Alternate Names: Working Group Kairos, Stichting Kairos
Location: Utrecht, Netherlands
Duration: 1970 - 2004
Werkgroep Kairos (Working Group Kairos or Kairos study group), an anti-apartheid organization based on Christian principles, was established in 1970 by Cor Groenendijk, who subsequently became the organization's chairman. It was renamed Stichting Kairos (Kairos Foundation), date unknown. J. Verkuyl and Erik van den Bergh held influential positions...
Werkgroep Kairos (Working Group Kairos or Kairos study group), an anti-apartheid organization based on Christian principles, was established in 1970 by Cor Groenendijk, who subsequently became the organization's chairman. It was renamed Stichting Kairos (Kairos Foundation), date unknown. J. Verkuyl and Erik van den Bergh held influential positions in the organization. Originally Kairos was a support organization for the Christian Institute that Beyers Naudé had established inside South Africa in 1963. Kairos became one of the three largest anti-apartheid organizations in the Netherlands. It worked with the AABN (Anti-Apartheids Beweging Nederland or Anti-Apartheid Movement Netherlands) and the KZA (Komitee Zuidelijk Africa or Southern Africa Committee) to pressure the government and corporate industry in the 1970s and 1980s. Kairos advocated a program of disinvestment from South Africa, as advocated by the World Council of Churches in 1972. A particular focus was a Shell and Kairos was active in the international campaign to boycott the oil company. From 1973, Kairos representatives authorized by shareholders such as churches and monastic orders attended the Koninklijke Shell shareholders meeting every year to urge the company to leave South Africa. Following the proclamation of an oil embargo by the UN General Assembly in 1975, this cause became a focal plan of action for Kairos. In 1980 Kairos and the KZA founded the Shipping Research Bureau, which tracked international oil transports to call attention to any supplies bound for South Africa. Other campaigns were aimed at forced removals, detentions, torture in detention, the death sentence, children, conscription and the activities of the security forces. Kairos' work was supported by many of the Dutch churches and there was co-operation from church circles in Southern Africa. Extensive contacts were made with black South African clerics studying in the Netherlands. Kairos mobilized attention on the disempowered and influenced public opinion through campaigns and publications. Through Kairos, many South African organizations channeled information to international organizations and the media. From 1996-1997, Kairos researched the assault and torture of political prisoners in the 1960s and 1970s for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. After the end of apartheid in South Africa and the first democratic elections in 1994, Kairos focused on rebuilding. Kairos largely ceased activities in 2002 and completely closed 2004.
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