File #3482: "ms113.0036_0037_transcript.pdf"


Ford Hall Forum: Transcript of Beyers Naudé Forum
Moakley Archive and Institute

Title: Reverend Beyers Naudé “South Africa,” at Ford Hall Forum.
Recording Date: 27 October 1985
Speakers: Reverend Beyers Naudé, Paula Gold, Donald Tye
Item Information: Ford Hall Forum: featuring Reverend Beyers Naudé on, “South
Africa.” Ford Hall Forum Collection, 1908-2013 (MS113.3.1, items 0036 and 0037)
Moakley Archive, Suffolk University, Boston, MA.
Digital Versions: audio recording and transcript available at:
Copyright Information: Copyright © 1985 Ford Hall Forum.
Recording Summary: Reverend Beyers Naudé, an Afrikaner and General Secretary of
the South African Council of Churches, discusses the future of apartheid in South Africa.

MS113.0036-0037 Transcript

Transcript Begins

PAULA GOLD: Good evening, and welcome to the Ford Hall Forum. I'm Paula Gold,
and I'm president of the Forum. Tonight, we are very fortunate to have a distinguished
visitor from South Africa to discuss the situation in that country with us.

This program has been made possible through the cooperation of a great many
organizations, including the New England Circle.

Before we begin, since I know that many of you are new to the Forum, I would like to
briefly mention our upcoming programs. We have two programs remaining on our fall
schedule. Both of them are part of our series on health and politics. Eleanor Holmes
Norton, who served in the Carter administration, the first black woman to serve as a
cabinet officer, will speak on the nationwide crisis of teenage pregnancy. That's next
Sunday night, November 3rd, at Faneuil Hall. The following Thursday, Dr. Paul Starr will
be speaking on the dilemma of healthcare costs and availability.

One final thing I'd like to mention before we begin is that these free lectures are
supported by people like you who become members of the Forum. Without the help of
our members, programs like tonight's would not be possible. So if you can, please join
the Forum using the form in the green brochure or by signing up at the desk as you leave.
By becoming a member, you will help ensure that programs like this continue.

It's now time to begin our program. Our interpreter for this program is Michella Slaytek
[?], and our moderator this evening is Donald Tye. Don is in general trial practice in
Boston, specializing in family and mental health law, and is a member of the Forum's
board of directors.

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight's moderator, Don Tye. [applause]

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DONALD TYE: "I think for the first time, the average young Afrikaner is confused and
uncertain about the future, especially since the government announced the state of
emergency on July 20, 1985. A lot of Afrikaners simply don't understand why there is
rioting. The press is one-sided. Television is tightly controlled. People aren't exposed to
reality so they have misconceptions of color."

These are the words of Anami Oosthuizen, a 23-year-old law student and the only woman
among the Stellenbosch Eight, a group of eight Afrikaner students from the leading
Afrikaans university in South Africa, who this week shocked South Africa's ruling white
minority and the world by accepting the invitation of the outlawed African National
Congress to go to the group's headquarters in exile in Lusaka, Zambia, for informal talks.

Our speaker today, Reverend Beyers Naudé, a white Afrikaner, 49 years ago also
graduated from the University of Stellenbosch and has spent much of his adult life
accepting a similar challenge. Joseph Lellyveld, in his 1985 book, Move Your Shadow,
published by Time Books, compares Reverend Naudé to the dissident Soviet physicist,
Andrei Sakharov. Naudé's apostasy, like Sakharov's, he says, was especially galling and
unforgivable because it occurred at the very heart of a power elite. Once he had been the
most highly Afrikaner clergyman of his generation. Any position his church or people
had to offer could have been within his reach. Now, or so the top security officials
contend, he is an agent of the underground, as Sakharov had illicit ties with the
Americans. Where Reverend Naudé came from, a white who believed in black power,
had to be at least a communist if he wasn't even more depraved.

At the age of 48, for the first time, Reverend Naudé actively engaged in viewing firsthand
life in black townships, speaking to blacks about being black in white South Africa. In
1963, as senior minister of the most prestigious Dutch Reformed Church congregation in
Johannesburg, he was chosen as a representative to an ecumenical conference on
apartheid, sponsored by the World Council of Churches.
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Refusing to recant, as all others did, from the group's position of conscience, that all
racial groups have an equal right to share the "responsibilities, rewards and privileges" of
citizenship, he was becoming undependable by the church leadership, a political
dissident. At this time, he began publishing an ecumenical journal called Pro Veritate,
addressing itself to the church's role in society and the questions the church was evading.

In the late 1960s, Reverend Naudé gave up his pulpit to found the Christian Institute as
an ecumenical movement aimed primarily at influencing the white churches. His own
church, as others, soon formally proscribed his institute as a heretical organization.
Although never having talked politics with a black nationalist, nor having dined in black
homes, by the age of 50, Reverend Naudé was condemned as a traitor, isolated wholly
within Afrikandom, isolated by his community and by even members of his immediate
family, including his two sisters who have become permanently alienated.

After offering organizational support to Stephen Biko and other blacks flaunting black
consciousness, political authorities stepped up pressure. By 1968, his passport was seized
and the Christian Institute was declared affected or subversive, curtailing its ability to
raise funds from overseas. After Stephen Biko's death in 1977, the Christian Institute was
banned as an organization. Until September 26, 1984, Reverend Naudé was banned as an
individual. It was illegal for him to travel within South Africa, enter black areas, attend
any public meetings or be quoted in any publication, even if he were to die.

Despite restrictions, Reverend Naudé's circle of contacts among black churchmen and
activists was expanding wider than any white in South Africa. His example demonstrated
that it could be done.


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At the age of 68, Reverend Naudé is still regarded as dangerous. In 1984, along with
imprisoned Nelson Mandela, he was named a patron of the United Democratic Front led
by Reverend Allan Boesak, and composed of 600 affiliated organizations, as an alliance
against apartheid. In November 1984, Reverend Naudé was invited to become successor
of Reverend Desmond Tutu as General Secretary of the South African Council of
Churches and assumed that position on February 1, 1985.

I am pleased to introduce the recipient of four honorary degrees, including one from our
own Notre Dame University; University of Chicago's Reverend Niebuhr's Prize for
Human Rights, together with Dr. Sakharov; the Bruno Kreisky Award for the Defense of
Human Rights granted by the president of Austria; and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Four Freedoms Award for freedom of worship, which he was not allowed even to accept;
and the person who Reverend Desmond Tutu has described as the most resplendent
sound of hope in South Africa today, Reverend Naudé. [applause]

BEYERS NAUDÉ: Mr. Moderator, ladies and gentlemen, may I be allowed to make
two introductory remarks before I share with you something about the situation in our
country, the crisis and the prospects of hope; first of all, to say that I understand that this
building was the building where the Revolution started, leading to the Boston Tea Party
and the overthrow of an unjust rule of the people of America. When I heard that, I
immediately said, Well, then, this is a dangerous place to bring a guy like Beyers Naudé
because I may start another revolution in what I may be saying to you or to others

The second remark would be to say that this reminds me very much of one of our oldest
congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, where I had to preach, and
where the minister told me and said, "Look, Beyers, we want you to know the benches

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are upright, the seats are hard. If you don't say anything which is worthwhile, shut up."
And I'm aware of that in what I am eager to share with you tonight.

I assume that most of you are here tonight would be reasonably well informed about what
is happening in South Africa. In more than one respect, I find it incredible, although
deeply gratifying, that there is so much interest in our country because there are so many
other concerns and problems that America faces from day to day. I think that you, during
the last six months, through your media – screen, radio, publications – have certainly
been able to gain much more information and insight and a visual conception of what has
happened in South Africa than the vast majority of the inhabitants of the country. I have
seen footage of what you have been able to view on your screens and in comparison with
what has been shown, or not been shown, in our country.

I had some time ago when somebody asked me where it would be possible to get a wide
and a varied and an objective picture of what is happening, I had to say to that person, "If
you wish really to know what is going on inside South Africa, you've got to go outside."
That is partly true because of the fact that our television is state-controlled. Our radio is
state-controlled. Our press is mostly government-owned, or also strongly controlled by a
number of very serious restrictions with regard to publication. Especially as far as the 36
magisterial districts which have recently been declared as emergency districts in South
Africa, where nothing can be published without having been put first of all to the police
for their reaction or that respective department.

So I'm not going to deal in detail with specific incidents and happenings and events in the
country. I think it would be more worthwhile for me, in the half an hour or little more
than half an hour at my disposal before you have the ample time for asking questions, I
think it would be more helpful if I could try to summarize and pinpoint the essential
nature of the crisis in which we find ourselves.
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I believe that there is none of us who would gainsay or would dispute the fact that we are
a country in crisis. I would go further and say that we are definitely a country which finds
itself in a state of civil war. And I would be prepared to go even further by saying, if the
situation continues to be handled the way it is being handled by the authorities up till
now, we certainly are on our way to a revolution.

Having said that, I think I should explain why I'm saying this. First of all, because if I
were to reply to the question – what is the nature of the crisis? – I would immediately
point to the educational situation in our country and say that black education in the
country, for all purposes, is lying in shambles. Thousands and thousands of black
schoolkids are in and out of school, are for a specific period in the classrooms busy with
some form of education. The school is closed. The children have got to go home. And
shortly afterwards it's tried again. The same applies to the majority of your black state

And we've created a situation, or a situation has developed where, for all practical
purposes, regular school and university education amongst the blacks, and now
increasingly also amongst the colored– and forgive me for using these racial terms, but
that's the only way in which I can describe a deeply divided society as such is South
Africa – blacks being those of African ethnic origin; coloreds being those of so-called
mixed blood; and the Indians or Asians, those who have come from India. And where for
all practical purposes, any form of regular education amongst the African and the colored
sectors of our community is simply not taking place.

And I'm convinced, if my reading and if my analysis of the situation is correct, that
except if drastic measures are taken by the government to meet the legitimate demands on
the part of the people, there will be no meaningful, relevant, regular black or colored
education in South Africa until a total fundamental political change takes place.
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Now, how is it possible that a country could allow this to happen? If this were to have
happened to white schoolchildren and to white students, the whole country would have
been up in arms and immediate changes would have been made. The fact that it hasn't
happened is an indication of the nature and the seriousness of the problem.

But our crisis is also a political one. In that respect – and I want to pinpoint the essential
nature of that because of the lack of time – we are dealing with a situation where in
November 1983, the white community of South Africa had the opportunity in a
referendum to accept a newly proposed constitution which would make provision for a
three-cameral parliament – one for whites, one for coloreds, one for Indians – but in such
proportions that the whites would always be the dominant voting factor, but with the total
exclusion of any blacks in the political decision-making process of the country. 4.7
million whites; 2.7 million coloreds; .75 million Indians, and 22 million blacks, and the
22 totally excluded from the right to determine their own political future.

Sixty-six percent of all the white voters of South Africa approved that constitution. It was
from that moment, a moment of historic watershed in the history of South Africa, where
the whole black community, with the support of the major sector of the colored and the
Indian communities, said, "Enough is enough. We're not going to take it. We're never
going to subject ourselves to this." Because what the whites essentially were saying to the
black community was, through that action, "You've never been part of South Africa. We
don't see you to be part of South Africa. You will never be part of South Africa in

That was the reason for the birth of the tremendous growth in popularity of an
organization like the United Democratic Front. That was the reason why 450
organizations affiliated to this body, this umbrella – political movement for change in

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South Africa. And that crisis will never, to my mind, be resolved as long as the present
constitution remains in operation.

That's the second serious crisis. The third one is the economic one. And I don't want to
burden you with so many facts and figures because I do not believe that I need to
convince you in this regard. I would just wish to summarize by saying that economically
the situation in South Africa has taken a turn, very serious turn for the worse. For many
years, South Africa prided itself on its wealth, its growth, its gold production, diamonds,
minerals, raw materials sold to the outside world, in every respect. South Africa was
proud to pay its debts because it had money enough. In fact, South Africa was so rich that
it could afford a system of apartheid, run so many institutions parallel, highly privileged
on the part of the whites, and where blacks, to a large degree, paid the price for the
comfort and the luxury of the white minority.

A number of events in the last two or three years brought us into a crisis situation with
regard to the economic position of South Africa – the high defense budget, a long
drought, the drop in the price of gold, the weak exchange value of the rand, rising
inflation, growing black unemployment, not only the rural, but also in the urban areas.
All these brought South Africa to the point where for the first time the white community
in South Africa began to discover the high cost of apartheid. And still they don't fully
understand. But it's enough to let you realize how serious the situation has become.

South Africa's external debt has been stated by the government to be 40 billion rand. In
fact, it is not 40 billion; it is 55 billion rand. Now, I know that for Americans dealing with
much larger figures, this may not sound to be so impressive or so difficult. But in the
context of South Africa's economy, that is a tremendous amount of money. Of that 55
billion rand, 35 billion has got to be repaid within the next 12 months. And according to
all the information at my disposal, and I believe this is very reliable information, South
Africa is not able to repay that debt.
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And that is why, when Chase Manhattan Bank told Gerhard de Kock, the governor of the
Reserve Bank, the ex-governor now, that Chase Manhattan was not willing to supply the
bridging funds for the repayment of the short-term loans, it created a major crisis in South
Africa and our stock exchange closed for five days in order to help the whites in the
country in general to adapt itself to that tremendous emotional shock. And now South
Africa is desperately trying to find the bridging funds, either from Swiss or German or
other banks. And it'll be very interesting to note what those banking institutions are going
to do.

So for all practical purposes, South Africa can be termed to be bankrupt. Because those
short-term loans cannot be repaid. Not with the form of production of South Africa at the
present moment. And with the increasing number of short- and long-term strikes, because
the workers are demanding their rights and higher wages, which they deserve, and with
the ongoing crisis and unrest in the country, and with the growing instability which this
has created, we at least have come to a point where to a certain degree the whole
discussion about divestment – to which I would like to return in a moment – or sanctions
is in a certain sense being overtaken by the decisions of many overseas companies and
businessmen looking at South Africa, looking at its growing instability, deciding for
themselves: "It may possibly be better for us to get out while the going is good. Not
because the churches in America or the universities or the institutions are pressuring us to
do so, but because we ourselves have discovered that it may not be helpful any longer to
let our capital remain in the country."

Therefore, I cannot see that crisis can be resolved. Certainly not in the foreseeable future.
And especially if you have thousands and thousands of young blacks in the urban areas of
South Africa, unemployed, those completing their schooling, even half-completing their
schooling, finding themselves without any form of income or of employment, or the

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possibility of meaningful employment, then certainly that is a recipe for resistance and
for revolution.

But could I just for a moment point out that the crisis, I think, runs even deeper. All
countries experience such forms of crises in the course of its development. But when that
crisis itself goes to the very root of society – namely, the moral and the ethical concepts
of justice, of human rights, of human dignity, denied to the majority of the people of the
land – then we have reached a point where no other solution is possible than to attack that
malady, that illness at the grass roots.

That is where the problem lies that the majority of your white community still wishes to
support the system of apartheid. Yes, they would like to have it changed, they would like
to have it amended, they would like to have certain reforms being presented, but the
majority of them, of the white community in South Africa is not prepared to face, to meet
the legitimate challenge and the legitimate demands of the majority of the people of the
land by saying, "Basically, we want to share the same rights and the same responsibilities
as you have. You have the vote? We also want it. You have certain economic rights and
privileges? We also want it. You have a fairly good system of education? We also want

What is revolutionary in that? What is undemocratic in that? Think of your own history.
Think of the heritage of American pride in the institutions of your democracy, of your
Bill of Rights, of the civil rights movement, which brought the message to the people of
the United States, that basically every person is equal before the sight of God. That is
what it is all about in its deepest essence. And as long as that is denied, the crisis will
continue and will increase.


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Where has this brought us, friends? I think I would wish to summarize it by saying that it
has brought us to the point of an increasing rebellion against the present political system,
where the majority of the people are up in arms. Not arms in that physical sense of the
word, but they are resisting with all the possible means at their disposal the present
system and saying, "We will not rest and we will not be satisfied until we are having a
meaningful share in the whole process of political decision-making in our country."
Twenty-two million people excluded from any possibility of expressing their political
views and making them felt, making them effective where they should be effective;
namely, where the laws are made.

The rebellion against that system is also a rebellion against the whole educational system.
And I would like to repeat by saying that I see no possibility of any return to normal
education in the black and the colored and increasingly also in the Indian communities
until the basic grievance of an inferior, discriminatory, unjust educational system is
addressed with all your blacks in separate schools, coloreds in their own schools, Indians
in their schools, whites in their separate schools, and even the whites divided between
your Afrikan-speaking children and the English-speaking children. And therefore, I see
no possibility, except an ongoing resistance and rebellion on the parts of millions of
young blacks who have come to that point where they've said, "Enough is enough. Even
if we have to stand up, to be shot, to be killed, to die, it is better to die for a good cause
than to live with such a bad system."

It is also a rebellion against the whole concept of a false authority. And here, I'm
referring especially to the whole legal system, the myriads of racial laws, the security
legislation in our country where increasingly the black and the colored and the Indian
and, thank God, also, a small percentage of the white community is saying that a legal
machinery, the legal machinery of a facade of justice has been built up to uphold a legal
system which is basically unjust, discriminatory and totally unacceptable from the
concept of the rule of law.
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And that is why, friends, increasingly every form of respect also for the visible authority
of the law has not only been so eroded and undermined, but has reached such a low point.
The outlook of many of the young blacks that there is a growing total rejection of that
system of upholding the legal position of the police trying to implement laws which the
majority of your black and your colored and your Indian community regard – and
justifiably regard – as unjust, as inhuman, and as oppressive. And when a country reaches
that stage where the respect for law and for the offices of law reach such a position, it is
the beginning of revolution.

It is more than that. It is in fact the beginning of a situation where, as it gains momentum
more and more, can only call forth the resistance on the part of an oppressive and an
unjust rule. Therefore, if you wish to ask me what has been the response of the
government to what has been happening in South Africa in the last year, especially in the
last number of months – you've seen this on your news and I don't want to point out any
specific particulars – I could share with you tonight many personal incidents which will
not only shock you, but it will certainly bring home to you the anguish, the suffering and
the pain of thousands of people.

The government has responded, on the one hand, with a very hesitant and inadequate
form of reform. The government has announced that it agrees to common citizenship for
the future. It agrees to general franchise. It agrees to the withdrawal of the hated pass
laws. On the other hand, the state president has, in practically the same breath, announced
and said, "Yes, but this does not imply a unitary state with one-man-one-vote." And we
don't have any indication of how long it will take before the pass laws will be withdrawn.
We don't have any indication of what measures will be taken in order to implement these
forms of reform.

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But even if they are implemented, the basic point which you have to understand is this:
that PW Botha, can only go as far in these reforms as the white electorate who put him in
power, will allow him to go. And the white electorate, with their self-interests, with the
fear, with the tremendous privilege and power that they've enjoyed in being able to
maintain this system for so many years, do you really believe that the majority of them
would voluntarily relinquish their position of privilege and power?

In fact, this is one of the major problems, that the separation which has been created over
so many decades between white and black in the country, not only geographically and
physically, but also mentally and emotionally and psychologically, this separation has
been so successful and so almost complete that in the hearts and minds of the majority of
the white community of South Africa, there has grown this schizophrenic fear of what
may happen when blacks may receive the same rights and privileges as the whites. That's
the major concern of many of the whites. And that is why in a survey which was
undertaken amongst 1000 whites two weeks ago, in which this one question was asked,
"Do you believe that there will be majority rule in South Africa," 66% of those who
replied to that questionnaire said, "Definitely no."

How is it then possible, even if PW Botha wants to bring about fundamental reform, how
is it possible that he will be able to do that if he doesn't have the backing of his own
electorate? It simply cannot happen.

At the same time, parallel to these reforms which have been announced, you have had the
implementation of the security laws in those areas which have been declared as
emergency areas to such a degree that police actions of brutality of the police and the
army have reached frightening proportions. You've seen something of this on your
screens; much more than that has taken place and is taking place. And the outcome of
that has been that never in the history of our country have the feelings of the black
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community of anger and bitterness against the state authority as reflected and symbolized
by the presence of police and of the army in the black townships, never has it been so
deep and so strong and so bitter as today.

That is why you have the increasing attacks of young blacks on police, security police.
That is why the homes of black councilors who support the government's system have
been set alight and burned. That is why at funerals, when it is discovered that there is a
black informer taking part in the funeral, young blacks get so angry that they throw petrol
over such a person, grab him or her, and set such a person alight. I know, this is terrible! I
know how you and I must feel about that. And that is being used and exploited by the
government and by many others to say, "Do you see that? Do you realize that? That
shows that the blacks are totally incompetent, even to be in freedom and in responsibility
amongst themselves. How then is it possible to entrust the future government of the
country to them?"

People who say that, friends, have no understanding of the long, pent–up anger and
bitterness over years in the hearts and minds of the millions of the blacks of the way in
which they've been treated and the hundreds and more who have been in prisons, and the
way they've been treated. And therefore, although I deeply regret it, I can only say that
one has to understand, and one has to say, not first of all to those young people "don't do
it," but you first have to address yourself to the system with its oppression, with its
injustice and say, "Remove this injustice. Remove this oppression. Make the people free
and you won't have this kind of retaliatory action which is taking place."

But it's more than that. In addition to that, there has been the total refusal of some of the
basic demands which have been made. Four such demands have been made. First of all,
many of the black leaders have said, "End the state of emergency. Remove the security
forces from the townships. Release all political prisoners. And allow exiles to return.
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Allow a free plebiscite of the people to appoint and to elect their own authentic leaders in
order to sit down and to plan the future of the country." The response on the part of the
government has been a decided, definite, clear "no."

What hope is there, then, of any peaceful solution?

In addition to this, the government has, over the past two, three years, especially, engaged
in a deliberate process of destabilizing the surrounding countries. The incursions of the
army into Lesotho, into Botswana, into Mozambique, into Angola, these are known
historical facts that are reported in your press. And this goes on all the time. The
government defends itself by saying, "If we regard any of these surrounding countries or
the incursion of the African National Congress to be a threat to our security and to our
dominant position, we will not hesitate to take action and, if necessary, to retaliate." This
may be, from the political viewpoint of the government, understandable. But it certainly
is not going to help us to a position of reconciliation and solution of our problems. In the
meantime, the militarization of our country goes on without any interruption.

And I would not be surprised if the state of emergency does not end, or if eventually, if
the situation becomes to such a point of crisis that the whole country will have to be
declared in a state of emergency, that then inevitably our country will move into some
form of military rule. And if that's the case, we simply have to face a long, ongoing, lowscale form of guerilla warfare, of civil war, of woundings, of clashes, of conflicts, of
killings, and of deaths.

I know this may sound very depressing to you. I hope it doesn't sound sensational,
because I don't want to be sensational. I don't want to be melodramatic. I'm too concerned
about the future of the country. I'm too concerned about the concept of justice. I'm too
much concerned about the role which we have to play in order to minimize violence and
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to bring about peace. And I say this not only for the sake of the blacks who are suffering
so deeply; I'm saying this also for the sake of the whites. I'm a white. I'm an Afrikaner. I
don't deny my Afrikanerdom. I understand why my people are doing this. I don't agree
with it; I totally and I utterly disagree. But I thank God that I don't hate them for what
they are doing; I hate the system, yes, I hate the injustice, I hate the oppression, I hate the
racism, because I believe it dehumanizes the oppressor even more than the oppressed.

But having said that, I cannot stand aside and silently view a country being led to a
situation of suicide and revolution.

And therefore, with that, I wish to close. The question arises, what can be done in South
Africa? I believe that there is very little hope that the whites will, of their own volition,
change the situation. I believe we have got to face the fact that there will be the ongoing
pressures on the part of the blacks until the situation, both economically and otherwise,
forces the white community eventually to say, "We cannot continue with what we're
doing, what we've done up to now."

And in closure, I think it is important to try and answer – I say try and answer – the
question, what is there that you as people of the United States could possibly do? First of
all, I would like to say that I believe that it is absolutely essential that you continue to
pressure also your own government in order to apply more meaningful forms of
disinvestment on our country. And why am I saying this? I'm saying this in the face of
the fact that I know that I could be charged for saying this, but I'm saying this, friends,
because this is one of the last peaceful measures remaining to us in order to avoid a
conflict of violence and bloodshed in our country.

It is only when especially the white community begin to feel in their own pockets what it
means in order to pay that price that they will begin to sit up and to say, "We have to
reconsider what is happening."
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I believe it is also important that you as a nation with all the power at your disposal, that
you apply the necessary pressures also on your Swiss and your German bankers to
indicate to them that they can make a meaningful contribution to this struggle for
liberation if they are prepared to cooperate with the American bankers.

I believe it's important that you should see and place into its proper perspective the
struggle for justice in South Africa. And I know that our government tries to sell, and
sometimes sells successfully also to the people of the public of the United States this idea
that our government is the strongest anti-communist force on the continent of Africa, and
that it stands for the Christian values and the values of Western Civilization.

If any of you or anybody else is impressed by that argument, let me answer you in one
single sentence: That if anybody would like to ask me and say, "What is the strongest
single factor of promoting the sympathy for communism in South Africa?" without
hesitation my reply would be, the policy of apartheid. And as long as that remains, there
is no way to solve the situation by all these false arguments. And to claim that we are a
Christian government and a Christian people, I believe that in no other respect that makes
a mockery of the real understanding of the Christian faith.

I believe it's important that you express increasingly your solidarity with the oppressed
and with those who are the victims of apartheid. I am deeply grateful for many responses
of active support which have come from the United States. I'm thinking of the
demonstrations against the embassy. I'm thinking of many actions which have been
taken. But I believe it's important to continue and to increase that support of your

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But above all, I think it is important that you remove from your own society every form
of latent or hidden racism which there still may be. Because as long as the white
community in South Africa can point to the United States or to Britain or to any other
part of the world and say, "You have no right to criticize us. You have no right to become
involved in our struggle with all the forms of racism still evident and prevalent in your
society," it makes it much more difficult for us to answer that.

And above all, I believe that the tremendous and wonderful heritage which you have
gained and which you hold dear, your respect for human dignity, for human rights, for the
recognition of a person being a person in his own right, for the concept of human liberty
and freedom, for true democracy, if you regard these values to be the most meaningful
for the maintenance of a free society, please understand and support those in our country
who claim to seek the same for themselves. They are the ones who need your support.
They are the ones who look forward to you through your acts and through everything that
you convey to strengthen them in their struggle until the day when they will be free. That
day will come. I've no doubt whatsoever that that day will come. And when it comes, I
would gladly wish to see that the people of the United States should have been seen by
the struggling masses of South Africa not to have been on the side of the oppressor, but
on the side of those who were oppressed and who struggled to achieve their liberation.

Thank you. [applause]

DONALD TYE: For the benefit of the radio audience, what I'm going to do is to repeat,
as we usually do, the questions that are asked. We'll try to go from one side of the room
to the other. And I'd like to ask you to try to keep your question as a question, as concise
as possible, rather than attempting to make a protracted political statement. And we'll
start from over here, please. Yes, sir?

Q: [off mic]

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DONALD TYE: Reverend Naudé, can you guarantee that the government that takes
over will be a democratic government with the protections of a democratic government?

BEYERS NAUDÉ: It depends how this takes place. It depends whether the people of
the country would be given the opportunity to decide and to elect their own future
leaders. I can only state clearly that as far as a body like the UDF is concerned, it has
pledged itself to a democratic and a non-racial future. I can only state that everywhere
where I went, and with all that I and many others have spoken, that there is nothing else
but the deep and urgent longing to set up a fully democratic rule in South Africa. But if
you were to ask me whether I could give that guarantee, certainly not; it is not possible.
But on the basis of all the signs and the pointers and the indications there, I'm convinced
that such a change is taking place and will take place. And when it does come, I believe it
is essential that one gives such a government the full opportunity to prove itself.

DONALD TYE: Do we have a question from this side? Yes, sir?

Q: How many people have been detailed since the state of emergency and under what
conditions are they being held?

DONALD TYE: Since the state of emergency, Reverend, how many people have been
detained and what is the state of those, sir, that are being detailed?

BEYERS NAUDÉ: It is difficult to get the full figures because these are not regularly
made known by the police, and it is impossible to ascertain it simply because people just
disappear and you don't know for how long. And eventually some of them turn up, and
some of them flee the country. But it has been ascertained that since September last year,
altogether 15,000 people were detained for shorter or longer periods, and then, again,
many of them released. Seven-hundred-forty people have died. And the number of deaths
continue to take place with every week of the clashes which are taking place.
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I only know that at the present moment, the South African Council of Churches, which
provides legal defense for a number of political cases, that we at the present moment are
dealing with about 1500 young people in different parts of the country being charged
either with intimidation, with acts of violence, with arson, or with being in possession of
banned literature and banned publication. And the number of court cases is escalating
every day. I've got to read through the records of every one of those cases before I give
my approval for that money to be paid out for the legal defense. And I can only say that
our staff has found a tremendous escalation. In fact, we've had to increase our staff not
only at the head office, but also in the regional offices, because the number of cases
continue to rise every week.

DONALD TYE: We have a question, yes, sir, in the blue shirt. Would you please stand?

Q: Yes, Reverend Naudé, you expressed pessimism for the possibility for peaceful
change in our country. Are there any circumstances of which you think that armed
struggle is justified? And more specifically, are there any circumstances of which you
would [55:41] of such a struggle?

DONALD TYE: Under what circumstances, sir, is armed resistance justified? And
under what circumstances would you support such resistance?

BEYERS NAUDÉ: The South African Council of Churches has up till now declared
itself to be fully in favor of peaceful change and expressed itself very strongly against
violence in any form. In the course of the last number of months, I've pointed out to the
Council that I believe that, although it is understandable that that stand was taken in the
past, that is no longer possible in view of the fact that we have in South Africa moved
into a situation not of violence versus non-violence, but in actual fact of a situation of

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people trying to bring about change by a lesser form of violence over against a great deal
of violence, that of the state and of the laws and of the police and of the army.

The debate is going on within the churches about the justification of the church or of the
Christian community in order to support otherwise the armed struggle of people who are
fighting for liberation. I have been actively engaged in stimulating that debate because I
believe that the churches have got to account themselves for the stand that they have to

At this point in time, in view of the fact of this discussion taking place in our country, I
do not feel justified as general secretary to express my personal opinions in this regard
because I believe that is certainly not the right thing for me to do here. All that I'm saying
is I've stated very clearly in South Africa that there is no justification whatsoever for the
church or for anybody to condemn the armed struggle and to condemn the actions on the
part of the young people if the church has not been able to prove that its peaceful forms
of resistance are not more effective and could achieve that purpose.

DONALD TYE: Is there a question from the side? Yes, ma'am? Do you have a
question? Yes, would you stand, please?

Q: To counter the argument, one of the arguments that countered divestment, it's often
said that divestment is a one-shot deal and you'd lose any potential leverage you had. Do
you see any of these transnational corporations who have made huge profits from
apartheid, do you see them as ever having effectively argued for pressures and gotten
some reforms from the government?

DONALD TYPE: Regarding divestment, have you seen, sir, any of the trends, the large
corporations that have advocated divestment, seeing any actual progress from the
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BEYERS NAUDÉ: I follows the debate and the pressures of the transnational
corporations with great interest and concern. Let me say in all fairness that of all the
overseas companies, the transnational corporations, your American corporations or the
majority of them have, in comparison with the others, certainly been willing to do much
more to bring about certain forms of change and of justice within their economic
structure. But having said that, I believe that these are by far inadequate to meet the real
problem in the country.

And I know that the argument of the corporations are that theirs is an economic interest
and that the political aspect of the problem is not something which they should be asked
to deal. In our situation in South Africa, I do not think that that argument is valid any
longer because of the serious nature of the crisis of the injustice which there is. And
therefore, I had hoped that there would be more meaningful measures which have been
taken, and pressures put upon the South African government by your transnational
corporations in conjunction with your South African business in order to do that. And
that can be done; especially now that the economy of the country is in such a very, very
fluid and sensitive state.

I sincerely hope that it will be possible. But let me say immediately that as far as the
politically conscious majority of the black opinion in South Africa is concerned, the
feelings are very strong that in view of the senior political crisis in the country and the
longing for liberation, that they would certainly see as the first option divestment where
possible. It is not because they want to harm the country. It is not because they want to
harm the infrastructure. It is not because they do not want to see that blacks have an equal
and full share in the economic advance and development of the country. But it is because
of the fact that they are saying, "We first have to deal with the basic and fundamental

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problem of injustice; namely, the political one. Once we've resolved that, then certainly
we can attend to a meaningful economic growth in the country."

Q: Could you tell us more about what specific things the Council of Churches does in
South Africa? Do you see it as a body that can continue what the Christian Institute tried
to do? And also, do you fear being banned yourself any longer, or does your position in
any sense protect you to be free to speak freely?

DONALD TYE: Would you describe what the Council of Churches does. And do you
see any repercussions from what you're doing now back in South Africa? And how does
your position protect you?

BEYERS NAUDÉ: As far as the Council of Churches is concerned, with regard to the–
I'm not referring to the other aspect, but with regard to the struggle for liberation in South
Africa, the Council of Churches has set up in the course of the last number of years a
form of support for the families of political prisoners where every month an amount
ranging between 80 rand and 100 rand a month is paid out to 800 families of political
prisoners. We wish that that amount could be much more, but we are not able to raise
more to give to them because the majority of that money comes from outside of the
country because the white community in South Africa would generally not be willing to
make any contribution.

Secondly, we've set up an emergency fund to make provision, first of all, for the cost of
funerals, make provision for a grant to a family where the breadwinner has been shot and
killed, assisting medical aid, provide legal defense, help fathers and mothers where
children are being charged and their cases are being heard and the trials held sometimes
long distances from their homes, to make available transport so that they can be there
where their children appear in court.

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In our emergency fund, we have also made provision for gathering the information on all
forms of torture, of detentions, of the problems which arise for families if children, for
instance, just disappear, to see what we can do to help such families.

In addition to that, we have embarked on a program where we're looking at an alternative
form of education for those children who increasingly will not be able or willing to
receive any regular form of black education. We're deeply concerned about the fact that
there may be a generation of students, of three, four years, five years, who for that period,
when other children are normally at school or at university, completing either their school
education or the university training, that they, because of the situation in the country, are
denied that opportunity. And we're desperately trying to see what we can do to set up
such alternative forms of education. We do not know whether the government will allow
it. It may be that the government will deny us that opportunity. But at least we can try.

In addition to that, we try to mobilize the feelings and the support of the worldwide
Christian community with the situation in South Africa. We've divided the country in
seven crisis zones. We have appointed four fieldworkers where we receive regular reports
for what is happening in those areas so that we are in a position to judge, hopefully, much
more effectively and correctly what is happening in the country than just to depend upon
news reports which in many respects are unreliable. And this information we try to make
available to all concerned people and groups and organizations who wish to be informed.
END ms113.0036

BEGIN ms113.0037
BEYERS NAUDÉ: We are actively cooperating with the Catholic Bishops' Conference,
with bodies like the Black Sash, with the black community in trying to see what we can
do to give them the necessary support. And that is the reason why, as general secretary, I

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have tried to make my contribution in my visit, for instance, to the States, and from here
to Canada.

With regard to the question of what this could entail by way of possible actions against
me, I'm aware that the stand of the Council and of myself against divestment, in favor of
civil disobedience, and other opinions which I've expressed could lay me open to a
similar charge as that under which Dr. Allan Boesak is charged, and under the Subversion
of the Internal Security Act and where he has to appear in court on November 6th. As you
may know, Dr. Allan Boesak is the president of the World Alliance of Reformed
Churches, and is due to appear in court in Cape Town, or in Malmesbury near Cape
Town, on November 6th. He has been charged on subversion for three counts – one, for
his stand on divestment; secondly, for him supporting the whole call for a consumer
boycott of white businesses; and thirdly, for the support of your school boycott. And if
that could happen to him, it could certainly equally happen to me.

So I do not know what the outcome of that may be. But in view of the fact that the
situation is so serious, I feel that that's the least that I can do, to inform concerned people
about what is happening for the sake of minimizing the violence and the bloodshed in the
country and bringing about what I believe to be a more just dispensation. [applause]

DONALD TYE: Yes, ma'am?

Q: Two questions. Can you tell us anything about a commission made up of several
American professors and others led by a Professor Peter Broger and its relationship to the
government in South Africa, firstly. And secondly, what do you make of the meeting
between white business leaders and the ANC leaders earlier?

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DONALD TYE: Would you, sir, describe– the first question we'll start with. Would you
describe the commission led by Peter Broger and its relationship to the political issues in
South Africa? And then when that's through, then we'll ask the second question.

BEYERS NAUDÉ: I do not have enough information to evaluate or to assess what the
outcome of that could be. If I know more of what exactly is entailed, what is in mind, and
what they hope to achieve, then it is possible to assess it. All that I wish to say with
regard to any such an effort, regardless of whether it comes from the United States or any
other part of the world, I think there are two or three primary conditions which have to be
met before any such a meeting or any such a venture could be seen to be meaningful or

First of all, that if such a group of people coming to south Africa does not put themselves
in touch with the relevant black leadership in the trade unions, in the UDF, in the other
bodies, in the women's organizations, amongst the students and elsewhere, there is no
point in trying to gain their information from the other sources and believe that that is
going to be in any way reliable and meaningful.

And secondly, I believe it is of vital importance that, for the information that they wish to
have, that they should certainly not rely themselves purely on the press, purely on your
government sources, or purely on the sources of your white community. And therefore,
we would gladly place ourselves at the disposal of any individual or organization who
would wish to come to the offices of the SACC. Because there we would be able to share
with them in depth with the information of what is happening in the country. And not
only with regard to the facts, but also with regard to putting them in touch with people
themselves who have been the victims, the victims of police brutality, of army brutality,
the victims, for instance, children and mothers. We have 700, 800 children in Soweto
simply being grabbed by the police, thrown in prison for two nights, and then released
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after that. To experience something of that and to understand something of the agony and
the pain and then the anger on the part of the mothers and fathers to say, "What on earth
is happening? Why is this a way in which people are acting against our children?" And
we would gladly wish to do that.

It's only that personal experience where you are faced, where you are confronted with the
agony and the pain and the anger and the feelings of the people, only then that you begin
to realize what in fact apartheid is doing to our whole society.

Q: The second question is, what do you make of the meeting between business leaders
and the ANC earlier this week?

DONALD TYE: What do you make, sir, of the meeting between the ANC and the
business leaders? And would you describe, please, what the ANC is.

BEYERS NAUDÉ: The ANC is the banned political organization, African National
Congress, which was banned in 1960. From 1912 to 1960, when in 1912, the African
National Congress was established, it was a perfectly legal organization. It had as its
central goal equal and meaningful political rights which the whites enjoyed. It took a very
strong stand in favor of peaceful change. Its leader Albert Lutuli, before his death, was a
very strong exponent of the whole concept of peaceful change. In every respect, the ANC
advocated fundamental change without violence. For 48 years.

During that 48 years, as far as I know, there was not a single church in South Africa
which as a church body ever gave any sign of recognition or of support of this body. And
that is why if people in South Africa, if they wax eloquently about peaceful change, my
first question to them would be, Where were your voices when those who struggled for
peaceful change asked for it in vain?

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The ANC was banned in 1960 and went underground and formed its military arm,
Umkhonto we Sizwe, stating clearly that it was forced to turn to arms because of the
increasing repression on the part of the system. The ANC has been operating outside
South Africa, has grown in strength inside South Africa, especially during the last
number of years. Surveys which have been undertaken have proved that the ANC has the
support of certainly two-thirds of the black community of South Africa in its goals and
aims. Perhaps not necessarily in its methods, but certainly in its goals and aims.

The headquarters of the ANC at the present moment are in Lusaka. Recently, a number of
top businessmen decided to send a mission to Lusaka in order to consult with the ANC on
their future vision of South Africa. The fact that your business community – in this case it
was mainly English- and Jewish-speaking businessmen, because the Afrikaans-speaking
community was not willing to accompany them – the fact that they decided to do so, I
think, was an implicit proof that the business community looked at the future of the
country and said to themselves, if they did not say it to others, "We have got to look to
the future of the country. We have got to start negotiating with those who may be in a
position of the ones who are going to decide the political future of the country. And those
ones are certainly no longer in Pretoria; they are elsewhere."

The outcome of that was interesting from the viewpoint of the businessmen, in which
they felt a very sympathetic response, although a very clear difference of opinion on a
number of matters. They were impressed by the very, very well-informed way in which
the ANC was informed about the situation in South Africa. They were impressed by the
arguments which were used, by the stand which was taken by the ANC leadership, by the
indications of what the ANC felt was necessary in order to bring about fundamental

I do not know whether there's any other further outcome to that, but I believe that paved
the way for the Progressive Federal Party to go two weeks afterwards also to visit the
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ANC and to see whether it would be possible to come to an understanding of the political
future of the country.

Then a number of Afrikan students from Stellenbosch wanted also to go and visit the
ANC. Under the leadership of a white minister of the white Dutch Reformed Church in
Stellenbosch, where upon PW Botha immediately clamped down and removed their
passports and denied them the opportunity to go to Lusaka.

I think that was a clear indication of the growing fear on the part of the government; that
the ANC was gaining in such power and popularity that it was time simply to call a halt. I
do not believe that is going to make any substantial difference, because there is no
possibility of the political future of South Africa to be decided without the ANC being
meaningfully included in all the negotiations. It is not possible. And anybody who is
going to try to do that is going to meet with failure after failure.

DONALD TYE: Sir, over here, on the far right, please.

Q: In September, the US Secretary of State George Shultz justified the administration's
policy of constructive engagement by saying this was necessary to maintain American
influence with white South Africa which held the key to change. Can you comment on
that statement? Can you tell us how the black majority refused constructive engagement?

DONALD TYE: Would you comment on Secretary of State's Shultz's policy of
constructive engagement, please.

BEYERS NAUDÉ: Yes, gladly. It is neither constructive, nor meaningful engagement.
It is destructive from the viewpoint of our struggle for liberation, and it is not going to be
an engagement, but it's certainly going to be a confrontation, which will leave us in a

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situation much more serious and severe than we are at the present moment. And let me
explain why.

Because the Reagan administration has time and again stated that what it is trying to do is
in order to assist the white government to bring about meaningful reform. How long has
the policy of constructive engagement been pursued in South Africa? Four years? Five
years? Looking back on that period, what in fact has it produced? From the viewpoint of
the black community, further repression, greater anger, more resistance, less meaningful
involvement with a view to a solution of justice. In fact, it has gone further. It has clearly
strengthened the hands of the government of PW Botha to know that when there is a
crisis and when the crunch comes, they in the last sense can continue to depend on the
support of the Reagan administration.

The same argument and the same conviction holds with regard to the British government.
And that is why when reluctantly your President came to at least recognize the need
under pressure for certain limited form of sanctions, the Commonwealth was able to force
Maggie Thatcher at least to accept the same.

But I have to say this, friends – and I say this with a deep love for the United States and
for much which I deeply respect in your society, in your life, in your outlook – I think
you should be aware of the fact that the feelings of anger and of bitterness in the hearts of
millions of blacks, not only towards the policy of constructive engagement, but also
towards the Americans as such, in the hearts of millions of blacks, those feelings run very
deep and very strong as negative feelings of the lack of the necessary support.

I know that you may respond by saying, "Yes, but please, they should distinguish
between those of us who disagree." I understand that. But from their viewpoint, most of
what they experience coming from the United States is a clear, visible sign of the support
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of the policy which they feel is a strengthening of PW Botha's position in order to
entrench apartheid further and stronger.

And when that is further strengthened by the visit of somebody like Jerry Falwell, who
comes to South Africa, who is given wide publicity, has an audience with a state
president, and who belongs along two journalists who are given the permission to go and
interview Nelson Mandela, which is not given to anybody else, and then comes back with
a report which cannot be identified, and cannot be pursued to be seen to what degree it's
been correct, because these were from notes, and Nelson Mandela is not in a position to
respond to say whether in fact he did say what he said and he did say it in the context in
which it was published in the Washington Times, then you get the anger of the black
community and they say, "If this is what we receive on the part of those who comes in the
name of the government of the United States, we don't want them."

Please, friends, for the sake of America's wellbeing and honor and good name, do not
export these convictions and these kind of actions to South Africa. We don't want them
and we don't need them. [applause]

AUDIENCE: Is the Reverend opposed to direct investment in black housing, education
and social services? And also, what advice would he have for a young South African
who's facing military service and is opposed to apartheid?

DONALD TYE: Are you opposed to direct investment in social services, sir? And also,
what comments would you have to a young South African who's facing military service?

BEYERS NAUDÉ: I should say that as far as the SACC's concerned, we've made it
very clear that we have never been opposed to any meaningful investment in social
services, in housing, in the promotion of education of your blacks in order to train them
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and equip them for their position of leadership. But the problem was in the past, that is
not what investment was all about. Investment was there in order to gain more profit, and
the profits then to be again taken out of South Africa, or many of them. Whereas, there
was very little of that concern in order to promote that. It was only when the pressures
started being applied that all of a sudden these interests came there to be. But certainly,
we need every form of support with regard to what is meaningful in order to promote the
whole process of liberation.

The second question, conscription. During the period of my banning of seven years, I
embarked upon a service of pastoral counseling of many people, one at a time. I could
never see more than one person at a time. And I spent many hours with many young
people – I'm talking about young whites – who were deeply troubled about the whole
situation of conscription and who felt that to them it was a matter of conscience whether
they should proceed. I had to point out to them that basically there were three options:
One was to undertake the military service and face the consequences for themselves,
whether they could do that or not. The second was to refuse to do so and face a six-year
sentence in prison. The third was to leave the country.

I never felt that I had the right to say to a young person, "Go to prison." How dare I do
that? I never felt that I had the right to tell somebody, "Leave the country." What I did do
was that I said to them, "If you feel that you can serve and enter and do your national
service with the full consequences of what that entails, calling you up at some stage into a
black township where you may be called upon to shoot a young black, it's up to you to
decide what you have to do."

The result is, of the whole situation in South Africa with regard to conscription, that
many young whites have left the country. We don't know how many. And they're
continuing to leave. I don't condemn them, I don't blame them. Because many of them
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have said, "We are not prepared to waste six years of our precious young lives in jail, and
that for nothing." Those who have decided and opted to go to jail, I have said, "I deeply
respect you." Because I do not believe that this is a waste of time. Although I understand
that there will be those who say, "We are not prepared to do that."

But it has created a tremendous problem. And that is why there was a new group which
started a year ago of which I am one of the patrons, called the End Conscription
Campaign, a campaign to call upon the government and the authorities to say, "Stop the
whole system of conscription. Allow young people to choose freely. Then to form an
alternative service and not to go into the army." In any case, not as long as apartheid has
to be defended. But it has created a tremendous agony and struggle of conscience in the
minds of many, many young whites in South Africa.

And I'm afraid that that is part of the whole terrible tragedy of our country, where a
situation is being created where thousands of young people are being asked to defend the

DONALD TYE: Yes, sir, in the yellow shirt, right there? Or ma'am, I'm sorry.

AUDIENCE: What role do you see Chief Gatsha Buthelezi and Inkatha playing in your
integration struggle there?

BEYERS NAUDÉ: The question is, what is happening with regard to Chief Gatsha
Buthelezi and Inkatha. Inkatha is the movement, the liberation movement of Chief
Buthelezi. I'll explain.

May I explain for those of you who may perhaps not have the necessary information that
Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi is the hereditary chief of the Zulu Tribe of South Africa,
which is the largest single black tribe in South Africa, with approximately five-and-a-half
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MS113.0036-0037 Transcript

million Zulu followers? He has established a number of years ago what he termed a
liberation movement called Inkatha in order to build up the sense of cultural pride and
service in the Zulu community.

Recently, there have been a number of very painful and deeply regrettable clashes of
followers of Inkatha in Natal between them [OMISSION]
DONALD TYE: –behalf of the Ford Hall Forum, we'd like to thank Reverend Naudé.


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