Archbishop Thabo Makgoba
Thabo Makgoba is the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa; metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Southern Africa; and chancellor of the University of the Western Cape. Like his predecessors, he has used his position to comment on current affairs, consistently championing human dignity and denouncing state and corporate greed and corruption. The youngest person ever to be elected archbishop of Cape Town, he recently chaired the Electoral Code of Conduct Observer Commission in South Africa’s 2019 national election.
Committed to a global ethic of neighborliness, Makgoba has pioneered the use of a Zulu and Xhosa practice called indaba—slow discussion of contro- versial matters, aimed at conflict resolution along with the advancement of community life more broadly—in the worldwide Anglican community. The archbishop is a vocal supporter of gay rights in South Africa. To critics who suggest that religion and politics should not be mixed, he has said, “God is God of all, or no God at all. ... When God says he wants righteousness and justice, he wants it to flow like a river for all.”
As a child, Makgoba, with his family, was relocated from Alexandra Township to Pimville, Soweto, in Johannesburg. He studied at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in educational psychology. He holds a diploma in theology from St. Paul’s College in Grahamstown, South Africa, and a doctorate in spirituality from the University of Cape Town. Prior to being elected archbishop of Cape Town, he was bishop of Queenstown and bishop of Grahamstown. In recent years, he has taught ethical leadership and stewardship at the University of Cape Town.
In 2008, Makgoba was awarded the Anglican Communion’s Cross of St Augustine. He chairs the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, participates on the boards of multiple nongovernmental and religious organizations, and is the author of numerous articles and books, including Faith and Courage: Praying with Mandela.
Audio and transcript of Thabo Makgoba’s talk, “A New Dawn: Reflections on South Africa’s Democracy.”