The Rev Nico Smith, a white pastor who challenged South Africa's apartheid system by moving with his wife into a black township in the 1980s, has died of a heart attack, one of his daughters said today. He was 81.
Smith collapsed while attending a friend's birthday party yesterday in Pretoria, and died before he could be taken to a hospital, said his eldest daughter, Marita Laubscher.
In the tumultuous '80s, Smith was one of a tiny handful of clerics who left the white Dutch Reformed Church, the largest denomination among the Afrikaners who then held political power, because of the church's refusal to actively oppose apartheid. Smith instead joined the denomination's black offspring.