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Festival Of Faiths Preview: End Of Apartheid Remains Sign Of Hope

Courtesy Festival of Faiths

The Rev. Allan Boesak spent years on the front lines in the fight to end apartheid in his native South Africa.

Boesak, one of the participants in the Festival of Faiths underway in Louisville this week, worked alongside the late Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu to bring reconciliation to the nation in the 1980s. He is now a professor and theologian at two Indiana institutions: Butler University and Christian Theological Seminary.

I spoke with him this week about South Africa and how it reflects the festival’s theme, “Pathways to Peace.”

Listen to our conversation in the audio player above.

On the challenge of promoting reconciliation — instead of civil war — to end apartheid in South Africa:

"How does one convince angry, disappointed, disillusioned, humiliated people, and especially young people, that non-violence is the best way? The fact that we could do that and that we ended up not in a civil war but actually sitting around the table talking about a process of reconciliation rather than retribution, that is the kind of miracle that I think one can hold up as a sign of hope for people in the world."

On how reconciliation in South Africa is still a work in progress:

"We haven't done as well as we should. Reconciliation is not possible without social justice.  We ended up with a situation in which a vast majority of our people are still very, very much an impoverished group of people, where we have a very small elite that have become rich very, very quickly. But now the gap between the rich and poor in South Africa is one of the widest in the world."

For a complete schedule of events for the 2016 Festival of Faiths, click here.  

Rick Howlett was midday host and the host of LPM's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." He was with LPM from 2001-2023 and held many different titles, including Morning Edition host, Assignment Editor and Interim News Director. He died in August 2023. Read a remembrance of Rick here.

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