Allan Boesak, an iconic figure in the lengthy struggle to end apartheid in South Africa, will deliver a lecture at Yale Divinity School entitled “Reconciliation, Justice, and the Spirit of Ubuntu.”
Boesak’s visibility on the world stage began to take shape in 1982, after he introduced a motion at a World Alliance of Reformed Churches meeting requesting that the organization declare apartheid a heresy. The alliance adopted the Declaration on Racism, suspended South Africa's white Dutch Reformed Church because of its pro-apartheid stance, and elected Boesak president of the alliance—a post he held until 1989.
In 1983 Boesak called for the formation of the United Democratic Front, which became the largest organized, non-racial anti-apartheid movement in the history of South Africa. He became the Front’s most visible leader and spokesperson until its closure by the African National Congress in 1991.
Although retired from active party politics, Boesak still is deeply involved in global struggles for human rights; social, economic, and ecological justice; and gender and sexual justice.
An ordained mister, Boesak holds a Ph.D. in theology from the Protestant Theological University in Kampen, the Netherlands. He is the author of 17 books and co-author or editor of four others. His most recent publication, Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism (Orbis, June 2012) is co-authored with Curtiss Paul DeYoung. Allan Boesak’s 2005 work, Die Vlug van Gods Verbeelding, Bybelverhale van die Onderkant, (The Flight of God’s Imagination: Biblical Stories from the Underside), received the Andrew Murray/Desmond Tutu Prize, South Africa’s highest award for theological publications. He is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Robert Kennedy Human Rights Award, the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award, and the King Hintsa Bravery Award from the Royal Xhosa House. He is also the recipient of 12 honorary degrees conferred upon him by, among others, Yale and the University of Geneva.
Boesak is currently an honorary research fellow at the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. During the fall semester, 2012, he served as a visiting professor and theologian at Butler University and the Christian Theological Seminary, both in Indianapolis.