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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Boesak, Allan

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Boesak was born in 1945 in the Northern Cape in South Africa. He spent three years as a minister in Paarl after completing his studies in 1967 at the Bellville Theological Seminary of the NG Sendingkerk. In 1970 he went to study at the Kampen Theological Institute in the Netherlands, where he obtained his doctorate in theology.

In 1982 he put forward a motion that apartheid be declared a heresy by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. This subsequently led to the suspension of the NG Kerk (Church) and the NG Kerk's membership of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, of which Boesak was president until 1990.

In 1983 he was a founder member of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in South Africa and was appointed one of its patrons.

In 1990 he resigned from his ecumenical offices after allegations of an extra-marital relationship and became active in politics on a full-time basis. In 1992 Boesak was appointed to the New Independent Commission on International Co-operation, and in the 1994 election he led the ANC in the Western Cape, and was South Africa's Ambassador-designate to the United Nations in Geneva.

In late 1994 suspicion was raised over Boesak's use of foreign funds for the Foundation for Peace and Justice. In 1997 he faced trial in Cape Town, charged with misappropriating more than half a million dollars in donations from international church and aid groups. Boesak continued to get support from members of the government who believed the allegations to be false. In March 1999, Boesak was convicted on three counts of theft and one of fraud and was sentenced to six years in prison. He was released on 22 May 2001 after serving only a year in Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town.

Sources: Kotze, H. and Greyling, A. 1991. Political Organisations in South Africa A-Z. Tafelberg: Cape Town.


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