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South African Delegation Joins Demand for Abolition of Apartheid

August 2, 1985

NYBORG, Denmark (AP) _ South Africa’s four representatives joined other delegates at the 9th World Conference of the YMCA in declaring that apartheid is ″in conflict with the will of God.″

The resolution also called on South Africa’s white-minority regime to negotiate immediately with representative black leaders to end the state of emergency that went into effect July 21.

There was thunderous applause from the 425 delegates to the 83-nation conference when the measure was adopted after a brief debate with no one speaking against the proposal introduced by the Norwegians.

It was the first time the YMCA international movement, which has more than 23 million members, took a strong stand specifically against apartheid, and Simon Mthumkulu, one of two black South African delegates, called it ″a great victory.″

The resolution described any society built on racism and oppression as being ″in conflict with the will of God.″

In calling for the abolition of apartheid, South Africa’s official policy of racial separation, the delegates urged the South African government ″to initiate negotiations with representative black leaders immediately in order to achieve the expeditious repeal of the emergency regulations and to address the causes of further unrest.″

Danish anti-apartheid groups had criticized the presence of the South African delegation and said they would demonstrate outside the conference center if the South Africans failed to vote against apartheid.

At a news conference following the vote, the two white members of South Africa’s delegation did not speak, and questions were answered by the black South Africans.

Mthumkulu said he was confident the apartheid system would collapse within five years ″if all Christian brothers stand together against it.″

The resolution called on all national YMCAs to make the apartheid system ″a focus of their concern″ by demonstrating the incompatibility of the Christian faith and racial discrimination. The national YMCAs also were urged to demand that the governments of their countries put pressure on South Africa to end emergency rule and apartheid.

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