(From my friend J. in Zimbabwe)
This week, a man called Beyers Naude died.
He was born into a far right Afrikaans white church group.
He became a Priest in that church, this church ruled South Africa during Apartheid.
During the Sharpeville riots, or even before, Beyers Naude started to talk the truth to the whole of South Africa.
To say that this was courageous of him is putting it very very mildly.
He did not minced no words.
He told his congregation that he could not go on being a Christian and condoning the terrible life that the anyone Black,Asian etc were forced to live here.
Jews, by the way, were also in the firing line of the Apartheid Government.
Anyway, in his last address to his community, he took of his clerics robe, laid it down, and said goodbye to his parishioners.
No option really, as he was virtually excommunicated.
He went to visit the Black Church (same denomination) in the Black Ghettos.
He was received with love and warmth.
Beyers Naude became a light for many in South Africa.
Yesterday, he was honored by the Government here as a visionary and friend.
His wife said of him that he was a wonderful friend, a loving family man.
In one of his powerful speeches, some years before he died, Beyers Naude said that the day he was thrown out of his community was the start of his real life.
No amount of gold, riches in the form of houses,cars, and such could ever have replaced the richness of his life. His friendships with the then banned ANC had created life-long bonds with friends
he would never have met.
He lived a Spartan life, yet he radiated warmth,love,generosity and was the personification of a wealthy man.
Where are the men like Beyers Naude on the World stage?
We need them now !
Washington Post Remembers Beyers Naude