DF Malan drive renamed

2001-09-30 11:22

Johannesburg - DF Malan drive officially ceased to exist on Sunday morning when Johannesburg unicity mayor Amos Masondo snipped a ribbon renaming the road Beyers Naude Drive.

A plaque commemorating the renaming was also unveiled outside the Wespark cemetery.

The 86-year-old Naude was not able to attend the ceremony due to ill health, but his anti-apartheid activist colleague former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu was there to give his support.

DF Malan was the first prime minister of the former National Party. He led South Africa until 1954 after defeating Jan Smuts and his United Party in the 1948 election.

Naude was born in Roodepoort on the West Rand in 1915. He was the son of a Dutch Reformed Church minister who fought in the Anglo-Boer War and was named after an important general his father admired.

Broederbond background

His father was the first to deliver a church service in Afrikaans and was a founder member of the Broederbond - a powerful secret organisation aimed at protecting the political and cultural interests of the Afrikaner, which was to become pivotal in furthering the cause of apartheid.

With this background Naude went on to Stellenbosch University where he obtained his masters degree in languages. He then graduated from the Stellenbosch School of Theology.

At Stellenbosch he met his wife Ilse, who holds a masters degree in mathematics.

She is the daughter of Moravian missionaries, and a visit to her hometown of Genadendal, where the German-based Moravian church did not separate races for worship, was to be one of a series of life-changing events for Beyers.

In 1940 he was appointed assistant minister at the Dutch Reformed Church in Wellington, he married Ilse and was inducted into the Broederbond.

First moment of truth

It was at a church service in Genadendal with the stirring background of gospel singing and his first conversations with "coloured" people that he had his first moment of truth.

"I realised they had the same deep Christian convictions that I had," Naude said in an interview with Sapa two years ago.

"I thought if we have the same qualities why do the laws of the country not allow them to do what they want to do?

"It was a deep and moving experience to participate in the worship services of the Moravian community - it was totally different - that people could worship God in so many different ways."

Naude spent seven years under banning orders, not being allowed to be in the same room with more than one person at a time, with police raids, police bugs and a constant welcome stream of visitors waiting to speak to him, to ask him advice, to discuss politics with him.

Naude will be awarded the Freedom of the City of Johannesburg at a ceremony later on Sunday.