Anti Aparthied Pastor Explains True Reconciliation

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Anti-apartheid activist and pastor, Allan Boesak, on Tuesday evening criticised South African churches for forgetting their role in the new South Africa.

“As a church, we no longer stood where Christ stands and is always to be found – namely with the poor, the oppressed and the wounded,” Boesak said.

“We have identified with [Moses’] Pharaoh, not because Pharaoh has let God’s people go, but because Pharaoh now looked like us.

“We confuse Nelson Mandela’s South Africa, a nation at peace with itself and with the world, with the kingdom of God.”

Boesak, a former Dutch Reformed Church clergyman, was delivering a public lecture under the theme of reconciliation at the Cornerstone Institute Cape Town campus in Woodstock.

He said the church should’ve done more to ensure that the true, “radical” meaning of reconciliation is preserved.

Reconciliation has been watered down from its Biblical meaning for political gain, Boesak said.

“[Reconciliation] is about the restoration of rights and human dignity and not about the protection and preservation of wealth and power of the already privileged.”

He said South Africa made a mistake in 1994 thinking that reconciliation can take place without acknowledging past injustices.

“It is not possible without confronting the evil of the past and the evil of the present, including the evil with ourselves that refuses to acknowledge the evil of the past and the evil of the present, because that evil and its denial are to our benefit.”

Boesak said for the country to move forward, frank conversations are needed.

“In the Bible, the rainbow appears as a promise of new life only after the flood that came.”