former General-Secretary of the South African Council of Churches and before that Director of the Christian Institute
interview with Rupert Taylor, 4 February 2000
# 40 Elm Park Village, Suzanne Crescent, Northcliff, Johannesburg
Taylor: To tell you a bit more about the project… the main aim of the project is to look at a range of anti-apartheid NGOs, particularly those that have focussed on peace and conflict resolution, techniques, that were anti-apartheid but were committed to non-violence, and so it looks at - particularly in the 1980s - organizations like Idasa, the End Conscription Campaign, Nusas, the Centre for Conflict Resolution or Centre for Intergroup Studies - I had a very interesting talk with H.W. van der Merwe not too long ago and…
Beyers: In Cape Town, H.W. van der Merwe, yeah.
Taylor: Yeah, yeah. A very nice man, I really had a lovely talk with him. And the idea is really to, to present a story of the transition from apartheid to democracy that goes beyond the argument of someone like Allister Sparks or Patti Waldmeir - where they tend to look at the political figures like Mandela and de Klerk, and the leadership, and how that made the transition possible. But what I am trying to do, what we are trying to do with the project here is to argue that there are a whole range of groups and individuals in organizations that played a very fundamental role, particularly and what I’d like to talk to you about, in promoting non-racial democracy. And increasingly I think that it, without - many people I’ve talked to would agree, but some don’t - but without the impact of these organizations promoting non-racialism the transition would not have been possible. That it kind of created an environment in which the transition was possible. And what has been very very interesting actually is looking at the key people in these organizations - where they are now compared to where they were ten, fifteen years ago. I was in Pretoria, actually when was it, on Tuesday, and I interviewed Aziz Pahad in Union Buildings and I said to him did you ever imagine that you’d be… (laughs), and he said never, he said never. And again when I… about a month ago, Nhlanhla and I went and interviewed Father Makatshwa at the Department of Education, and I said did you ever imagine you’d be sitting here in Pretoria, in the Deputy Ministers Office? And he just burst out laughing, because then he remembered about kind of eight or nine years ago leading a demonstration march on that very building (laughs). So it’s an incredible transition, which… I mean, I have a series of questions which… and that kind of leads into… the first question I have really is that… I’ve managed to track down a number of interviews you’ve already done…
Taylor: …with people like Julie Frederikse, in particular.
Taylor: And also with June Goodwin…
Beyers: June Goodwin, yes.
Taylor: But I found one… it’s actually 18 years ago now, where Julie Frederikse interviewed you, it was in September 1982. At the very end she asks you whether or not you’re optimistic, and you conclude, this is what you say; ‘On the question of whether I believe that it will be happening in my lifetime’ - that is a non-racial democratic South Africa - ‘naturally one hopes that this will be the case, but if I have realistically to assess and analyze the situation it seems to me that it could take many many years, and that I personally don’t envisage the possibility of seeing this in my lifetime, except if I live to be a hundred’… (interruption for offer of tea or coffee)… So, you were saying that you didn’t see it in… the transition happening in your lifetime. Why do you think it happened sooner than you thought? I mean, why did it happen? Why do you think the transition happened earlier than you predicted or believed 18 years ago or even, or even in the heart of the 1980s, I mean..?
Beyers: Well, you know, I think there’s a number of reasons... I think there - are a number of reasons why it happened much sooner than any of us realized, the first reason is the internal role which Madiba (Mandela) had been playing, and the powerful influence of his life and his example on the whole community of South Africa, the second is the fact that F.W. de Klerk was… I mean, politically realistic enough to realize that things could not remain where they were, and with that… as a result that he, you know, he simply made himself available in order to promote the process of change.
Taylor: Yeah. Do you think he had a kind of leap in consciousness? do you think he had a moral conversion? What explains his own..?
Beyers: No, no. I don’t think he had a… I don’t think he had a moral conversion. I think it was, you know, he was politically astute enough to realize that that would happen.
Taylor: Right, he’s a pragmatic politician…
Beyers: But I do not, I’ve no right you know to judge his morality… but it doesn’t seem to me that that played a sign(ificant), you know, a vital and significant role. The political aspect played you know the key role in his life, in that. And that is how I see the situation.
Taylor: At what point did you become aware of the fact that Mandela was having negotiations with the government in the 1980s? I mean you had these meetings with…
Beyers: No, I was not aware of that, because his lawyer - Ismail Ayob and others - they naturally were busy behind the scenes, but I was not aware of that at all; until the announcement was made by de Klerk, you know, that he would be freed and you know all the banned organizations would be unbanned.
Taylor: But you were very much part of the process in other ways in promoting the idea of a constitutional negotiated settlement, by encouraging dialogue with the ANC.
Beyers: Oh yes. Oh yes, you see because when I was… when they elected me, you know, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches I had foreseen and long realized that it was absolutely essential that the South African Council of Churches should play a leading role in bringing about the political changes, all that, and that is why I also, you know, not only assisted but stood upon it and emphasized it that we had to go to Lusaka, and that we had to discuss every aspect of what was happening. And I didn’t realize whom we’ll all be meeting there, but from my viewpoint I felt it was, you know, this is a key responsibility which the churches have in order to promote not only the change, the political change, but the change in attitude, in outlook, which you know have to be made.
Taylor: When was the first time that you met the ANC? I mean, I guess it would have been on your travels to Europe or..?
Beyers: You say now individual members of the ANC? because the ANC is a body, you only met them, you know, in Lusaka.
Beyers: But individuals, I can’t recollect that; because you see so many of the members of the ANC never revealed their identity before us, and you could not expect… So in many cases I assumed that I would be meeting, you know, with members of the ANC without realizing that they were full members.
Taylor: So, the trips that you took to Lusaka, I mean how were they arranged? I mean, presumably you must have taken the initiative to contact the ANC?
Beyers: Oh these… oh no.
Taylor: You would have known key individuals within Lusaka…
Beyers: Yes. But no, but I mean… as General Secretary of the SACC there were enough you know also members of the ANC whom I contacted and asked you know that we urgently need to meet with the ANC officially, you know, in Lusaka. But that is where officially you know I met for instance Oliver Tambo and all of the others; that was the first time.
Taylor: And that was eighty-?
Beyers: That was eighty-, eighty-
Taylor: I mean you became General Secretary in what, ’84?
Beyers: …’84, no’85. Let me see, ’85… I’m not quite certain about that date.
Taylor: Right. It would have been the mid-eighties, the mid-eighties.
Beyers: Yeah, yeah.
Taylor: And how many visits did you have to the ANC? I mean, the SACC had a visit then, but you must have been to Lusaka on other occasions.
Beyers: Yes. But here was the SACC… had a tremendous standing there within the community because at that stage the SACC in many many respects took the lead in assisting you know all your people who were in suffering, and to support them as much as possible. So you know there was a real recognition within South Africa that the SACC was doing an excellent job in order to promote a change in South Africa.
Taylor: So when the SACC met the ANC in Lusaka the contents of this discussion would be about how one can advance democracy, how one can get international support for change - those would be the general issues that would be talked about?
Beyers: Well… We talked about a number of things. First of all, we asked them what would they propose us to do with regard to the churches in South Africa; you know at that stage we were only representing churches you know not other things, what should we do in order to promote that. And that was you know a very very important debate, discussion that we had in this regard. In which they indicated very clearly you know what they felt the churches could do in order to promote the whole process of change you know and I remember you know that one of them said ‘Look, in principle, we’re all against violence, all of us, but this system has forced us’, you know… (tea served) And they then, I remember so well that - I can’t remember who - explained and said ‘Look in principle, all of us are against violence and bloodshed, but the system has forced us, in order to turn to the armed struggle’, and they said the churches can do so much in order to promote a new outlook, you know, with regard to the armed struggle - not that the churches you know should publicly acknowledge the legitimacy of the armed struggle, but that they should understand and make it clear to the people concerned.
Taylor: The context, yeah.
Beyers: Yeah, yeah.
Taylor: I mean, because it seems to me that yeah, at the end of the day, the state was essentially criminalizing the very notion of non-racialism…
Taylor: More, that to the State non-racialism inherently had violent implications and that was an interpretation that was enforced by the State and not by the ANC…
Beyers: Yeah, Yeah.
Taylor: …And so it was a really… I think that was a constraining factor on not only on, well certainly on the language and the debates around… because it seems to me that - when even you go and look at political trials or the… an unacceptance by the State to recognize any legitimacy… that was not just to the armed struggle but to the non-racial position, I mean would you agree?
Beyers: Yeah, yeah.
Taylor: That the non-racial position actually seemed to be…
Beyers: Correct, yeah.
Taylor: And therefore the State tried to impose this label on the ANC as being ‘terrorist’…
Taylor: …were in actual fact trying to deny the real democratic non-racial strain within the movement.
Beyers: That is correct.
Taylor: And it was impossible for them, the State, to see that people within the ANC could actually be supporting it for non-violent reasons…
Taylor: …or if they did support the armed struggle it was a contextual understanding in the way that you talked about.
Beyers: Yeah, that is correct.
Taylor: So that, as you say, was a momentous meeting; the SACC meeting the ANC; I mean, it had an effect on the SACC, but do you think you had an effect on the ANC’s thinking? Because many people I’ve talked to have said that the relationship with the ANC was always a…
Beyers: You mean, the effect that it had on the SACC?
Taylor: Well, it had an… the debate had an important effect on… yeah.
Beyers: Oh yes. Oh very. You see there were many, some of them, you know members also, of the SACC whom in fact never revealed you know their membership or you know towards the ANC - which, I think you can’t blame them.
Taylor: Mmm. But did you know? did you know?
Beyers: Yeah (quietly), I mean some of them…
Taylor: Some of them you knew?
Beyers: Some of them, I knew - you know. And I realized that they could assist us in playing a very important role, you know, for the SACC - in order to promote you know not only in the political change in South Africa, but to promote you know a different outlook in South Africa, on the need that all of us you know would have to accept the fact that one day there would be a non-racial government - one day it was inevitable the majority of the people who would govern us would be black or not-white, and that we should co-operate with them, gladly and willingly cooperate with them in order to make this possible.
Taylor: What do you think is the best way of promoting… I mean, in the 1980s what was the most effective way of promoting non-racialism? I mean you could speak about it, but would people listen? I mean, my feeling is that for many people it had to be an experiential process.
Beyers: It is true, quite true. But you know there were, there was a small number of people who realized you know, who intellectually they realized this, and that they were maybe willing to make themselves available for that.
Taylor: And then I guess also for you… it must have been an important event; although I believe you also helped make it possible, was the Idasa trip to Dakar in 1987.
Beyers: Yes… You know, I’d think one person you know who played there a very important role was van Zyl Slabbert and who is that minister of religion?
Taylor: Alex Boraine.
Beyers: Alec Boraine, Alec Boraine. And you know they all you know… I mean, they, you know, they shared with us - with me also - the fact that this is what they were going to do, you know. And I, from my side you know, I gladly indicated to him and said ‘Whatever that it is that I could assist also in doing, to make this meeting possible’, you know I didn’t say it in so many words, but in my own thought you know I realized and I said if this could happen it could become the turning-point you know in the history of South Africa.
Taylor: And do you think it was?
Beyers: Oh, there’s no doubt about that. Oh yes. There’s no doubt about that.
Taylor: Yeah, many people I’ve… have said it was a very important event. I mean I’ve talked to many people who went. But surprisingly when I read… well Allister Sparks’s book or Patti Waldmeir’s book it maybe gets a… it’s hardly mentioned as a key event. I think that it’s been under-estimated so far. But when you say that you helped smooth the way, was there anything practically that you did to help make the event possible? You talked to people in Lusaka? or you talked to..? did you? Although you told Fredrik van Zyl Slabbert that you would help facilitate it, was there anything practical you did in that regard?
Beyers: No, there was nothing practical that I could do, you see.
Taylor: But you assured the ANC that this was a…
Beyers: But certainly, yeah.
Taylor: You said to the ANC that this was a serious… there’s no hidden agenda.
Beyers: Yeah. And oh the ANC I think that the ANC realized you know that this is a significant, a key you know experience which we’d be going through. And I still can’t quite understand why Allister did not deal with this in this way, one should ask him now.
Taylor: Yes, I’d like to.
Taylor: Because I mean… well, Kader Asmal said it was a profound experience politically and personally, and so did Aziz Pahad, so… I mean of the people I’ve talked to - you know, Pallo Jordan - they all said that it was a very important…
Beyers: Oh…You know, in mine personally, you know, my own life it was you know it was an experience which I shall never never, not forget, but I would you know I’d wish to say that it was an experience which has not only changed my life, but also… changed also my whole outlook on life and on what was happening, would be happening, here in South Africa.
Taylor: In what way, I mean..?
Beyers: In many many ways you know, in which I realized for instance the churches will have to do much more, in which I realized you know that the whole community in South Africa would have to do much more. And it also in which you know I constantly said to myself what are the Afrikaners going to do, how are they going to experience you know this vital fundamental political change which is going to take place. And I realized you know there would be a certain, well I would not say small, but I thought there would be a substantial group of Afrikaners who would oppose with their you know whole heart and mind every possibility of change.
Beyers: And I constantly, because of my love for the Afrikaner, you know, I’ve said this and I’m saying this again, I am an Afrikaner, I was born an Afrikaner, I don’t wish to be anything else but an Afrikaner…
Taylor: Not a South African?
Beyers: Well, in that sense yes, you know. That’s why I said OK I want to be an Afrikaner but in the first place you know we as Afrikaners must realize it, that we must be Africans - we are white Africans and we can make a contribution, certainly we can make a contribution. I personally believe we can make a meaningful contribution; but only you know if we accept the fact that we are white Africans and that we in that sense can make our contribution.
Taylor: I… through the Mayibuye Centre at the University of the Western Cape I got the record of the discussions at the meeting of the Dakar…
Taylor: …and you were quiet, purposely quiet? I guess you were sitting there taking it all in, seeing… because in many ways you were politically ahead of many of the people who went there in terms of knowing what the ANC was like…
Beyers: True, that’s true.
Taylor: …for many people like van Zyl Slabbert and Alex Boraine… many people I’ve talked to, the kind of people who went, said that the main impact on them was that it de-demonized the ANC, but you’d already - you’d already realized that…
Beyers: Oh, I knew that, I knew that.
Taylor: …years ago. So you sat back and then you made a point about how, although what you’ve said (now) I think is interesting - what you said at the time was that you, you said that you ‘were struck by the lack of understanding that came through from the Idasa delegation concerning the views of the ANC, there was also a lack of compassion for the sacrifices and suffering of the black community and the ANC’; so what you’re saying is relative, I mean the people who went there…
Taylor: …still had a long way to travel, but they’d started the journey.
Beyers: Correct, quite correct.
Beyers: Quite correct.
Taylor: And in Sechaba they had this lovely cartoon; I don’t know if you ever saw it? (Shows Beyers.) Which kind of puts Idasa in context, you know.
Beyers: Yeah, Heavy laughter…
Taylor: Here’s a huge lighthouse of the ANC, Idasa has a little torch…
Beyers: …yes, a torch… continuing laughter…
Taylor: …big business has a match.
Beyers: …yes, big business… continuing laughter… ‘Searching for the road to a non-racial…’ (reading cartoon caption)… laughter…
Taylor: It’s good isn’t it…
Beyers: Where did you get this?
Taylor: It’s from Sechaba, 1987 issue of Sechaba. But I mean… I guess it’s, I mean in many ways it’s pretty accurate, although…
Taylor: …I mean, yes it’s very interesting how… I mean I love the metaphor of light.
Taylor: Because of the way in which, you know, shining light on the future.
Beyers: …on the future.
Taylor: And… but I guess that, I don’t know, I mean it maybe… I think maybe the torch is too small? I don’t know. But I mean, because I think that Dakar, as an event, this is an argument I make in general; it wasn’t just the event - it was the ramifications and the implications. Like, some like Theuns Eloff came back and then got involved in more non-racial work in the church, even, and the Consultative Business Movement…
Beyers: Tremendous, you know. The effect… the long-term effect which it had you know, nobody could foresee that. I mean, if today you look back and you ask say what had been the effect… it was not only profound you know on individuals, but on a… how many organizations, you know, they have been deeply affected, they have changed and they have been forced to change their whole outlook.
Taylor: Yes, I think that’s very true… But, you’ve known Frederik van Zyl Slabbert for many years I think.
Beyers: Many years, yeah. Yeah.
Taylor: And you played, I mean before Dakar you’d also I think - because I interviewed him about a year ago, quite a long interview, and he told me that you also helped facilitate the PFP’s first meeting…
Beyers: That’s right.
Taylor: …in Lusaka.
Beyers: That is correct.
Taylor: And again that would just be assuring Lusaka that…
Taylor: …this is a genuine attempt to hear what the ANC was saying.
Beyers: That is correct, that is correct, yes (with knowing laugh).
Taylor: And did you play this role for many other people? smoothing the trip to meet the ANC.
Beyers: You mean van Zyl Slabbert?
Taylor: Well, you did it for Slabbert. But did you do it for other people, for other organizations? For… I mean, would people come and see you and say ‘I want to meet the ANC’ and you would…
Beyers: Oh yes. You know, there were quite a number of individuals who came to see me and I said to them ‘Look, whatever that is that you can do’, you know, ‘please promote this, it is absolutely essential for the future of South Africa that this should be done and that it should be promoted, and go ahead’, you know, ‘whatever you feel that you can do in that regard’, I didn’t say it in so many words but in my own thoughts you know I said to myself ‘every person and every individual or every group which could assist in promoting you know this fundamental change in South Africa, was making a contribution to a future South Africa where we could live in peace and in harmony.
Taylor: Mmm. How did you, how did you… how did you contact the ANC in the 1980s? I mean I talked to H.W. van der Merwe and he said he just picked-up the phone and talked to Tambo at the other end; other people said that they had all kinds of undercover ways of leaving notes in ‘dead-letter boxes’ or…
Beyers: Oh no, no - as far as the, you mean as far as the SACC is concerned?
Taylor: No… concerned in general, anyone who… for yourself.
Beyers: Oh no. There were so many members busy… with the UDF and so on. That for us, you know, it was very very easy to do that.
Taylor: Yes, so you would just tell somebody who you knew had a close link with the UDF?
Beyers: Yeah, yeah. No problem.
Taylor: So, if someone came, it sort of had… it wouldn’t be anything underhand.
Beyers: Yes, yes.
Taylor: So, generally in your… your relationship with the ANC was one of really mutual integrity, I suppose.
Taylor: That they respected what you were doing, and you respected what they were doing.
Taylor: That you would not join them for..?
Beyers: I, well I, you know I said you know right through the beginning, I make it clear to them, and I said you know, a minister of religion or a priest which has to serve the needs of all the members of his parish or his congregation is to be very careful not, you know, to be participating actively as a political person, because you could estrange so many people from you - for instance, a member, you know, of the ANC or of the PAC or any of the others… but I made it very very clear you know that I fully supported the principles, you know, of the ANC as enacted for instance you know in the Freedom Charter.
Beyers: I always stated that very very clearly.
Beyers: And I said you know, in fact, individually I said to persons, do we as churches realize what this means, the significance you know of this document, and that the churches in fact should be in the forefront to promote this whole vision, you know, of changing South Africa.
Taylor: One of the arguments that I’m keen to develop in what I’m doing here, is that organizations like the SACC, what they were doing is that they… not only were they promoting a vision of a non-racial democratic South Africa, they were actually practicing it.
Taylor: And by practicing it, they helped create it.
Beyers: That is… you are quite right. Yes.
Taylor: And you’ve always worked with that kind of vision? I mean this is what people talk about when they talk about your prophetic vision.
Beyers: Yeah, correct, yeah.
Taylor: You had this vision of the future that you attempted to realize in the present.
Beyers: Yeah, correct, correct.
Taylor: Would you have articulated it in the terms that I’m putting it, or would you have..?
Beyers: Yes. No, that is correct, what you say. Quite correct.
Taylor: And do you think… do you think there were many other organizations apart from the SACC, within the country, that were doing this at the time?
Beyers: The UDF was doing it.
Taylor: Yes, the UDF.
Beyers: But apart from the UDF, you know and the SACC, I know of no or other organization which did this.
Taylor: Catholic Bishops Conference maybe?
Beyers: Yes, yes. As far as the Catholic Bishops Conference they go, yes they certainly also played a very important role. So, I mean, I’m sorry I should of thought about that. But if you think, you know, apart from these three I cannot recollect.
Taylor: Because I mean both… organizations like the End Conscription Campaign and Nusas were affiliated to the UDF…
Beyers: Yeah, yeah.
Taylor: …but Black Sash wasn’t, so would Black Sash... where would they fit into your..?
Beyers: Well, you know, if you think of Sheena Duncan and of the others, you know Sheena Duncan played a very important role, I hope you will be able to…
Taylor: I’ve talked to her, yes.
Beyers: …I think it’s a… Sheena Duncan and the Black Sash they played you know a very very important role in bringing about you know a change in attitude and outlook amongst the women. And I think one should recognize that, because it’s important you know that it would be… certainly unfair you know not to indicate and strongly emphasize the role that the Black Sash had played.
Taylor: Actually yes, because Sheena Duncan told me that when Mandela was released in 1990 in that speech he gave at the City Hall in Cape Town he thanked both Black Sash and Nusas.
Beyers: That is correct, that is quite correct. That’s quite correct, but people may have forgotten it you know, but that’s what he did, yeah.
Taylor: You indicate your support for the ANC, but was there a point at which there were things you wouldn’t do for the ANC when it came to issues around the armed struggle and MK?
Beyers: I, you know, I made it very clear that in principle, you know, I’m a pacifist.
Beyers: And that it would not be possible for me you know for me to participate in the armed struggle, the armed struggle itself…
Taylor: You yourself wouldn’t participate, but would you support those who were? If, for example, someone came to your door who wanted to hide or to...
Beyers: Oh, I fully… I said to myself, I said I fully understand you know why they do it, I fully understand you know why they were forced to do it, and I recognized that, and I don’t condemn them in anyway, you know, for the fact that they’re doing this.
Taylor: Right… I guess, I don’t know, did you read..? OK, you read June Goodwin and Ben Shiff’s book (The Heart of Whiteness)? Where they have a whole chapter on you.
Beyers: Yeah, yeah.
Taylor: But they have a… they have something here (in this chapter) that’s very intriguing, and I don’t know if you want to respond to it?
Beyers: Most certainly.
Taylor: This is on page 207 of their book, it says here ‘The full story of Beyers Naudé’s activities in opposition to apartheid have yet to be told, says the journalist Jaques Pauw’ (read dramatically), and then it continues, ‘He played a major role in underground resistance, I think more so than most people realize’. Is that true?
Beyers: You want… Laughs.
Taylor: Is that true? Laughs.
Beyers: Laughs. You want me to say that that is true.
Taylor: Are you going to deny it?
Beyers: No, I’m not going to deny it. No, no, no. Laughs.
Taylor: OK, that’s good enough. I mean I had a very interesting interview with Horst Kleinschmidt who told me about all the kind of different ways that he would contact you…
Beyers: Yeah, yeah… those… yeah.
Taylor: …with regard to the IDAF. I guess those are things you don’t really want to talk about in detail?
Beyers: Well, you mean… Horst?
Taylor: Mmm. I mean the way in which you dealt with the IDAF.
Beyers: Oh no, no, no. Certainly, I don’t mind at all, you know; because so much has happened, and I hope - will you be able to see Horst in this regard?
Taylor: Yes, I’ve talked to him. Yes, I talked to him, I had - about six weeks ago - I had an hours interview with him in Braamfontein when he was still working with Mvula (Trust).
Beyers: No, no… as far as I’m concerned…
Taylor: He told me that he would move around from different telephone kiosks…
Beyers: Correct, that is quite true, yes (laughs).
Taylor: …and it was like a… and little things hidden away in tape-recorders…
Taylor: …and cassettes and...
Beyers: Yeah, yeah.
Taylor: I mean did you feel you were… like you were living in a spy movie at times?
Beyers: Well certainly… it was inevitable. You see it was the system which created this kind of attitude, you know. I mean, today when you think about that we all start to laugh…
Taylor: Yeah, but at the time it was…
Beyers: But at that stage it was very serious and very very important you know.
Beyers: And we simply had to do it.
Beyers: You know, that… because we, you know, we knew for instance that, I knew - you know - that my telephone was bugged, I knew - you know - that there would be… they would be listening in - you know - to everything that I would be saying then in the house, and I realized that you know the security police would be all around and trying to see what they could do in that regard. And from my viewpoint, you know, I just accepted it and said well that is inevitable, that’s part of the whole struggle that we have to go through, and I myself you know never felt in any way unhappy about the fact that I could participate in this, because I realized you know, and for myself I said, you know, this change has to come.
Beyers: Everything that anyone of us can do in order to promote that process, you know, we should encourage and we should you know do our very best to do that. And as far as the armed struggle was concerned I pointed out and I said you know I cannot in principle, I cannot support the armed struggle but I understand fully you know why ANC and individual members gave themselves… I fully understand it, you know, and I respect the fact that they had no choice you know in… but, in order to do that.
Taylor: Mmm, yes… How important do you think the role of the IDAF was? I mean it channeled in millions of pounds in various ways didn’t it?
Beyers: The role of the..?
Taylor: The International Defence and Aid Fund.
Taylor: Particularly… I mean, with you, in your regard it was in terms concerned with the - not so much with the legal defence programme, I assume - but more with the welfare programme?
Beyers: Well as far as I know… from what I know of that, IDAF, of the role that they played, they certainly played a very important role, as far as I now know, you know. I mean previously I didn’t know that.
Taylor: Yeah, they always seemed to be one step ahead of the State. I mean the way they channeled the money for legal support…
Beyers: Oh yes. Oh yes, there’s no doubt about that. There’s no doubt about that. I mean, the vision you know which they had in that regard, and I personally think you know that it was mostly due to the vision and the commitment of Horst Kleinschmidt, I don’t think of anybody else, I think he was… and that’s why you know I’m saying, you know, the full recognition of what Horst Kleinschmidt was doing, you know, everywhere, has never never been acknowledged.
Beyers: And I really, really hope, you know, that in some way, you know… because Horst is such a humble person.
Taylor: He’s had a long… I mean, you know, he’s had a commitment to changing South Africa right from his Nusas days through…
Taylor: …the Christian Institute…
Beyers: The Christian Institute, yes.
Taylor: …through the IDAF…
Taylor: …I mean it really is a life long commitment.
Beyers: And, you know, how many people in South Africa realize what Horst has been doing in that regard? And I really, you know I really hope that in someway, sometime, there will be the full recognition of the very important and significant role that he has played.
Taylor: But in many ways he couldn’t have done what he did without you.
Beyers: Yes, that is true. Certainly that is true, but from my viewpoint I would say you know that I gladly and I would very gladly, because I shared his vision, I gladly made myself available and said ‘Horst, whatever I could do please do not hesitate’.
Taylor: And that’s an interesting kind of… legacy is not necessarily the right, not, maybe not the right word… but it’s an interesting kind of consequence of the Christian Institute; that without the Christian Institute having… without that network already being pre-established it wouldn’t have been possible to do what you then did.
Beyers: Yeah. That is true. That is true.
Taylor: That’s an interesting angle, yeah.
Beyers: Yes that’s very true, very true (laughs).
Taylor: But you also had a major role with Scandinavian funders. I mean, I don’t know if you saw this (shows Sellström’s book)… well, the interview that you did for…
Beyers: Oh yes.
Taylor: …Tor Sellström, which I found quite interesting in terms of support from Nordic countries.
Taylor: Particularly from the Church of Sweden.
Beyers: Yes, but that (interview) is correct. I mean that, what you say there you know.
Taylor: Mmm. And again here you talk about, you talk about the way in which this had to be done, kind of undercover, never by mail, you never talked over the phone, you knew your phone was tapped.
Taylor: ‘And I knew that anything that I would send probably would be intercepted’, so you had to find other ways to do it.
Beyers: Quite correct. Quite correct.
Taylor: And in terms of the money that you got here, in terms of how it made an impact on the ground, I guess - consistent with everything that you’ve said and how you saw it - it would be, the money would be channeled to - well obviously to people in need who were part of the struggle and presumably regardless of political affiliation, I mean, I guess…
Beyers: Correct, correct.
Taylor: …you didn’t have to be ANC, you could be…
Beyers: Yeah, yeah.
Taylor: But also, I mean, I know for example that you helped provide some money for the setting-up of Planact.
Taylor: Through Mark Swilling.
Taylor: And other such exercises.
Taylor: Did you have a strategy in your mind here?
Beyers: The way in which we did it… well, perhaps I should start by saying you know, that right from the beginning I said to myself ‘Look Bey, there’s one temptation which you have to confront with, and that is thousands, thousands… it could be two or three million you know rand in that stage, well no not rand but as far as that is concerned, was entrusted to me, and the temptation was there, and very stressed, always a strong temptation that in some or other way you could use this great sum. And then I personally you know made this a matter of prayer.
Beyers: Because I then said: please help me God, never to use one cent which is due to be given for those the people in South Africa, never use one cent for yourself; if you need something go to the people and say this is what you need - but they should be fully aware of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and never behind their back. And I’m very grateful in that as far as I know… not a single cent was used by me for any other purpose than for that, and I’m very very grateful because I think that you know gave an integrity, that is why so many, you know, would be able to trust me - because they knew, you know, that I would certainly not wish to use that money for myself. I may be wrong, but that’s how it was.
Taylor: Were you not confronted by difficult decisions in terms of where the money should go? In terms of all the deserving..?
Beyers: Oh yes, yes. There were difficult decisions, but you see we had underground… we had different committees in different parts of the country, you know, in Cape Town, in the Eastern Province, in Natal, and in Johannesburg, and Pretoria, and I always asked them you know in that sense please you know let us see who are the people and the communities here which need that support, and that was, you know, that was the only way…
Taylor: So it was democratically decided within that context?
Beyers: In so far as it was possible for us to make that decision.
Beyers: And I’m not saying that there was not misuse which was made, you know. But I, as far as I know - deliberately or consciously, nobody you know took that money for themselves.
Taylor: And what do you think was the most important thing that was being funded at that time, in the mid-eighties, that was being given funding? What was the most important would you say?
Beyers: Oh it’s difficult to say this now, you know.
Taylor: I mean… well, the kind of things you were funding? What the main kind of things that you were funding?
Beyers: That’s very very difficult to…
Taylor: It would be wide-ranging? it would cover everything, from like helping to set-up a little NGO that…
Beyers: Yeah. NGO’s, yes.
Taylor: …would deal with people’s issues to helping people deal with personal problems because their husband or wife was in prison or, those kind of…
Beyers: Yeah. Correct, yeah. But it’s impossible for me to indicate that.
Taylor: And how important was the role of foreign funding? I mean many people I’ve talked to have said that it was crucial, that without it nothing could have happened.
Beyers: Oh yes, oh yes, no doubt, you know, without the support you know of that crucial amounts you know, I personally do not think it would have been possible to bring about the change in South Africa that we’ve talked about, it was not possible. Because, you know, I mean inside South Africa we could not find that money, where could we find it?
Beyers: And no one, you know, would be… No, there’s no doubt about it. The contribution you know which they made in this regard it has to be, I mean it has to a certain extent been recognized and been acknowledged, but there’s no doubt about this.
Taylor: And clearly, also, it was seen as a big problem to the apartheid State; with the Eloff Commission trying to control the funding and…
Beyers: Yes, control everything, yeah.
Taylor: …various other ways of trying to cut, cut-off funding that was received.
Beyers: Quite, quite correct.
Taylor: Was the SACC, in your view, ever in danger of being banned?
Beyers: Oh yes. I personally believe, you know, that if it had not been for the fact, you know, that there church leaders involved, you know, the government at that stage would not have hesitated, you know, in banning it.
Taylor: Also as a church body with international contacts, gave it a space and a legitimacy… that would call on international…
Beyers: Yeah, you know… they realized that there would be so much of an uproar that they would not be able to.
Beyers: I hope that you will be able to also meet George Bizos?
Taylor: I have, yes.
Beyers: And… you know to indicate also what he has done in this regard. Isn’t he writing a book now?
Taylor: He wrote, he published at Christmas time…
Beyers: No, but a new one?
Taylor: I think he’s doing a… yeah? He’s also… I’ve got, he had a huge memoir that he… a transcript with Tom Karis and Gail Gerhart - who I know you know.
Beyers: Yeah, yeah.
Taylor: And I’ve read that. Aubrey Lekwane and I had an interview with George Bizos about a year and a half ago, and it was a three hour interview, and so we had a, it was very fascinating, he really is an incredible…
Beyers: But you know… I do not know, you know, when his… because we met, George was here about three, three or four days ago. Because you know that I was ill and everyone to come to see me. And then, you know, he said he was busy completing this. And I mean I didn’t want to say what he said to me, but I think it was, it’s absolutely to my mind it’s you know a wonderful contribution which I believe you know is his new publication will be making in this regard.
Taylor: I mean, generally, how do you see the role of people who were working to contest apartheid through the law; I mean people like George Bizos, people like Arthur Chaskalson, the Legal Resources Centre…
Beyers: They all made, you know, they all made a contribution make no mistake about it. And especially in assisting us you know in getting this new Constitution; it’s a basic document. I mean, as far as I know there’s no other country in the world which has this kind of constitution, and it’s playing in that respect a very very important one. That also, that had to be done. You know, it is absolutely essential if you think about it.
Taylor: I mean, in terms of the constitutional negotiations, I know that you were included in the team that first met the government.
Beyers: That’s right.
Taylor: How did that come about? And were you surprised that you were in that team? Were you invited, were you..?
Beyers: I was invited, you know. I was invited, you know, by the ANC in order to participate in Cape Town. And you know from my viewpoint I didn’t expect to be invited, but when, I mean when they approached me and asked me you know whether I could be, you know… to participate - I said ‘Gladly, gladly I will; I will be privileged to do that’.
Taylor: I have two final questions… one is the issue of non-racialism, and I just wonder how strong an ideal, or how strong you felt the ideology - if one can call it an ideology - of non-racialism was in the 1980s? And to what extent, to what extent it was there, or as opposed to the extent to which one had to really struggle to build it. And in particular I’d be interested to hear your view; when one looks at non-racialism one often is aware very much of a disjuncture between a commitment to non-racialism and the practice. Now, I mean I think the Christian Institute was a very unusual organization because in it’s practice…
Taylor: …it attempted to recognize that one actually had to… whereas a lot of the other organizations that I’ve studied they talk about non-racialism but they had white leadership, they… and in practice it would be much more harder to realize. I just wondered what, the extent to which… you would identify non-racialism as maybe one of your guiding…
Beyers: Oh, there’s no doubt about that. To me it was one of the most important guiding principles in my life; because I said that whatever may happen, you know, if we as South African’s, if we are not able to deal with the problems, you know, and eventually, you know, as a non-racial community, our country would be destroyed, there’s no doubt about that. I’m not saying it was a prophetic vision which I had, but to me it was a key key principle that idea.
Taylor: How did you arrive at that outlook?
Beyers: I think it was, you know, part of my Christian faith. I think it was part of my Christian faith, you know, because I studied both the old and the new Testament; especially the new Testament. And, you know, from the viewpoint of Christ himself and the way you know the way in which he made himself available. I reflected upon this time and time again, until I realized that there’s no other way, you know, in which we can build not only a non-racial society, but a just society.
Beyers: A society you know based on the principles of justice and the way in which he has done it.
Taylor: And it would it be true to say that you commitment to non-racialism through your work in the Christian Institute and the SACC was very much affirmed in practice?
Beyers: Oh yes.
Taylor: And that just made it stronger and stronger?
Beyers: That is correct.
Taylor: What strikes me is that the 1980s was decade in which one saw this process happening in many individuals…
Taylor: …that they would, they would gradually move towards non-racialism and they would increasingly embrace it as they had more and more contact with the political realities of the country; not just the fact that the ANC was not a ‘terrorist’ organization, the fact that you know that there are not inherent or fundamental differences between so-called ‘races’ and so on, and that is was just a... And that without this momentum that was helped by all these organizations one couldn’t really probably have had the transition at all.
Beyers: I fully agree. I fully agree with that, I fully agree.
Taylor: My final question is the extent to which these organizations… I don’t know… I’ve showed this diagram to people, it’s part of the work that I’m… it’s work in progress, it’s work that I’ve been doing and you might find it… I don’t know what you might think of it but it conveys - although there are problems with the diagram - it conveys an attempt at what I’m trying to do in terms of trying to show and argue how there was a network. So, I don’t know what you’ll make of this, but it’s an attempt to show how organizations were connected.
Beyers: Oh, I’ve not seen this at all.
Taylor: No, I mean this is, this is… so, for example, here we have the SACC…
Taylor: …and we show how it’s connected to other organizations…
Taylor: …and it’s actually connected to all these around here.
Beyers: Gee, did you draw this?
Beyers: Oh that’s brilliant. That’s brilliant.
Taylor: And so here we have the mass based movements: UDF, Cosatu, ANC, SACP.
Beyers: Yeah, yo yo yo.
Taylor: And then we have Nusas, ECC, Five Freedoms Forum…
Beyers: My friend, congratulations in all this. Gee…
Taylor: And the idea is to show how, as a network, it interacted and had a dramatic…
Beyers: Wonderful, gee…
Taylor: I mean, my… the argument is that, you know, one can’t take the South African Council of Churches and say what was it’s effect…
Beyers: No, no.
Taylor: …you have to look at in relation to all these organizations…
Beyers: Quite correct, right.
Taylor: …and then also… it’s not only an individual effect, it had a relational effect, and then it had a transformative effect.
Beyers: I fully agree with this - but this is brilliant (referring to the diagram).
Taylor: Do you think so? But it leads a lot more work… I mean…
Beyers: Yes, I understand.
Taylor: …because I’m not quite sure how, I’m not quite sure… you know, the ones that I put in the middle here are ones that were concerned primarily with peace and conflict resolution techniques, whereas these (second circle) are organizations which were a bit more aligned to the ANC, a bit more politically aligned. But the argument is that, many people I’ve interviewed would agree - when I show them the diagram and I talk them through it - ‘Yeah there was this network, but at the time no we didn’t really see it like that, but looking back yes that’s how it operated’. And again it… for individuals that I’ve talked to; take a few examples, like Charles Nupen - started in Nusas and then went to Legal Resources Centre and then to IMSSA - so for many people their whole commit(ment), their whole struggle… has been from one organization to the other. Because it is (the diagram) the 1980s I haven’t got the Christian Institute in it, but one should actually look at in the seventies as well. But this is what I’m trying to do, is to show that there was a network…
Beyers: Gee, gee.
Taylor: And I was just interested to see the extent to which you were… you thought of it was a network in the 1980s. I mean you clearly were part of this network in a major way, but did you conceptualize it as a network?
Beyers: No, no. I never thought about it in that way you know.
Taylor: But if you look back now you can see it was like this..?
Beyers: Oh yes, yes. Yes. Now I can.
Taylor: And if you look back now in terms of the sociological importance of these organizations one can say that there role has been underestimated perhaps?
Taylor: And people have not necessarily seen how they came together in the way that we’ve been talking about.
Beyers: Yeah, that is correct. That is correct.
Taylor: Mmm… (Interview about to conclude, but Beyers insists that it continue.) There was actually one document that I found in the Mayibuye Centre - I thought it might interest you actually… (looks for ANC document).
Beyers: You’ve done a tremendous lot of research… I’m deeply impressed with what you’ve done.
Taylor: There’s a nice poster (hands poster for UDF meeting). Do you remember the meeting?
Beyers: Oh yeah, yeah (laughs). That’s right, that’s right… City Hall. Yeah, yeah.
Taylor: It just has a UDF speaker, un-named, you know.
Beyers: Un-named, yeah.
Taylor: But I mean, I think… it raises the interesting issue, because here you’re dealing about ‘Where to White Politics?’
Beyers: White politics.
Taylor: And to what extent did you see your role as trying to address the white community and to win them over to or to…
Beyers: Well, you know, let me just say you know, my love, my love is there for the white community because I realized you know that they in a certain sense, they were mis-led, and they were never told the truth, they were never given the opportunity in order to realize you know what was happening to them; and in that sense you know, well I can say I pitied them, you know. And therefore I felt it was absolutely essential you know that we help your whites.
Taylor: Conscientize, yeah.
Beyers: Conscientize them, and especially you know to realize you know that we should see ourselves as white Africans.
Beyers: As white Africans. And that we could make you know a contribution in this regard.
Taylor: And you also, I mean, I think you played an important role in… well it came a bit later, about ’86 ’87, in the Five Freedoms Forum.
Beyers: Yes, yeah.
Taylor: Where again that was the main focus of that organization…
Beyers: That is correct.
Taylor: Is it true to say that within the white community there were nonetheless a lot of progressive people?
Taylor: I mean, Nusas I think…
Taylor: How would you weigh up the role of Nusas? I mean the contribution of Nusas… I guess… I know that often Nusas people would come and talk to you and…
Beyers: You know, I think, I mean to my mind Nusas played a very important role in that regard, you know. And I’m very grateful you know for the role that they played in that regard. I’m really very grateful for that. So you know in that respect they, all of them you know, made a direct or an indirect contribution to the whole process of fundamental change here in South Africa.
Beyers: And I think it was important you know to realize that, and to acknowledge the fact that they also played that role. Otherwise you know you could just have the feeling that for instance in the black community - and I would understand that - they would say look as far as the whites were concerned you know, they really never made any meaningful contribution. And I think it was important you know to acknowledge the fact, yes there were individual whites and individual you know groups, white groups, which also made their contribution.
Taylor: Another issue I’d like to just touch on maybe, is Black Consciousness. I mean the Christian Institute was very important in that regard because it understood, it recognized the importance of Black Consciousness.
Beyers: Yeah. Oh yeah.
Taylor: But how important was Black Consciousness in terms of the legacy of Black Consciousness? in terms of its… Because let me tell you a story of another interview I did, I interviewed Mamphele Ramphela down at UCT, and she told me that Black Consciousness was not transformative… the intent of Black Consciousness was not pushed far enough, and therefore that explains in her mind why some of these organizations on the diagram that I have shown you are not as genuinely non-racial as they could have been; that with a greater commitment or a greater sense of pushing through the Black Consciousness programme one could have led to a greater sense of non-racialism because in a sense it played an important role in… I mean, one would argue that the important role that Black Consciousness played I guess is that it equalized, it tended to equalize the power relationships between blacks and whites and therefore make genuine non-racialism possible, and some organizations I think within the church - although it was a struggle - this was achieved to a very great extent, whereas in other organizations it wasn’t. I just wondered what your assessment, your views, on Black Consciousness would be today.
Beyers: Well, you know, I think that it’s important that we realize, you know, that Black Consciousness played a very significant role in bringing about change in South Africa. And we should acknowledge that, we should recognize that, and we should… from our viewpoint we should put this… put it in perspective, we should place it in the right perspective, you know, of the very very significant contribution which Black Consciousness made in order to bring about fundamental change in South Africa.
Taylor: Do you think Black Consciousness has been generally misunderstood by the white community?
Beyers: Oh yes, there’s no doubt about it. They, you know, I think the vast majority of the white community never understood you know the concept of Black Consciousness; why it was done, why - for instance - you know blacks were saying we should be on our own, stand on our own, I mean if you think for instance of Steve Biko, and you think of the others, you know. They never understood, they saw this as a threat you know to the white community and nothing else. And it’s a very very… it’s a great pity you know, because, I mean the contribution you know which they’ve made in this regard to my mind you know was also a crucial contribution in order to bring about change.
Taylor: Yeah, because to my mind Black Consciousness is - and the writings of Steve Biko tend to support this, I think - is totally compatible with a non-racial…
Beyers: Oh yeah.
Taylor: Whereas a lot of white… South African liberals would tend to argue that there’s a big split between liberalism and this kind of…
Beyers: Quite correct.
Taylor: What was you impression of Steve Biko as a person?
Beyers: Whistles… Steve Biko… Steve Biko could have become the president of a new South Africa. He was brilliant, not only was he intellectually brilliant, but his commitment. His contribution to people in suffering and need it is absolutely you know incredible.
Beyers: And I mean, you know, the impression which Steve made in my life was in many respects you know crucial in changing also my whole life, and making me understand what was happening. You know I had… whistles…
Taylor: I’ve heard the same story from people within Nusas as well that it, turned a stone.
Taylor: And I guess that leads to your views on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the extent to which issues like the Biko Affair have actually been dealt with properly.
Beyers: Yes. Quite right.
Taylor: I mean, I guess you would go along with the argument that… I don’t know, I don’t want to put words into your mouth… but my position would be that because the negotiations was compromised, the notion of justice was compromised.
Beyers: Yes, yes. That is correct. That’s true.
Taylor: But do you think the TRC, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, actually in other ways perhaps has had a positive impact?
Beyers: No, it has had a positive impact. I mean, we must recognize that immediately, that you know it has had a positive impact. But you know, without that (organizational network), you know the contribution of the others, it may not have been possible for the TRC to do what they did.
Taylor: Mmm. Well one of the questions I’d finally just like to… if I can find it (the ANC document)… is your… I guess this is you? I’m sure it is you (shows document and - indicates the initials ‘BN’ on the document). This is from the Mayibuye Centre archives, it’s a ‘Report of PC Meeting with BN’…
Beyers: That is correct.
Taylor: Yes, that’s you?
Taylor: And this would have been, I guess it’s in Lusaka ’89?
Beyers: That is correct, in Lusaka. Yeah, quite correct.
Taylor: And this was reporting on… there was a message from Mandela…
Taylor: …the Winnie Mandela crisis, and your up-com(ing), and at the time your visit that you were about to undertake to meet George Bush…
Beyers: That’s correct.
Taylor: …where you were getting (support for economic sanctions)…
Taylor: In your relationship with the ANC, I mean it would be true to say that it was a dialectical or inter-active process; that you were getting advice from them, they were getting advice from you?
Taylor: There was never a sense in your own mind that they were imposing..?
Beyers: No, no…
Taylor: That’s what I’ve heard from many people…
Beyers: …no, no...
Taylor: I think that’s the strength of the ANC, perhaps.
Beyers: …no it is simply not true.
Beyers: Anybody who says that, you know, is simply distorting the truth.
Taylor: No, I think the strength of the ANC was the way in which they encouraged dialogue, the way in which they…
Taylor: I mean even talking to people who were working for the ANC in organizations like the End Conscription Campaign, they were told to really…
Beyers: No, the ANC never imposed itself… It is absolut(ely)… anybody saying that you know is either you know, is talking…
Taylor: …National Party ideologue.
Taylor: Yeah, yeah. And I mean is this the … did you have many meetings of this nature with the ANC or not?
Beyers: Of them… not many, but we had quite, you know, I would say a few.
Taylor: A few?
Taylor: And would you characterize them as a kind of consultative meeting?
Beyers: Correct, correct.
Taylor: It’s interesting, I mean… what I have enjoyed about doing this project now is the extent to which people are happy to talk about what they were doing in the eighties; you know at the time you didn’t know or…
Taylor: It really is interesting because… you know within Nusas, within End Conscription Campaign people will tell you yes I joined the ANC in 1988 and this is what I did… But it’s also true because I mean they support in very much what you’re saying about there’s no real control and again when people… I mean, one point that’s come out time and time again is that when you talk about the ANC what do you mean? which ANC?
Taylor: Because you had Lusaka, you had the other Forward Areas, you had London… and sometimes maybe there would be a different relationship between them.
Beyers: Oh, but you know… I mean, I saw that you know whether you were talking to Lusaka or whatever the case may be, it was the ANC in it’s entirety, and we had to recognize the fact you know, because this is where the, the… it shows also to me, at that stage, the tremendous influence which the ANC had already built-up throughout these years.
Beyers: Wonderful… it’s…
Taylor: Remarkable… I mean, it’s a remarkable organization.
Beyers: It’s incredible, it’s incredible.
Taylor: A remarkable organization… I mean, your trip to meet Bush, would you say that was a successful meeting?
Beyers: I think so, yes. It was successful.
Taylor: I mean you were very well prepared for it and…
Beyers: I was very well prepared for it you know, and I personally you know made it very clear.
Taylor: I mean one person I know very well, I’ve actually written something with him, is Mark Orkin…
Taylor: …who did that important survey for you (on sanctions)…
Beyers: CASE, yes.
Taylor: And I think that was important because it challenged the government statistics that people like Lawrence Schlemmer and others were doing, so that was important… and that was funded by the SACC wasn’t it? This (CASE) survey.
Beyers: Yes, as far as I can recollect. Yes.
Taylor: So there again one can see the network of how…
Beyers: Yeah, exactly.
Taylor: …you would rely on maybe an organization like CASE to help your strategy. Looking back, I guess… I mean, what do you think was the most effective way of challenging apartheid? Many people find it a very difficult question I know, but…
Beyers: You’re asking, what is the most..?
Taylor: What was the most effective way… what brought about the end of apartheid, from a kind of sociological point of view? I guess it’s a multi-… many people would point to a multi-faceted answer.
Beyers: No, it is a multi-… You know, I do not think you can pin-point you know one specific detail in order to do that.
Taylor: Yeah, it would be… but within that it would be, maybe it was the amorphous reach and strength of the ANC that was crucial, because it didn’t just have one strategy, it had the international isolation, it had the armed struggle, it had the promotion of internal political resistance…
Beyers: Yeah… The way in which you know the ANC prepared itself you know, and in which the ANC had those contacts throughout the world, and which the ANC also you know… used to encourage you. I think you know that it was absolutely brilliant, brilliant.
Taylor: Mmm, yeah. And I’ll make it my final point… it’s an interesting debate, and particularly in academic writing now, is this debate of the relationship between the ANC and the UDF, and I’d be interested to know what you, what your views would be? Some people would argue that the UDF was set up by and under the direction and discipline of the ANC, other people would argue that no the UDF was actually - although it had links with the ANC was not really the ANC, internal ANC.
Beyers: Oh no. As far as I - as far as I know, there’s no doubt about it. You know, that the UDF was set up you know by the ANC, and played a very important role. And that was part also of the brilliant, the brilliance you know, of the ANC; you know, realizing that this was the way into which you had to operate. Oh no, there’s no doubt about that.
Taylor: Yeah, well I mean, I think it became a tricky issue I think for many people because of the way in which that was really one of the key aims of the Delmas treason trial - to show the connection.
Taylor: So, in court there was an attempt to try and say that there’s a…
Beyers: I can understand why in court you know they were saying that, but I mean if you look back on the facts themselves…
Taylor: Yeah. If you look at the January 8th Statements, if you look at the leaders there and who they were talking to…
Beyers: Yeah, there’s no doubt.
Taylor: No, I agree with you - but it’s an interesting… other people would take the other point of view, but there arguments are not really backed-up by the kind of knowledge that you have.
Taylor: So, well that’s very interesting. Well, thanks.
Beyers: Thank you very much.