Michael Cassidy, founder and International Team Leader
of African Enterprise, has been involved in evangelism, teaching and
leadership ministries since 1962, the year he launched AE with a mission
to Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Since then, he has led many missions to cities throughout
Africa, as well as in other parts of the world, including Australia,
England, Canada, New Zealand, Belgium, Costa Rica, Israel, Nicaragua,
Ireland and Panama.
To further the accomplishment of AE's mission –
Evangelising the cities of Africa through Word and Deed in
partnership with the Church – he has established evangelistic
teams in Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda,
South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe and support offices in
Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland,
the United Kingdom and the United States.
Michael has been instrumental in calling several major
gatherings of church leaders, including the South African Congress
on Mission and Evangelism in Durban in 1973, the Pan African Christian
Leadership Assembly (PACLA) in Nairobi in 1976 and 1994 and the South
African Christian Leadership Assembly (sacla) in Pretoria in 1979.
In 1985, in the deepening polarisation of South African
society, he launched the National Initiative for Reconciliation. This
attracted church leaders of widely disparate denominations and races
for the purpose of reconciling with one another and implementing this
practice in their respective churches and communities. He was one
of the leaders of the historic National Conference of Church Leaders
at Rustenburg in 1990, and in 1993 chaired a Consultation on Human
Rights and Religious Freedom in Pietermaritzburg.
Last year, Michael addressed European Parliamentarians,
members of the diplomatic corps and officials of the European Commission
and NATO in Brussels, and spoke in 1995 in response to former Irish
President Mary Robinson at the United Nations 50th Anniversary Dinner
at Dublin Castle. In 1996, he addressed 300 Irish and Northern Irish
leaders at the United Prayer Breakfast in Dundalk, Ireland, speaking
on the need for ongoing reconciling dialogue.
He also addressed an assembly of Parliamentarians
and other leaders at the New Zealand Parliament House in Wellington
and to Uganda government and civic leaders in Kampala. In 1994, he
addressed President Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe government ministers
at the Presidential Prayer Breakfast in Harare, as well as the opening
session of the KwaZulu-Natal Parliament in Ulundi. In 1993 he was
a guest speaker at a meeting of Eastern European leaders at Windsor
Castle in England and in 1992 he addressed a gathering of British
Members of Parliament and Members of the House of Lords in Madam Speaker's
Lounge in the House of Commons. He has also been involved in South
Africa, particularly in the past several years, in behind-the-scenes
facilitation of initiatives which have brought together a wide spectrum
of political leadership in dialogue.
These efforts have been widely acknowledged as important
contributions to the miraculously peaceful South African election
in April 1994. In 1996, at the request of President Nelson Mandela,
he and other church leaders were deeply involved in spearheading Project
Ukuthula, an extensive and successful peace initiative in KwaZulu-Natal
in the run-up to the province's local government elections.
Michael has written many books including, A Witness
For Ever – The Dawning of Democracy in South Africa, which recounts
much of the work of some of the backstage players in the run-up to
South Africa's 1994 election, as well as a two-month devotional called
Michael Cassidy's Window on the Word. Some of his other books are:
The Politics of Love, The Passing Summer, Chasing the Wind, Bursting
the Wineskins, The Relationship Tangle and Where Are You Taking the
Since 2000, he has been broadcasting Daywatch, a weekly
Christian commentary on current issues on nine radio stations throughout
Michael was born in 1936 in Johannesburg and grew
up in Maseru, Basutholand (now Lesotho). He was educated in South
Africa at the Parktown School and at Michaelhouse School. He holds
a Master of Arts in Modern and Medieval Languages from Cambridge University
(1958) in England, a Bachelor of Divinity from Fuller Theological
Seminary in Pasadena, California (1963), and an honourary Doctor of
Humane Letters from Azusa Pacific University in southern California
(1993). In 1983 he was admitted to the Order of Simon of Cyrene, the
highest honour accorded a layman by the Church of the Province of
Southern Africa (Anglican). The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International
made him a Paul Harris Fellow and he received the St Michael's Award
from Michaelhouse School in 1997.
He and his wife, Carol, live in Hilton, near Pietermaritzburg
in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, and have two daughters,
one son and one grandson.
Michael Cassidy was "Born in Johannesburg and
educated at Cambridge University and Fuller Theological Seminary,
... has an international reputation as an evangelist and writer. Having
led African Enterprise for more than 37 years, Cassidy has organized
and coordinated numerous multi-racial reconciliation and peace initiatives
throughout South Africa. He has worked closely with major political
and church leaders to explore alternatives to violence and apartheid,
launching the first multi-denomination Church Congress in South Africa.
Cassidy organized the first Pan-African Christian Leadership Assembly
attended by leaders from 43 nations; held the first multi-racial Bridge
Building Encounter among youth leadership groups; and started the
South African National Initiative for Reconciliation, representing