Vale, Albert Nolan

Vale, Albert Nolan

Theologian, Catholic Priest, and anti-apartheid campaigner Albert Nolan passed away on Sunday 16 October. He was 88.

Born in Cape Town in 1934, Dennis Nolan worked as a bank clerk after he finished school. In 1954, he joined the Order of Preachers.

Taking the name Albert, he completed his studies for the priesthood at St. Nicholas Priory in Stellenbosch, near Cape Town. He later completed his doctoral studies in Rome at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Angelicum.

Fr Nolan was a member of the liberation movements, helping to provide logistical support and to provide transport and safe houses to activists working against the apartheid regime.

He became highly regarded for a 1976 book Jesus Before Christianity. The book has since been translated into at least nine languages.

In 1986, Fr Nolan was forced into hiding from the apartheid police. He was also instrumental in drafting the Kairos Document in mid-1985. He edited the document with Rev. Frank Chikane.

While in hiding in the late 1980s, Fr Nolan went on to write God in South Africa, which is the outcome of what he described as “doing theology in a particular context” and Jesus Today.

The South African government spokesperson Phumla Williams issued a statement of condolence after Fr Nolan’s passing.

“He was known for using the scriptures in the Bible to inspire and transform the lives of people and the world around them,” Ms Williams said.

“Father Nolan’s life’s work and dedication to our country can never be fully captured, and he will forever be remembered for his bravery, sacrifices and commitment to the struggle and to the people of South Africa.”

“He is truly an unsung hero who will forever remain in our hearts.”

Insights extends our condolences to Albert Nolan’s family and friends.


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