Today a hero died and went home to the King. His name is Beyers Naude. He was a pastor in South Africa and was exiled for his stance against Apartheid in 1960. Through it he showed immense courage and integrity. His decision costed him everything. He played a huge part in the reconciliation story of South Africa. Imagine the guts it took to stand up under the rationalization of the church’s apartheid.
Tonight’s news (audio link) was dominated by tributes from different people and movements. The most touching coming from his wife. She said, “Beyers was a wonderful husband; and helped me to grow towards God. Just to be with him was a big comfort for me he was such a generous person so loving, so concerned a real gift from God.” His son commented that “My father was the richest man I’ve ever known. Not in cars or houses but in conviction and relationships.”
Beyers Naude was influenced by Jesus and Dieterich Bonhoeffer.
He felt the isolation from his church and community deeply, but he begged his wife Ilse not to allow him to become bitter.
“And I asked her and I said to her at times: Ilse you must please watch me,” said Rev. Naudé. “Because if you notice in my attitude, in my voice, in my reactions, any sign or root of bitterness or hatred or revenge, please tell me. Because if I allow that to grow, it would erode whatever is meaningful or deep in [my] life. It will not liberate me to be able to understand and to forgive.“
This Nelson Mandela quote from News24,
“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 Braam 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. If someone asks me what kind of a person a New South African should be, I will say: Take a look at Beyers and his wife Ilse,” said Mandela.