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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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Naudé, Christiaan Beyers

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Beyers Naudé was born in Roodepoort, Transvaal, in 1915. His family moved to Graaff-Reinet in the Cape in 1921 and he matriculated in 1931 from Afrikaans Hoer Volkskool. He then attended the University of Stellenbosch, receiving a Masters degree in languages and graduating from the Stellenbosch School of Theology in 1939. He was appointed Assistant Minister at the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) in Wellington in the Cape in 1940.

Until the Sharpville Massacre twenty years later, Naudé followed the political philosophy of the National Party (NP). The Sharpville Massacre forced him to re-evaluate his beliefs. He was appointed Moderator of the church at this time. He founded and helped to establish the Christian Institute, an ecumenical organisation to unite Christians of all ethnic groups, denominations and languages in South Africa. Naudé was the editor of the Christian Institute's publication Pro Veritate.

In 1963 Naudé resigned as Moderator of the church and left his congregation to take up the position of Director of the Christian Institute, losing his status as a minister of the DRC. He also resigned from the Afrikaaner Broederbond after 22 years of membership, causing much controversy. Both Naudé and the Christian Institute suffered persecution and harassment by the authorities. His passport was taken away and the Christian Institute was forbidden to receive international funding for its work. Naudé was banned for five years in 1977, which was later renewed, and finally lifted in 1984 after extensive protests.

Naudé's life during the seventies was all about restrictions, imprisonment and banning orders. During the eighties he joined the the black wing of the Dutch Reformed Church after he broke away from the main all white Dutch Reformed Church. He also served as General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) from February 1985 to June 1987. From 1988 he was co-pastor in the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa, previously the Black Dutch Reformed Church DRCA, with Dr Sam Buti in Alexandra Township until April 1995.

In the nineties he became part of the ANC's negotiating team for the 1992 constitutional talks with the government of F W de Klerk.  In 1995 he was elected Honorary Life President of the South African Council of Churches (SACC).

Ill-health dogged Beyers Naude from 2000.  He was confined to a wheelchair from 2003. In August 2004 he became seriously ill and died in September 2004.

Source: www.sahistory.org.za

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