[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 September, 2004, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Afrikaner apartheid critic dies
Mr Naude with Nelson Mandela
Mr Naude was close to ANC leaders like Nelson Mandela
South Africans are reacting with sadness to the death of Beyers Naude, one of the leading Afrikaner critics of the old apartheid regime.

Mr Naude, 89, came from a powerful Afrikaner family, connected to the old regime, but spent most of his life fighting racial inequality.

A religious minister, he rejected the claim that the bible backed apartheid.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said he could have risen to any position of power, but instead chose to fight injustice.

For this, Mr Naude paid a price.


He was branded a traitor and ostracised by his own people, and stripped of his position in the Dutch Reformed Church - seen as the Afrikaner "nation at prayer" - which had said the bible justified white-minority rule.

His father was one of the founders of the Broederbond, or "Brotherhood," a secret society of Afrikaner leaders at the heart of the apartheid government.

At 25, he became the youngest member of the Broederbond but started to have doubts about apartheid after witnessing the 1960 Sharpeville massacre of 69 unarmed black demonstrators by the apartheid police.

"I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to retain my integrity as a human being and as a Christian, I had to stick clearly, unequivocally and fearlessly in whom I believed in, what I believed in and why I believed," he said in a 1987 television interview.

Lives on

In 1977, he was "banned" for five years - his movements and ability to meet with people were severely curtailed.

But Mr Naude lived to see the birth of a new democratic South Africa and remained close to ANC leaders like Nelson Mandela.

At one very practical level his name will live on - three years ago, the Johannesburg authorities named one of the city's most important streets after him.

It had previously been called D F Malan Drive in honour of the first apartheid leader of South Africa.


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific