he replied, “That Beyers Naude—he is one of us.”
When Klingberg relayed the story to Naude, his eyes welled up with tears. “That is the greatest compliment that I have ever received,” Naude said.

Peace to his memory


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