Boesak was born to Christian parents who were classified as Coloured of mixed European and African ancestry by the South African government. From an early age he had been interested in preaching, and at age 17 he entered the University of the Western Cape to begin his theological studies. Boesak was ordained in the Dutch Reformed Church in From to he studied in the Netherlands and in the United States. After he returned to South Africa, he became politically active, teaching and preaching while organizing opposition to South African government policies.
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Boesak was born to Christian parents who were classified as Coloured of mixed European and African ancestry by the South African government. From an early age he had been interested in preaching, and at age 17 he entered the University of the Western Cape to begin his theological studies.
Boesak was ordained in the Dutch Reformed Church in From to he studied in the Netherlands and in the United States. After he returned to South Africa, he became politically active, teaching and preaching while organizing opposition to South African government policies. In Boesak persuaded members of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches to declare apartheid a heresy and to suspend membership of the white South African churches; he served as president of the alliance from to In he helped organize the United Democratic Front UDF , a multiracial association of all manner of groups opposed to apartheid, and in he and others organized a massive boycott of the national elections.
Boesak was arrested a number of times for his participation in demonstrations, and his movements and speech were restricted. After the fall of apartheid in the early s, Boesak remained active in the ANC, which came to dominate South African politics.
In , however, he was accused of misappropriating money donated to his charity, Foundation for Peace and Justice. The allegations forced him to withdraw his nomination as ambassador to the United Nations. In he was convicted of theft and fraud, and he served one year of a three-year sentence before being released in He was pardoned by President Thabo Mbeki in Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription.
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Allan A. Boesak
Share By Lynnette Johns The daughter of disgraced anti-apartheid hero Allan Boesak has had enough of her father "bad-mouthing" their mother, and now she is in the process of changing her surname. The last straw for Pulane Boesak, 25, was when her dad told thousands of television viewers on Sunday that his year marriage to Dorothy Kahane had been a mistake. He went on to say that they had not shared the same political views. The Boesaks were divorced in after his affair with television personality Elna Botha became public. He later married Botha.
Reflections on Boesak at 70
Many young people who missed the s and maybe even the s could be forgiven for asking: Allan who? After studying theology in the Netherlands from to , he returned to occupy several crucial positions in South Africa, among them in the theology department at the University of the Western Cape UWC. His doctoral thesis, Farewell to Innocence , is still considered a profound text on liberation theology. Boesak has written 17 books and edited a few more. In his role as president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches — a position he held from to — Boesak began to play an international role in moves to isolate the apartheid regime.
Allan Boesak Quotes
For the next decade or so, he continued to write well-received books and collections of essays, sermons, and so on. Boesak was elected as president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in , a position he held until Boesak resigned from the Dutch Reformed Church in after details of an extramarital affair with television presenter Elna Botha emerged;  they later married. He invoked the anti-apartheid Belhar Confession , which lambasts all forms of discrimination, to say that the church should welcome gays and lesbians, begin to perform gay marriage ceremonies, and appoint gay clergy. In the annual Ashley Kriel Memorial Youth Lecture, he suggested that the ANC was well down the slippery slope of ethnic preferences and "had brought back the hated system of racial categorization. In reaction, the ANC leaked a memorandum written by Boesak, detailing how he had discussed different roles he could play to help the organisation and stating that his preferred choice was the post of South African ambassador to the United Nations.