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Michael Cassidy

A Witness For Ever

The Dawning of Democracy in South Africa – Stories Behind the Story

Michael Cassidy reveals for the first time what went on behind the scenes, away from the dramatic headlines, as South Africa inched its way towards the momentous election.

On 26th April the polls opened for South Africa's first democratic election. While thousands of South Africans of every shade and creed queued patiently outside the polling stations, the rest of the world held its breath. Would the fragile peace prevail?

Michael Cassidy reveals for the first time what went on behind the scenes, away from the dramatic headlines, as South Africa inched its way towards the momentous election. A plane with a faulty dial, a prayer meeting with 30,000 people, a Kenyan diplomat, Christian leaders working backstage -- all played a part in what newspapers worldwide hailed as a miracle.

Describing the unbearable suspense as the situation teetered on the brink of disaster and the sheer joy when a solution was reached just six days before the elections, Michael Cassidy maintains that, whatever the future holds for South Africa, the extraordinary events leading up to April 1994 do indeed deserve to held up as a witness for ever to the power of God.

Get this book and learn the first-hand account of the miracles that led to a peaceful end of apartheid in South Africa

Michael Cassidy is a Christian leader, and the Founder of African Enterprise. He is an evangelist, teacher, preacher, and author. In 2012 he was made the Honorary Chairman of the Lausanne Movement for World Evangelisation, succeeding the late John Stott, and was also made the Distinguished Alumnus of the year at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from Azusa Pacific University. In 1969 Michael met Carol Bam during a mission to the University of Cape Town. They got engaged and married in December 1969 and have been happily married ever since. They have three children: Catherine, Deborah and Martin; and eight grandchildren.

Michael was born in Johannesburg in 1936, and grew up in Lesotho with his parents and two sisters. He spent his school years at boarding school in South Africa, and went on to study Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge University. As a student Michael’s friend, Robert Footner, led him in making a commitment on 23 October 1955 to follow Christ. Over the next two years Robert met with Michael every week to disciple and encourage him in his new-found faith.

In 1957 Michael felt the Lord calling him to city evangelism in Africa. After finishing his studies at Cambridge, Michael completed a Bachelor of Divinity in 1963 at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. It was in 1961, while still at Fuller, that Michael launched the African Enterprise (AE) ministry with the support of Charles Fuller, Founder of Fuller Seminary, plus a few other student friends. He returned to South Africa in 1964 with a small team to focus full-time on carrying out African Enterprise’s calling to evangelism in the cities of Africa.

Michael has remained strongly committed not only to evangelism and reaching the cities and leadership of Africa, but also to social justice and reconciliation. He was privileged to play a significant role in facilitating backstage negotiations which helped South Africa through to its first democratic elections in 1994 at a time when the nation was on the verge of civil war.

Michael and African Enterprise have sought to be a unifying force among Christians by spearheading the largest Christian interdenominational leadership gatherings in Africa over the last fifty years. These gatherings included the South African Congress on Mission and Evangelism in Durban (1973); the Pan African Christian Leadership Assembly (PACLA) in Nairobi (1976 and 1994); the South African Christian Leadership Assembly (SACLA) in Pretoria (1979 and 2003); the National Initiative for Reconciliation (NIR) in Pietermaritzburg (1985); and the National Initiative for the Reformation of South Africa (NIRSA) in Pretoria (2008). Michael also led and chaired the Marriage Alliance of South Africa.

In a country which for many years was beset by anarchy in the African townships and uncontrolled violence, it was gratifying to note that the days leading towards its final liberation were characterised by the creation of ordered and stable conditions. The political leaders of South Africa had finally realised that there can be no true justice without order, that is genuine order, not the kind of repressive violence of so many years of apartheid rule. And it is therefore for these reasons and because of the extraordinary story it tells that I warmly commend A Witness For Ever to the reading public. –Professor Washington A. J. Okumu

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