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Running with Horses – Dr Allan Boesak

August 13, 2009 Leave a comment
The Book

The Book

The much awaited book by Dr Allan Boesak, Running with Hoerses – reflections of an accidental politicians, has finally been released.

Some of us have been waiting for the book out of curiosity since Dr Boesak, obviously out of bitterness and frustration, had threatened to reveal names of those who benefited from aid money which saw him do time in prison.

Dr Boesak whom his detractors will always see as a fraudster and a thief went to prison proclaiming innocence from charges of fraud and theft against him. He maintains this plea of innocence up to this day.

He feels betrayed by his former organisation, the ANC, whose leadership maintained an undignified silence through out his ordeal.

The books makes for interesting reading and is an eye-opener on the past third years that covers his life as an activist in the church and in public life. No holy cows are spared in Dr Boesak`s relentless pursuit of justice.

During these thirty years Dr Boesak was in the thick of things which among others included:

– the international isolation campaign of apartheid South Africa

– internal resistance which included the formation of the United Democratic Front

– the release of political prisoners and the unbanning of formations such as the ANC

– the dawn of democracy and freedom.

– his marginalisation at the hands of ANC leaders

UDF Logo

UDF Logo

The influnce of Dr Boesak by the philosophy of Black Conciousness and the readings of Black Theology are also dealt with in much detail in the book.

Of interest to many will obviously be how he deals with his conviction for fraud and theft charges which saw him spending time in prison. On this subject he puts aside a full chapter to deal at length with how donor funds were accounted for informed by political circumstances of the time which demanded that very little information be given away.

What however remains unanswered in the book, is who were the beneficiaries of donor funds which found their way into the coffers of Dr Boesak`s Foundation for Peace and Justice. What get is:

Assistance ranged from legal aid to emergency aid to continued funding for the new campaigns needed to combat the new oppresive situation caused by the state of mergency. Among those assisted were trade unions and community organisations, families and individuals.”

Still on this subject Dr Boesak goes on to write:

In order to persuade the court, had I testified, I would have had to call Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, Beyers Naude’ and Frank Chikane and many members of parliament who had administered or received monies for whatever reason in those dark and difficult days.”

Dr Allan Boesak

Dr Allan Boesak

Dr Boesak`s anger and bitterness is with the ANC which he feels let him him down by not speaking out in his defence even the party was privy how funds by the Foundation for Peace and Justice had been spent.

He is however grateful to former president Thabo Mbeki who granted him a pardon which saw his criminal slate being wiped clean.

Running with Horse is welcome addition to the body of literature on  South Africa`s struggle for liberation and deserves a place of honour and pride in every family`s bookshelf.

STOP PRESS! BOESAK`s MEMOIR OUT

August 11, 2009 Leave a comment
Dr Allan Boesak`s Memoir
Dr Allan Boesak`s Memoir

The long-awaited book by Dr Allan Boesak, now COPE member of the Western Cape provincial legislature, has eventually seen the light of day. Long waited because there have been hints that Dr Boesak would tell all about his indictment for allegedly misapropriating donor funding meant for the work of his Foundation for Peace and Justice.

The publication of the book : Running with Horses – reflections of an accidental politician was delayed after the former minister of finance Trevor Manuel registered his objection to claims in the book that his family benefited financially from Dr Boesak`s the Foundation for Peace and Justice. As a result of this intervention, a chapter in the book had to be re-written to accomodate Manuel`s objections.
Dr Boesak was sent to jail after he was found guilty of fraud and theft in a case related to donor funds to his Foundation for Peace and Justice which couldn`t be adequately be accounted for. He wouldn`t testify during the trial, but insisted all the time that funds donated to the Foundation had been used to assist organisations and individuals involved in the struggle against apartheid.
Former president Thabo Mbeki gave Dr Boesak a presidential pardon after his release from prison and his criminal slate was wipe clean.
The book is not devoted to Dr Boesak`s attempt to clear his name only, the bulk of it is devoted to his thirty years of activism in the church and public life.
I have just been gifted a copy that I am currently reading and intend to do a detailed review of the book. Running with Horses is an important addition to the literature of our most immediate past and will serve to deepen our understanding of the struggles which brought us democracy and freedom.