​History, Vision and Aims and of the Beyers Naudé Centre


The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology (BNC) was officially launched on the 21st of November 2002. The Centre was the brainchild of Professor Russel Botman. Botman, together with the rector of Stellenbosch University, Prof. Chris Brink, and former dean of the Faculty of Theology, Prof. Daniel Louw, visited Dr. Beyers Naudé and his wife, Ilse, in Johannesburg to ask for his permission that the Centre be named after him. For a few months, until he took up the position of vice-rector of the US, Botman served as the first director of the BNC. Prof. Botman was succeeded by the current director, Prof. Nico Koopman.



In his autobiography published in the nineties, Dr. Beyers Naudé identified four issues he wanted to pay attention to before the end of his life, namely

*expanding ecumenism;

* economic rights for all;

* fighting against corruption and

*unity and reconciliation.

He worked on these themes for some eight more years. Yet this work of Oom Bey is not finished. The Centre at Stellenbosch University named after him strives to cherish and reflect Oom Bey's vision and pursuits in his spirit, style and ethos and to humbly contribute to realising them in the context of our location as a centre within an academic institution.                                                                                                           Prof Nico Koopman and Prof Russel Botman in 2014 



In cooperation with local and international partners, BNC is involved with various programmes that are grouped under five main themes. These themes are (1) Human dignity and human rights, (2) Justice, peace and the integrity of creation in global contexts, (3) Faith and social identity, (4) Faith and science, (5) Responsible citizenship.

The BNC focuses on issues in all spheres of society, working in an interdisciplinary way, listening to the voices of both scholarly work and as well as the narratives from so-called grassroots level, adhering to an ecumenical approach, working on an inter-religious basis and drinking in insights of secular voices as well. An ethos of humility, cooperation, dialogue, frank deliberation and tolerance amidst a plurality of opinions and amidst conflicting positions guides the programmes of the BNC.



  1. Publications – the BNC offers four collections of publications, namely The Beyers Naudé Centre on Public Theology; The Dirkie Smit collection; Other publications and Joint publishing projects  (click here for the complete list of publications)
  2. Events –Annual Beyers Naudé Public Lecture and various other conferences and lectures, both at Stellenbosch and other centres
  3. Archive – The BNC is host to the following collections: The Ilse Naudé Collection (Beyers Naudé's sermons and lectures); Pro Veritate; Christian Institute; Ettienne de Villiers as well as collections in process: Russel Botman; Karl Barth; Bernard Lategan; Ben Marais and Denise Ackermann