Wednesday 13 March 2019

Archbishop receives award for setting up trust to combat poverty

A British international affairs organisation has made an award to Archbishop Thabo Makgoba for his work in establishing a trust to combat poverty and promoting educational skills.

The FIRST organisation announced in London that it had given the "First Advocacy Award" to the Archbishop, recognising him for setting up the trust

"to address the key issues of poverty, inequality and unemployment which are persistent in South Africa and providing educational opportunities and nurturing skills and entrepreneurial talents that have enabled young people to prosper and, in prospering, benefit their local communities."

The award was accepted on the Archbishop's behalf at an event in London by the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon.

FIRST aims to enhance communications between leaders in industry, finance and government, worldwide and promote strategic dialogue. It also presents an Award for Responsible Capitalism.

Details of the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Development Trust >>

Details of the FIRST awards >>


Remarks on acceptance of the Award for Responsible Capitalism 2019

I am grateful to Archbishop Josiah for standing in for me tonight to receive this award. I am deeply grateful for the honour – thank you. Thanks also to those who serve South Africa in the UK, especially our High Commissioner, Ambassador Tambo, who I understand nominated me for this prestigious award. Although I do not feel deserving of the award, I humbly receive it on behalf of the many in South Africa and on our continent who suffer because these who should be speaking up are either silent or their voices are inaudible.

If you speak to the poorest of the poor on our continent, you are likely to hear that responsible capitalism is a contradiction in terms. The poor see, touch and smell economic development around them but their lot deteriorates daily. The poor suffer most from a lack of proper sanitation and potable water, from poor education and health services, from a lack of access to land and credit and from the effects of climate change. And they often lack the tools to articulate their hearts' desires and their longing for an economic order that is just and develops everyone.

Yet in my experience the poor are more welcoming, more generous, more forgiving and more resilient than those who have means. I like to think I have made some small contribution through my church, through a family development trust and through my involvement in what we call the courageous conversations programme, which brings together business leaders, trade unions, community leaders, faith leaders and government to wrestle together to find answers for the common good to our most burning economic and social issues.

Despite those efforts, I nevertheless feel I do not deserve the award and I have to repent the occasions on which I have walked past the poor and the suffering, immune to their plight and to the persistence of intergenerational poverty. I urge all of you gathered here, listening to Archbishop Josiah, to spare a thought for these people and to be inspired by the examples of those who established this award and by the efforts of those who have received it in the past.

Once again, thank you for the honour.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba
Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town

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