Change the world


On Friday, 22 May 2015, the majestic Anglican Cathedral in York Street, George was abuzz with excitement as more than 150 guests, including learners, teachers, students, the church fraternity, parishioners, members of the public and representatives of NMMU and the Kagiso Trust, gathered there for the much anticipated NMMU Distinguished Dr Beyers Naudé Memorial lecture.  The NMMU George Campus Principal, Prof. Quinton Johnson, warmly welcomed all guests and set the tone for the evening by calling on all to strengthen our noble quest to transform ourselves for the better from Africa, as the cradle of humanity. Furthermore, the NMMU George Campus Choir was also in attendance and enthralled guests with their beautiful voices and diverse repertoire.

With his awe-inspiring  keynote address as context, Bishop Brian Marajh, together with four youth panellists who briefly articulated their perspectives on the “dreams and the dilemmas facing young people in the present-day democratic South Africa”, set the scene for a lively debate. The Bishop indicated that it was critical to protect human dignity, advance courage and truthfulness.  He posed some piercing questions to the audience about the individual and society’s acceptance of diversity and taking of responsibility in this context. “It is vital to be able to work constructively… transformation should lead to a greater good” he said. He also indicated that an evolution needs to take place in one’s life.  “Not to care about your neighbour is not to care about South Africa”, he said.

This is the third year that NMMU, through its Centre for the Advancement of Non Racialism and Democracy (CANRAD) is hosting this prestigious lecture series, an innovative project of the Kagiso Trust aimed at keeping alive Dr Beyers Naudé’s powerful legacy and the associated uplifting values. The event hosted by NMMU in George included an exhibition focused on the life and legacy of Dr Beyers Naudé, which was attended by guests in the church hall, followed by the formal proceeding in the historic cathedral.

The event also enjoyed the blessing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu who, in a letter to the audience, read by the NMMU George Campus Principal, Prof Quinton Johnson, reflected on Dr Beyers Naudé as a remarkable human being and expressed his delight in the Lecture Series, which aims to promote the cause of a more just and democratic society.

Dr Beyers Naudé is Kagiso Trust’s founding trustee, alongside persons of the stature of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr Max Coleman, Reverend Frank Chikane, Prof Jakes Gerwel and others.

More about Dr Beyers Naudé

Dr Beyers Naudé, was born in Roodepoort, the son of a founding member of the Afrikaner Broederbond. He studied theology at the University of Stellenbosch and completed a Master’s degree in languages. As a minister in the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK), he began to doubt the religious justification for apartheid after witnessing the destruction of black family life under the South African migrant labour system.

In 1963 he resigned from both his church post and the Broederbond. He went on to edit an ecumenical magazine, Pro Veritate, which opposed apartheid, and, in 1963, became director of the newly formed Christian Institute and an underground supporter of the anti-apartheid movement. In 1977 Pro Veritate, the Christian Institute and Beyers Naudé were all banned. Unbanned in 1984 Naudé succeeded Archbishop Tutu as General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. He was a member of the African National Congress delegation during the negotiations in the early 1990s with the National Party government which led to the transition to democracy. On his death, in 2004, he was honoured with a state funeral.

Image 8670: Courtesy: Myron Rabinowitz, George Herald

Prof Quinton Johnson (left), NMMU George Campus Principal with Bishop Brian Marajh who delivered an inspiring keynote address at the 2015 Dr Beyers Naudé Memorial Lecture held in George titled, “Speaking to the spirit of Oom Bey: Transformation in a democratic South Africa”.  They are accompanied by four young panellists who, with a crisp articulation of their “dreams and the dilemmas facing young people in the present-day democratic South Africa”, helped set the scene for the lively debate which followed. 

Dean Langeveldt (third from left) and Siviwe Sawuti (far right) are both NMMU George education students doing their fourth year experiential learning towards the BEd (FET) degree at Pacaltsdorp Secondary School and Thembalethu High School respectively.  The third panellist, Nombuyiselo Duma, is busy with her BTech degree in Nature Conservation at NMMU George with the view of carving out a career as environmental advocate in business and non-profit organisations, while Annabelle Lloyd (second from the right), a Grade 11 pupil at Glenwood House School looks forward to studying law. 

Other photos: Kelvin Saunders

Image 7285:  The NMMU George Campus Choir enthralled guests who attended the memorial lecture with their beautiful voices and the diversity of songs they sang… in four languages.

Image 7289: Ms Nontando Mthethwa (f.l.t.r.), Kagiso Corporate Affairs Manager, Prof Quinton Jonson, NMMU George Campus Principal, Dean Titus Daniels and Bishop Brian Marajh, along with guests seated in the Anglican Cathedral enjoy the ambiance of the venue before the dialogue commences.

Image 7429: CANRAD Director, Allan Zinn, delivers a vote of thanks with Prof Quinton Johnson (front left) who moderated the debate, Bishop Marajh (centre), and the youth panellists – Dean Langeveldt, Nombuyisela Duma, Annabelle Lloyd and Siviwe Sawuti, seated on stage.

Image 7252: Bishop Brian Marajh (centre) with Prof Quinton Johnson (to his right), CANRAD Director Allan Zinn (left, behind) and representatives of Kagiso Trust, as well as Dr Bridget Johnson (far right).

Image 7441: Prof Quinton Johnson, Ms Nontando Mthethwa and Power Mabandla, NMMU George Student Council Chairperson, continue the discussion after the close of the event.

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Ms Alet van Tonder
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Tel: 27 44 801 5098