oa Africa Insight - Profile - Nico Smith

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



""I am a pragmatist who believes that people should be brought together,"" says Dr Nico Smith, a courageous man who sacrificed a promising academic career at the University of Stellenbosch to work in a black parish in Mamelodi, near Pretoria, as an ordinary clergyman. He has dedicated his life to reconciling white with black in South Africa. ""I am not without hope,"" he says. ""As long as I can bring people together to talk to each other there is hope. It is still possible for whites and blacks to find each other. "" Smith points out that the Nationalist government created four worlds within South Africa in 1948. This, he says, was a very dangerous thing to do because black people were forced out of whites' lives to become labour units. ""During the day they are physically part of the white environment, but at the same time they are not seen as part of the society.""

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