In the long struggle for freedom in South Africa, parts of the church played a major role, even as other parts colluded with the apartheid regime. Few actions in that struggle were more important than the Belhar Confession.
Overcoming Apartheid: Can Truth Reconcile a Divided Nation?
Anyone engaged in conflict resolution, whether interpersonal or international, would agree that the process must begin with truth telling. But can truth telling be more than a beginning? Can it create a political environment hospitable to both perpetrator and victim?
Cuban film director Fernando Pérez was inspired to make Life Is to Whistle by the work of modernist painter René Magritte, in whose work "reality does not stop being reality, but is, at once, another reality." Magritte's paintings have been described as "elaborate fantasies constructed around commonplace situations." Life Is to Whistle is an energetic look at commonplace situa
Recently I met someone who had been to South Africa to witness the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He had all the usual admiring things to say about it, with one new piece of information. All of the members of that commission are ill in one way or another, he said. No one has survived the process with his or her health intact.
During the years of apartheid in South Africa, most of the Methodist Church’s involvement in education was halted by the government. Schools were closed, land was confiscated and obstacles to new efforts were set in place.
When Allan Boesak entered Pollsmoor prison last month, even some of the prison guards demonstrated on his behalf. Before entering the gates, the theologian, antiapartheid activist and onetime leader of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches again asserted he was innocent of theft and fraud involving donations to his Foundation for Peace and Justice (FPJ).
South Africa has the world’s second largest AIDS epidemic (in gross numbers). Its neighbor, Zimbabwe, ranks first. During the past ten years, while AIDS has come under control in central African countries with far fewer resources, the disease has gone out of control in South Africa, in the richest, most cosmopolitan nation in the whole sub-Saharan region.
A pastor from South Africa was finishing his first year as a full-time pastor in the U.S. He had served churches in the two countries, so I asked him to compare the role of the church in the U.S. with its role in South Africa.