Allan Boesak, in full Allan Aubrey Boesak, (born Feb. 23, 1946, Kakamas, S.Af.), South African clergyman, who was one of South Africa’s leading spokesmen against the country’s policy of racial separation, or apartheid.




Danie Ackermann, Primary School, Somerset West Gordon High School, Somerset West, Matriculation1962


Lic. Theol. (University of the Western Cape and Theological Seminary Dutch Reformed Mission Church 1963-1967

Th. Dr. (Social Ethics) Protestant Theological University Kampen, the Netherlands, 1970-1976

Community and Political Activities (1976-1994)

  • Board Member of the Christian Institute of Southern Africa
  • National President, Association of Christian Students in South Africa
  • Chairman, The Confessing Circle of the Black Dutch Reformed Churches
  • Editor, Dunamis, quarterly publication of the Confessing Circle
  • President, Alliance of Black Reformed Christians in Southern Africa
  • National Vice President South African Council of Churches
  • Advisor on theological and socio-political matters to several ecumenical bodies, including the World Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of Churches
  • President, World Alliance of Reformed Churches
  • Moderator Dutch Reformed Mission Church
  • Founder member, Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians
  • Advisor, Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group to South Africa 1986
  • Advisor to the Apartheid Commission of the UN – 1980s
  • Participant in a specially appointed international group on Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons chaired by Sir Shidrath Ramphal (Commonwealth), Pres Julius Nyerere (Tanzania), Mr Rajiv Ghandi (Prime Minister of India) 1985-86
  • Key negotiator on sanctions on South African regime Commonwealth Heads of State/Heads of Government meeting in Kuala Lumpur, 1989
  • Member, International Commission on the Future of the United Nations, chaired by Sir Shridrath Ramphal and Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlson, (1990-1993)


  • Member of the Moderamen, and later Moderator of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church in South Africa (1982-1990)
  • Vice-Moderator of the General Synod and Moderator of the Regional Synod of the Western Cape, (2004-2008)
  • Keynoter speaker and Bible study leader at several ecumenical assemblies and consultations over many years – World Council of Churches, All Africa Conference of Churches, Asian Christian Conference, Caribbean Council of Churches, South African Council of Churches
  • Bible study leader, speaker and main Kirchentag Preacher at German Kirchentag, Frankfurt 1987
  • Guest lecturer at several theological institutions, colleges and universities in North America, Scotland, Asia and Europe.
  • Opening speaker at the International Bonhoeffer Congress, Amsterdam, 1988
  • Inaugural Lecturer at Calvin College in their Multi-Cultural Lectureship program 1980-81, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan USA
  • Teaching at American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley, California, 1995-97
  • Member of Calvin Commemoration Patronage Committee of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and member of the Lombard Panel for the John Calvin Essay competition for young theologians, 2009.
  • Head of “The Globalisation Project” of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa and the German Reformed Church (2008-2010) at Stellenbosch University, and Professor Extraordinaire, Systematic Theology, Stellenbosch University; Research Fellow, the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology.
  • Currently Honorary Research Associate, School of Classics, Philosophy and Religion, University of KwaZulu-Natal; Affiliated Professor and Principal Advisor, the Monash Africa Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Apart from numerous articles on theology and politics Allan Boesak is the author of 17 books, editor of one, and co-editor of three.

  • Coming in Out of the Wilderness – A Comparative Study of the ethics of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Kampen: Kok:1974
  • Om het zwart te zeggen, een bundel opstellen over centrale themas in de zwarte theologie. (Ed.) Kampen: Kok,1974
  • Farewell to Innocence – A Socio-ethical Study of Black Theology and Black Power, Kampen: Kok,1976, Maryknoll New York: Orbis Books, 1977; Dutch translation, Afscheid van de Onschuld, Kampen: Kok, 1977; German translation, Unschuld die Schuldig Macht, Eine socialethische Studie über Schwarze Theologie und Swharrze Macht: Hamburg: Luthersiches Verlag, 1977
  • The Finger of God – Sermons on Faith and Socio-political Responsibility, 1978, with US and German editions in 1979, 1980, and Chinese edition, 1984
  • Walking on Thorns – The Call to Christian Obedience. Sermons, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, and Geneva: WCC Publishers, 1984. Translated into Swedish and Italian.
  • Black and Reformed – Apartheid, Liberation and the Calvinist Tradition, Maryknoll: Orbis, 1984.
  • Als dit verraad is, ben ik schuldig, Baarn: Ten Have, 1986; English version: If this is Treason, I am Guilty, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986; London: SPCK, 1987.
  • With Charles Villa-Vicencio (Eds.) When Prayer Makes News, reflections on the call for a day of prayer for the end to unjust rule, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1986.
  • Machtigen heeft hij van de troon gestoten. Sermons in Dutch, 1989.
  • Gerechtigkeit erhöht ein Volk. Texte aus dem Widerstand. Sermons and speeches in German, 1985.
  • Livet Vaerd. Speeches and sermons in Danish, 1986.
  • Comfort and Protest, The Apocalypse of John from a South African Perspective, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1987; with German translation, 1988
  • Shadows of the Light – biblical reflections in a time of trial, Pretoria: Van Schaik, 1996. Also translated into Afrikaans: Skadu’s van die Lig, Bybelse oorwegings in ‘n tyd van aanvegting, Pretoria: Van Schaik, 1996.
  • Tot sterwens toe, Gedigte. Poems in Afrikaans, 2002.
  • The Fire Within – Sermons from the Edge of Exile, Cape Town: The New World Foundation, 2004; UK edition, Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 2006.
  • Die Vlug van Gods Verbeelding – Bybelverhale van die Onderkant. Stellenbosch: Sun Press, 2005
  • The Tenderness of Conscience – African Renaissance and the Spirituality of Politics, Stellenbosch: Sun Press, 2005; UK edition, Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 2007
  • Running with Horses, Reflections of an Accidental Politician, Cape Town: JoHo Publishers, 2009.
  • Globalisation: The Politics of Empire, Justice and the Life of the Earth, (Edited with Len Hansen), Stellenbosch: Sun Press, 2009
  • Globalisation II – Global Crisis, Global Challenge, Global Faith, (Edited with Len Hansen), Stellenbosch: Sun Press, 2010
  • Dreaming a Different World: Globalisation and Justice for Humanity and the Earth, The Challenge of the Accra Confession for the Churches, (Edited with Charles Amjad-Ali and Johann Weusmann), final report of the Globalisation Project, Stellenbosch, 2010.

Most Recent Public Lectures and Academic Articles (A Selection)

  • “Distinctly African”, key note address of The City Press newspaper, Johannesburg, July, 2007
  • “A Country Not Destined for Destruction: The Politics of Hope or the Politics of Delusion. Reflections 25 years After the Launch of the United Democratic Front”, Annual Ashley Kriel Memorial Lecture, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, University of the Western Cape, July, 2008.
  • “Creating Moments, Sustaining Momentum: South Africans and Challenges for Nation building”, C.R. Swart Memorial Lecture, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, August 26, 2010.
  • “And the Leaves of Which Are for the Healing of the Nations”, key note address, Oikotree International Ecumenical Conference, Arnoldshain, Germany, 1 November, 2010.
  • “A Restless Presence: Church Activism and ‘Post-Apartheid’, ‘Post-Racial’ Challenges”, key note address at inaugural conference of the TransAtlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race, University of South Africa, Pretoria, 29 June, 2011.
  • “Marginalisation and Black Consciousness”, public lecture, University of Pretoria, 16 July, 2011.
  • “The Righteousness of our Strength: Reconciliation, Justice and the ‘Historic Obligation of the Oppressed’”, public lecture, University of Johannesburg, September 14, 2011
  • “Who Will Rescue Me from this Body of Death? Black Consciousness and the Struggle for Meaningful Humanity”, Steve Biko Memorial Lecture, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, September 20, 2011
  • “Ein langer Weg – Geschlechtergerechtigkeit und Oekumene weltweit”, contribution to Gerechtigkeit – Visionen vom Reich Gottes, Jahrbuch Mission 2011, Missionshilfe Verlag: Hamburg, 2011
  • “’De Lawd Knows How it Was’: Black Theology and Black Suffering”, contribution to Cambridge Companion for Black Theology, Dwight N. Hopkins and Antonio Edwards, (Eds.), Cambridge University Press forthcoming (2012).
  • “And Zacchaeus Remained in the Tree: Reconciliation and Justice and The Truth and Reconciliation Commission”, Verbum et Ecclesia, 29(3), 2008.
  • “To Stand Where God Stands: Reflections on the Confession of Belhar after 25 Years”, Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae, July, 2008, Volumne XXXIV, No. 1.
  • “At the Heart of it All: Perspectives on the Struggle for the Relevance of the Reformed Tradition in South Africa”, NGTT, 51, Supplementum, Teologie 150+ en Calvyn 500, (key note at the Calvin, University of Stellenbosch, 2009).
  • “The Divine Favour of the Unworthy: When the fatherless jesus Meets the Black Messiah”, Hervormde Teologiese Studies/ Hervormde Theological Studies, Volume 67, No. 1, 2011
  • “’Founded on the Holy Bible’: A Bible-believing Judge and the Sin of Same- Sex Relationships”, Journal of Gender and Religion in Africa, Volume 17.2, December 2011
  • “Demons, Angels and the Ongoing Search for Reconciliation”, public lecture at Monash South Africa, May 7, 2012
  • “”The Time for Pious Words is Over’- Beyers Naudé: Decision, Courage and Conscience in the Struggle for Justice”, key note address at the conference, “Reformed Churches and the Struggle for Justice, Remembering 1960- 1990”, Stellenbosch, May 14-16, 2012 (to be published in special peer- reviewed edition of NGTT, 2012).

Forthcoming publications:

Radical Reconciliation, Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism, (with Curtiss Paul DeYoung, Maryknoll NY: Orbis Books, 2012

The Divine Favour of the Unworthy – Probing New Frontiers in Black Liberation Theology . (In progress)

Awards and Honours
Honorary Doctoral Degrees from:

  • Yale University, New Haven, Mass USA
  • Victoria University, Toronto, Canada
  • Warwick University, Warwick, England
  • Brooklyn College, of the City University of New York
  • Clark College, Atlanta, GA USA
  • Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA USA
  • The Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, GA, USA
  • Hope College, Holland, Michigan, USA
  • The University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  • The Union Medal, Union Theological Seminary, New York City, USA


  • The Black Congressional Caucus Human Rights Award, USA
  • The Human Rights Award of the Liberty Hill Foundation, California USA
  • The Honour Award from the Harvard University Foundation
  • The NAACP Image Awards: The Roy Wilkins Civil Rights Award
  • The Martin Luther King Jr., International Award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Martin Luther King Jr., Legacy Foundation
  • The Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award, SCLC, California
  • Award in Recognition of Contributions to the Struggle for Equal education, Academic Freedom and Justice, University of the District of Columbia.
  • The Thomas Merton Award from the Thomas Merton Society
  • The Georg Fritze Prize, the Evangelical Church in Germany
  • The Kaj Munk Award, the Church of Denmark
  • The King Hintsa Bravery Award from the Royal House of the Xhosa
  • The Andrew Murray/Desmond Tutu Medal for the publication Die Vlug van Gods Verbeelding, Stellenbosch: Sun Press, 2005



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