South African leader to speak

Students have the chance to hear an anti-aparteid activist and internationally-recognized leader as part of  Butler University’s Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series on Nov. 12.

Rev. Allan Boesak is an established theologian and author and spoke out against the South African  apartheid as a patron of the United Democratic Front from 1983 to 1991.

Boesak teaches in the philosophy and religious studies department this semester as a visiting professor and will be working at the Christian Theological Seminary in the spring semester.

“We could not have someone of his stature here on campus and not have him be a part of the diversity lecture series,” said Valerie Davidson, director of diversity programs.

The title of his lecture is “The Righteousness of Our Strength: Reconciliation, Justice and the Historic Obligation of the Oppressed.”

Boesak was born in Kakamas, South Africa, in 1946. He studied at the University of Western Cape and received his Ph.D. in theology from the Protestant Theological University in Kampen, the Netherlands.

His voice was first heard in the 1980s while he was an outspoken critic of the National Party’s policies in South Africa. In 1991, he was elected chairman of the African National Congress.

“The ANC is the people’s government. It is our liberation movement,” he wrote in his book “The Fire Within: Sermons from the Edge of Exile.”

He is globally recognized—along with Archbishop Desmond Tutu—as one of the most influential voices of the anti-apartheid movement.

“I am hoping students will leave having a better understanding of what Boesak has achieved and accomplished in his commitment to human rights and diversity and have the opportunity to experience his legacy,” Davidson said.

Some of his achievements include publishing his doctoral dissertation, “Farewell to Innocence,” writing 17 books and holding the office of president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

There will be a meet and greet in the Efroymson Diversity Center from 6 to 7 p.m. for people to get to know Boesak on a personal level.

His lecture starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Reilly Room.

Davidson said the diversity lectures try to give students the opportunity to have a conversation with the speakers prior to the event.

Sophomore Lea Levy attended the last diversity lecture with Lt. Dan Choi and said the diversity series benefits students because of the interesting speakers it draws.

“They talk about current issues that we as Americans or as people residing in the country should know more about,” Levy said.

This event also counts toward the cultural requirement for students.

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