Dagbladet, Oslo, July 24th. 2006
Original article in Norwegian, printed in Dagbladet and presented on
the Oftebro website with permission of journalist Arvid Bryne
A hero has passed away
From Cape Town comes the message that Barry Streek
has passed away, 59 years old. For more than 20 years, until halfway
through the nineties, he was the permanent co-worker for (Norwegian
newspaper) Dagbladet in South Africa, and contributed strongly to this
newspaper having the best coverage of the development in the apartheid
In his own country he was a highly respected
political reporter in the liberal newspaper Cape Times. Covered by the
facade of a bourgeois behaviour he conducted an extensive illegal
activity by distributing help to the destitute persons among the black
population, who, according to the apartheid laws, were stowed together
in their terrible sheds in the so called townships. For long periods
most of the resources came from Norway, smuggled into the country by
priests and diplomats.
The priest was Trond Bakkevig, general secretary
in Mellomkirkelig Råd, and personal adviser for foreign ministers
Knut Frydenlund and Thorvald Stoltenberg. The diplomats were Knut
Vollebæk, later on foreign minister himself, and today ambassador in
USA, and Bjarne Lindstrøm. He was general consul in Cape Town before
he became almighty Secretary General in the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, and now ambassador in London.
According to laws and rules what these persons
did was both illegal and unacceptable, but in the struggle against
apartheid formal actions were not enough. Vollebæk, in the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, whitewashed governmental money before they were
transported to state church accounts. From such accounts Bakkevåg
brought the money in his pockets, or elsewhere on his body, to Lindstrøm
in South Africa. He forwarded the money to Streek.
I believe Norwegian International aid seldom
reached its target group with less loss than in these operations, says
Dean Bakkevig in Gamle Aker Kirke today. He believes that some 12
million Norwegian kroner found their way to worthy receivers in South
Africa this way.
Early one cold October morning in 1989 I
experienced myself how the aid was distributed to the receivers.
Before 7 o’clock in the morning between 30 and 40 people had
gathered in Barrys living room. Dressed in a big towel round his waist
he came directly from the shower to his decently dressed secretary and
the expectant crowd. He called out to his secretary how much each one
was to receive, and for what purpose the money was to be used.
And when the money had been received he announced
to the receivers that at the next crossroad they would be asked to
report how the money had been used.We kept the accounts and audited the accounts
Bakkevig assures today. Anyway, it is more than doubtful that the
Office of the Auditor would have accepted what happened and the way
the operations were carried out.
established the organisation “Social Change Assistance Group”
which was, and currently is one of the most effective relief work
organizations in South Africa. Last month the organization moved into
its own new house in Cape Town. Its official name is Barry Streek House”.
The name ceremony was the last joy of life that
Streek experienced, before his cancer disease chained him to his
Director Ian Barry Streek
(3-7-2-1-1) descended from (3-7) Berte Marie Oftebro Hojem. (Oftebro
family book p. 221)
pay tribute to Barry Streek
to 'good guy' Barry