Michael Cassidy is the founder of Africa Enterprise, a multiracial ministry emphasizing evangelism, reconciliation, and social change. Since 1962, he has worked to bring together black and white leaders in southern Africa “to find lasting answers for our society.” He spoke with CHRISTIANITY TODAY during a recent visit to the United States, and offered the following insights on his native country.
• On new South African President F. W. de Klerk: De Klerk, who has a more friendly manner than [past president] P. W. Botha, has generated some new feelings of hope. In the run up to the election, he indulged in some very strong reformist language. The question is whether this was purely pre-election rhetoric or whether there is going to be a genuine delivery of the goods, which the country needs right now. Undoubtedly he has a realization, maybe beyond what Botha had, of the seriousness of the present state of affairs and of the fact that the situation cannot be coped with by more suppression and force.
• On the antiapartheid marches in mid-September: It was an act of political realism when [de Klerk] allowed these marches to take place. By doing so, he is recognizing validity in the protests. It’s not just a bunch of agitators [marching]; the whole nation is genuinely anxious about what is happening and deeply concerned to prevent us as a nation going over the precipice.
• On the future of apartheid: The process of dismantling apartheid is now irrevocable. One way or another it’s going to be sweeping and total, either by cooperation of the government in the process of unwinding apartheid, or by irresistible pressures that force all the leading players to the conference table, or by revolutionary upheaval.
I am a little more hopeful ...1
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