Wednesday 29 April 2015

Archbishop Thabo on the national symbol of St George's Cathedral

In Cape Town, Pippa Hudson of the radio station Cape Talk interviewed the Archbishop on the role that St George's Cathedral played and continues to play in South Africa's democracy. The Cathedral has launched a campaign called Under One Roof to raise money to replace the tiles on its roof.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

"Hear the cries of the poor and marginalised"

Remarks prepared by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba for an Anti-Xenophobia Rally at the City Hall, Cape Town on April 22, 2015:

Thank you, Cosatu, for the initiative you have taken in bringing us together.

After the attacks of 2008 on migrants from other parts of Africa, we hoped that we had seen an end to xenophobic conflict in our country.

But more than five years on, the tension has erupted again.

People are dying again.

And now we are seeing the ominous threat of counter-attacks from people who say they can no longer sit and wait to be killed.

Today, we are here of course to condemn xenophobic attacks.

To say: Enough is enough!

To say: Cut it out!  This is not ubuntu!

To say: Foreigners are God's people too! All foreigners, not just those from Africa!

And we are here to express our condolences with the families of those who have been killed, and our sympathies with those who have been injured.

But we must go beyond that – way beyond that.

Firstly, we must condemn the irresponsible talk of those South Africans, whether leaders from public platforms or ordinary citizens on social media, who fan the flames of violence.

Secondly, we must go beyond condemnation.  We must come up with long-term solutions.

Monday 20 April 2015

Call for action against xenophobic violence

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has called on Anglicans and other people of faith to join acts of public witness this week against xenophobic violence.

He appealed to the people of Cape Town and Gauteng to join:

  • A service at 12 noon on Tuesday April 21 at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, and a silent vigil on the steps of the Cathedral at 1 pm, organised by the Western Cape Religious Leaders' forum;
  • A civil society anti-xenophobia rally at 6pm on Wednesday at the Cape Town City Hall, organised by Cosatu; 
  • A march in Johannesburg at 1pm on Thursday, beginning at the Peter Roos Park, Empire Road, and ending at Mary Fitzgerald Square in the city, arranged by the People’s Coalition Against Xenophobia & Friends.
  • A “One Million March Against Xenophobic Attacks” beginning at 9am on Friday April 24 at the Pretoria City Hall and ending at 11am at Union Buildings in Pretoria. The Archbishop will join Mrs Graça Machel, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Prof. Pitika Ntuli as a speaker.

“Please join me in your numbers,” he asked Anglicans and other South Africans.

“Please pray for an end to xenophobia and for tolerance. Let us be voices of reason, acknowledging the anxiety and desperation which leads to attacks on foreigners.

“Let us look at sustainable ways of removing the conditions which cause these attacks, and each commit ourselves to one act of witness to change the situation.

“We need not fear the future,” he concluded. “During the season of Easter, we celebrate that God in Christ Jesus has overcome sin and death. ”

After issuing a statement on the violence last week, the Archbishop planned this week to join high-level initiatives, including walks of witness against xenophobia in affected areas in Gauteng.

In meetings he held last week with clergy and their spouses, as well as directors and staff of Church children's homes, they shared with me the xenophobia they observed among people they ministered to – including learners and workers – and supported his call for tolerance.

Thursday 16 April 2015

'Foreigners are God's people too' - Archbishop Thabo

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town has added his voice to calls for an end to the current outbreak of xenophobic violence. 

He issued the following statement in Cape Town today. A slightly shorter audio version of the statement, sent to radio stations, follows below the text version:

After the attacks on African migrants in South Africa were ended in 2008, we hoped we had seen the end of xenophobic conflict in our country. 

But more than five years on, the tension has erupted again, people are dying again and now we are seeing the spectre of revenge attacks from migrants.

Foreigners are God's people too and deserve the dignity and protection we enjoy. This is not ubuntu, it is painful and deeply regrettable.

I join my colleagues in the churches and other religious leaders in calling for an end to the attacks, in calling for restraint on all sides and in sending our condolences to the families of those who have died.

Friday 10 April 2015

Archbishop Makgoba calls for "creative, society-wide" campaign for change

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba called on Friday for the energy behind campaigns for the removal of colonial and apartheid-era statues to be harnessed "into rigorous self-examination and action to expand the current campaigns into a creative, society-wide drive for real transformation."

He was responding in Cape Town to the removal of a statue of the British colonial politician and empire-builder, Cecil John Rhodes, from a central position on the campus of the University of Cape Town. Its removal followed a vigorous student-led campaign which became defined by its Twitter hashtag, #RhodesMustFall.

Archbishop Thabo said in a statement:

"The campaign against symbols of the injustice of our past, along with service delivery protests and public outrage over corruption, reflect the anger of South Africans at the inequalities that continue to plague us.

"From students to unemployed youth on the streets, from the middle-classes to women struggling to make ends meet in township homes, South Africans are tired of our collective failure to improve all our people's lives for the better.

"We must harness the energy being poured into protest into rigorous self-examination and action to expand the current campaigns into a creative, society-wide drive for real transformation.

"The churches, along with government, business and educational institutions, must all join this, the new struggle for equality of opportunity."

Sunday 5 April 2015

Listen to the Archbishop's Reflection for Easter 2015

Archbishop Thabo reflects on today's Gospel reading, Mark 16:1-8, after a quick survey of how each of the Gospel writers describes the scenes at Jesus' tomb after the Resurrection.

To the Laos – To the People of God, Easter 2015

Dear People of God

Alleluia, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

I wish you all a blessed Eastertide. This year I have recorded a short Reflection for Easter, particularly on the Gospel reading, Mark 16: 1-8, for our new audio ministry on SoundCloud: you can listen to it online, or download it to your computer or mobile device, here >> You can also read my message at the Easter Vigil at St. George's Cathedral, Cape Town here on the blog.

In a significant development in the life of our Church, we recently licensed the Revd Roger Cameron as the Chief Executive Officer of the Anglican Board of Education in Southern Africa (ABESA). I am exhilarated by this move because ABESA has the potential to reclaim the Church's role in education. I congratulate Roger on his appointment, and I urge you all to support and work with ABESA in its threefold objectives:

  • To support existing church schools,
  • To galvanize parish and community involvement, and
  • To establish high quality accessible Christian schools.

For this Ad Laos, I want to share with you my message to the clergy of the Diocese of Cape Town on the occasion of the Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday, during which we renewed our ordination vows:

Isaiah 61:1-9; Psalm 89:21-27; Luke 4:16-21

May I speak in the name of God, who anoints His only Son –  High Priest of the New Covenant – and gives us a share in His consecration that we might be faithful witnesses to His saving work.  Amen. 

It is wonderful to be amongst all of you at this Service of the Renewal of Vows.  It is a great joy indeed to see almost all clergy and retired clergy of this Diocese. I feel privileged that we are called together to share in His consecration and to be faithful witnesses to His saving power. And I really appreciate the privilege of being here with you all.

My heartfelt thanks to Bishop Garth for his support and outstanding leadership amongst us; to Chapter, kitchen cabinet, diocesan staff and to all, especially the Dean and Canon Precentor who did the preparatory work to make this service a success. We also acknowledge the presence of Bishop Christopher Gregorowski, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond and staff from Bishopscourt.

Saturday 4 April 2015

Sermon for the Easter Vigil – St George’s Cathedral Cape Town

Romans 6:3-11; Psalm 118:14-18; Mark 16:1-8

Alleluia, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia! Sisters and brothers in Christ, may all the fullness of Easter Resurrection life be yours!

It is a great joy to be sharing this Easter celebration with you in the mother church of the Diocese and Province. It is particularly special to be sharing with our Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who for me epitomizes in reality Julian of Norwich’s saying that “...all shall be well, and all manner of thing[s] shall be well.”

Mr Dean, your staff, licensed and unlicensed, the clergy, the wardens, the lay leaders of the Cathedral, those who conduct music and all your other ministries, including the office staff, the cleaners as well as the verger, thank you for all that you are and all that you do.

Everywhere I look, everywhere I go, there is a great anticipation about Easter. Unquestionably, Easter, and Holy Week leading up to Easter, are profoundly personal for Christians everywhere. But why do we celebrate Easter? What makes Easter so intensely important?