Tuesday 23 February 2021

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba pleads for the people of Tigray, Ethiopia

Tens of thousands have been displaced in the Tigray region. (Photo: WFP/Leni Kinzli)

The plight of the Tigrayan people in northern Ethiopia tears at my heart. Over and above the coronavirus which threatens us all in Africa, tens of thousands of people in the region have been forced from their homes, millions need humanitarian aid and there are shocking reports of war crimes in the form of attacks against civilians. 

Opposition parties allege thousands have died since the federal government in Addis Ababa sent troops into the province against the regional government controlled by the Tigray People's Liberation Front just over three months ago. The Ethiopian Red Cross has reported that more than half of the region's six million people need humanitarian assistance, but it doesn't have the capacity or resources to reach 80 percent of them. Human Rights Watch has accused federal troops of  indiscriminate shelling of urban areas, striking homes, hospitals, schools, and markets, killing at least 83 civilians, including children, and wounding over 300.

The level of ethnic hatred which has emerged on social media around this conflict is deeply disturbing. A quarter of a century ago, the genocide in Rwanda occurred under our noses, with the world failing to stop it. What is happening in Tigray must not be allowed to deteriorate even further.

South African faith groups and civil society lobbies should press our government not only to step in to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, but to act more decisively in bringing pressure to bear on the African Union and all parties in Ethiopia.

Access should be allowed to all parts of Tigray to enable aid to flow. Journalists and independent human rights experts need to be allowed in. Foreign troops should leave Ethiopian soil and the tensions between Sudan and Addis Ababa defused. And the Ethiopian people need to sit down with one another and work out a broadly acceptable resolution which balances regional autonomy and federal power.

Pray for justice and peace for the people of Tigray and all of Ethiopia, and for the people of Sudan and Eritrea. 

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town

An interview on Tigray with Newzroom Afrika:

Sunday 21 February 2021

A Homily for Ash Wednesday

Preached at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, on Wednesday February 17, 2021:

Readings: Isaiah 58:1-12, Psalm 51:1-17, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

May I speak in the name of God, who is Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Amen.

Every year, Ash Wednesday and Lent give us the opportunity to re-consider our dependence on God’s grace in transforming our lives for the better. This year our lives have been turned upside down so much that it is hard to focus on what it means to work to transform our lives for the better, other than praying for a quick roll-out of coronavirus vaccines. I am glad that the roll-out has started today in the country. 

Monday 8 February 2021

ACSA wishes King Zwelithini a speedy recovery

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has wished King Zwelithini of the Zulu nation a speedy recovery after his hospitalisation in an intensive care unit.

Monday 1 February 2021

For the record: Interview with Anglican Journal, Canada

 ‘We can name the evil that is racism’: A conversation with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

The struggle against anti-Black racism is a common thread in the history of North America and South Africa. During the apartheid era, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa played a major role in supporting the movement to end the official system of racial discrimination. While apartheid officially ended three decades ago, racism continues to plague South Africa today alongside persistent economic and social inequality.