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OBITUARY | He broke down apartheid walls and built a better ...

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OBITUARY | He broke down apartheid walls and built a better future for SA

Jaap Durand, once vice-rector of the University of the Western Cape and co-author of the ‘Belhar Confession’, has died aged 87

Chris Barron

Prof Jaap Durand, who has died in Stellenbosch at the age of 87, was an anti-apartheid theologian and legendary vice-rector of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) who helped to turn it from an apartheid bush college into a nonracial, world-class institution attracting leading academics and researchers, and top-performing students.

In 1982, a year after being appointed following an illustrious career as a professor of systematic theology at Stellenbosch University and UWC, Durand was thrown out of the (white) Dutch Reformed Church (DRC), where he was a minister, after he co-authored the Belhar Confession.

A culmination of everything he’d been saying and teaching for 20 years, it denounced apartheid as a heresy with no theological justification and rejected the claims of an “unjust and oppressive” government...

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