South African churches mourn death of anti-apartheid campaigner

 Christians through South African are mourning the passing of Rev Dr Beyers Naude, a Dutch Reformed Church pastor and theologian, who broke ranks with the establishment to become the first high profile church leader to fight apartheid. In a statement The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference describes Beyers Naude, as "a fearless campaigner against apartheid, a compassionate pastor, a man of heroic courage, a single-minded promoter of Christian Unity, a man of deep faith and a legend on his own time, by God's grace lived to see the creation of a just society in South Africa." Archbishop Buti Tlhagale from the SABC said: "The Catholic Church joins all South Africans in mourning the death of Beyers Naude, and expresses its condolences to Mrs Elsie Naud." The South African Ecumenical Service for Socio-Economic Transformation (ESSET) said it saluted "a gallant fighter for people's freedom, fearless pastor, a father and a fellow African. The Organization has been blessed by the leadership of Dr Naude as he served as the Secretary-General of the South African Council of Churches (SACC). Addressing Mrs Naude, Billy Maseti from ESSET said: "your loss is our loss, may the Almighty God therefore give you strength during this difficult time," said . He added, "hamba kakuhle qhawe lamaqhawe, ugqatso lufezile nokholo ubulugcinile - farewell!" The Emeritus Archbishop of Capetown Desmond Tutu said the country owed a debt of gratitude to Rev Naude "for helping us to love our enemies". "Dr Naude, a true Christian is an example for many of us who profess faith but find that faith and politics cannot be mixed. He refused to be a Christian on Sunday only, he knew that love of neighbour compels us not to be blind to the reality around us. He was both a man of and a gift from God. He lived to profess his faith and knew that people's freedom cannot be separated from the love of God." Sources: CISA/SACBC/ESSET

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