Allan Aubrey Boesak was born in Kakamas, Northern Cape, South Africa in 1946, the second youngest of eight children. He grew up and finished high school in Somerset West, studied at the University of the Western Cape and received his PhD in Theology from the Protestant Theological University in Kampen, the Netherlands in 1976.
1976 also marks the Soweto Uprisings and Allan Boesak’s entry into public life in South Africa. Dr. Boesak served the church and the ecumenical movement in various senior capacities since 1978, including as President of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the first person from the global South and youngest ever to be elected into that position. Under his leadership this world body adopted the “apartheid is a heresy” declaration and suspended the two Dutch Reformed Churches from membership for their theological and moral support for and justification of the apartheid system. In 1983 Allan Boesak called for the formation of the United Democratic Front, which became the largest organised, non-racial, nonviolent anti-apartheid movement in the history of the country. Allan Boesak became its most visible leader and spokesperson until its closure by the ANC in 1991. Dr. Boesak is a preacher and teacher, and remains deeply and passionately involved in global struggles for human rights, social, economic and ecological justice, gender and sexual justice across the world.
Allan Boesak is the author of 20 books, co-author and editor of five. Allan Boesak’s 2005 Afrikaans work, Die Vlug van Gods Verbeelding, Bybelverhale van die Onderkant, (“The Flight of God’s Imagination: Biblical Narratives from the Underside”), received the Andrew Murray/Desmond Tutu Prize, South Africa’s highest award for theological publications. His most recent publication, Kairos, Crisis, and Global Apartheid, the Challenge for Prophetic Resistance, was published by Palgrave McMillan, 2015. Boesak is recipient of numerous awards including the Robert Kennedy Human Rights Award, the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award, and the King Hintsa Bravery Award from the Royal Xhosa House. He is also the recipient of fourteen honorary degrees from such institutions as Yale University, Morehouse College and the University of Geneva.
Dr. Boesak is the first holder of the Desmond Tutu Chair for Peace, Global Justice and Reconciliation Studies, and founding director of the Desmond Tutu Centre for Reconciliation and Global Justice at Christian Theological Seminary and Butler University in Indianapolis, Honorary Research fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Dean’s Research Associate, Faculty of Theology, Pretoria University.
Allan Boesak will give a keynote address on Monday night at the 2016 NEXT Church National Gathering in Atlanta!