I thought I would share this, as another of the heroes of the anti-apartheid movement and its more broader contribution to the struggle for freedom for so many around the world has passed on. For a man of the cloth to make such a sacrifice, I feel a powerful lesson can be learned in what he did. http://www.economist.com/people/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3195773 Christiaan Frederick Beyers Naudé, an Afrikaner cleric who turned on apartheid, died on September 7th, aged 89 FOR Beyers Naudé, it was the day my conscience came out of hiding. South African police had shot dead 69 blacks in a township called Sharpeville. They had dared oppose a law that stopped blacks going into whites-only areas. Until that day in 1960 Mr Naudé, like most whites, believed apartheid was a good way to run things. He quelled doubts from his student days. Sharpeville's murders changed that. They showed anew the wretched conditions of blacks and the violence meted out by whites. Like other pious Afrikaners, Mr Naudé looked for justification in the Bible; unlike them, he found none. Other men of the cloth spoke out earlier or more noisily than Mr Naudé. By the time he turned against apartheid, he had the example of Trevor Huddlestone to follow. The British missionary spent years before Sharpeville working and living in Sophiatown, a mixed-race slum in Johannesburg, and led protests when the authorities razed it. Later, in the final decade of apartheid, Desmond Tutu won far more acclaim (and a Nobel peace prize) campaigning for non-racial rule. Mr Naudé was quieter, more bank-manager than revolutionary. And those troublesome priests had a big advantage. They, and others who protested, were Anglicans and Anglophone. They got support from outside the country. More important, they had backing inside it, from black South Africans and a few English-speaking whites. Oom BeyUncle Bey, as Mr Naudé became knownwas alone, a doubting leader of the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk, the Dutch Reformed Church. It took courage to turn on apartheid from deep within Afrikanerdom. It meant turning on his family, his community and his past. It felt like a pincer-movement closing in on the foundations of your life, he said. Those foundations were rock-solid Afrikaner nationalist. His father was a bitter-ender in the Boer war who refused to give up his guns in defeat and named his son after a dead Boer general. He went on to study at the great Afrikaner university of Stellenbosch, under Hendrik Verwoerd. An attractive and popular preacher, he soon became a moderator in the church and, at 25, the youngest-ever member of the Broederbond, the secret Afrikaner society his father had helped form. Turning his back on that was not only painful for him, but for apartheid's leaders too. A Brit or a black might protest, muttered Afrikaners, but this man could have led the church or even the country. Mr Naudé knew he annoyed them: I was every bit as much of a white Afrikaner as they were. But where they ordered repression, he spoke of the Afrikaner tradition of fighting it. When they ordered ethnic groups to live apart, he spoke persuasively about getting along. He helped draft a statement by churchmen that condemned the Sharpeville killings. Verwoerd, by now prime minister, denounced it and forced the Dutch Reformed Church to withdraw. Mr Naudé persisted. No authority was higher than God, he argued. The moral basis of apartheid was a sham. Inevitably, he was called a traitor. Within three years of Sharpeville he was pushed out of the church (though welcomed into the black arm of it). He told his wife Ilse to expect to spend a decade as outcasts, but they spent three. He formed the Christian Institute, which strove to improve race relations. Police forced it shut in 1977. He was called an enemy of the state. Bullets, if necessary Instead he worked with another broad church of sorts, the multiracial African National Congress, which welcomed all-comers in the fight against apartheid. He eventually led the South African Council of Churches, a body that dared to criticise white rule, taking over from Archbishop Tutu. Though he never fired a bullet, he thought it would be right to do so, just as German theologians had backed plots to kill Hitler. He helped smuggle ANC activists from place to place, using battered old Peugeot 404s he repaired himself. He handed out illegal pamphlets, met journalists and leaked details of the Broederbond's activities. His reward was house arrest, petrol bombs and official harassment. Yet the charge of betraying his tribe did not stick. Mr Naudé successfully sued another cleric who called him a communist. Younger Afrikaners who were ashamed of apartheid learned from him that they could be proud of their background and their language. Many black Africans such as Mosiuoa Lekota, now minister of defence, saw him as a reminder that the anti-apartheid struggle was one for democracy, not an assault on Afrikaners in particular or on whites in general. He liked what he saw of the new South Africa, but thought a couple of decades, at least, were needed to get over problems. Reconciliation would take time. President Thabo Mbeki ordered a special funeral for him. Another memorial is already in place. A few years ago a main road near his home in Johannesburg was named after him, replacing signs for D. F. Malan, the first apartheid prime minister. Vandals, presumably still-bitter-ender Afrikaners full of Dutch courage, spent many weekends smashing down the new signs that bore his name. They were put back again until the vandals gave up: just the sort of quiet persistence Mr Naudé would have appreciated.