Monday 28 August 2023

A message on the 95th birthday of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi OSC

On behalf of my family, the bishops and all Anglican parishioners, I wish to say 'Happy birthday, Shenge, Sokalisa, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi OSC.

He turned 95 years old yesterday and I was able to join his family and staff in hospital for Communion and sing birthday wishes. Blessings to the Prince and his family at this time. We know that he is old and blessed with long life, we wish him health and strength and at the apt time healing.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

Monday 21 August 2023

Ad Laos - To the People of God – August 2023

The text of Archbishop Thabo's August Ad Laos, published in the Cape Town diocesan newsletter, Good Hope:

When the taxi strike paralysed much of Cape Town this month, religious leaders joined forces to intervene both with city authorities and the taxi industry in order, as I said in St George's Cathedral on Women's Day, ”to give the people of the city a light and a path that will lead to a possible solution.” The relatively quick end to the immediate crisis a day later was encouraging, but we still have a long way to go before Cape Town's transport situation stabilizes. Our condolences go to the families of those who died in the violence which the strike prompted, and please continue to pray for a long-term solution to the situation.

Within the church in the Western Cape, we have suffered significant bereavements in recent months, with the deaths of the Revd Canon Karl Groepe, formerly Dean of Studies in the Diocese of Cape Town, the Revd Marcus Slingers of the Cathedral, and the Revd Canon John Suggit (at the age of 101). Our condolences go to the Groepe, Slingers and Suggit families. As the long life of John Suggit reminds us, we are a Eucharistic community, doing all “in remembrance of Him.” As I said at his funeral, people not familiar with a Eucharistic theology and spirituality were powerfully moved by John's conviction of the centrality of the Eucharist to our faith, and of the potential which this act of worship offers for the transformation of the world. (You can find the sermon on my blog>> )

Whether we are consoling the bereaved, comforting the suffering, or calling on the City of Cape Town and the taxi bosses in Santaco to “press the pause button” and explore peaceful alternatives to their impasse, we do all in remembrance of the Prince of Peace, who said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27). At the centre of the Eucharist, or Thanksgiving, is an attitude of gratitude. We are grateful for the relative peace that pervades our country as a whole, in spite of all the hardships and inequality, and we pray for Niger and other countries in turmoil.

Pray also particularly for Eswatini and our sisters and brothers there as they prepare for elections in August and September, and then begin a National Dialogue on their future. Anglicans are expressing the wish that the country's Elections and Boundaries Commission will facilitate a free and fair election which, with the dialogue, will usher in a peaceful era for the nation. And in our neighbouring Anglican province of Central Africa, pray for the people of Zimbabwe as they too go to the polls.

The Church of the Holy Spirit, Kirstenhof, has recently dedicated their Life Centre. We are proud of them for this step forward. On that note, thanks to Bishops School for the recent musical they staged to raise funds for Eluvukweni Anglican Church in Crossroads. Please, parishioners of the Diocese of Cape Town, do help me and the parishioners of Crossroads to build a church and Early Childhood Development Centre to enable them to minister to and educate their community more effectively.

I ask for your prayers for next month's meetings of the Synod of Bishops and Provincial Standing Committee, during which bishops, clergy and lay representatives from our dioceses in Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, St Helena and South Africa will gather virtually. You can see what will be discussed and decided upon by looking up the PSC Agenda on the provincial website >>

Finally, our warm congratulations to Bishop Eddie Daniels of the Diocese of Port Elizabeth on being named a Sub-Prelate of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, and to Canon Andrew Hunter, the former Dean of Grahamstown, who retired in Cape Town recently and who has now been named Dean Emeritus of the Diocese of Grahamstown.

God bless,

†† Thabo Cape Town

Sunday 20 August 2023

Upon the 40th anniversary of the founding of the United Democratic Front

The text of an address prepared for the 40th anniversary celebration of the founding of the United Democratic Front, held in Johannesburg:

Programme Directors, Mr President, Friends, Colleagues, former comrades in the struggle, fellow South Africans, and all who hold the freedom of this country close to their hearts:

Greetings to you from Cape Town. Apologies for not being with you in person. It's of course a working day for me, and the factory in which we build hope is particularly busy on a Sunday -- today I was at the Tutu family's current parish, St Oswald's Church in Milnerton.

Celebrations are about, or ought to be about, looking at where we come from, where we are today and what we want to become in the future. My input will attempt to follow that format, ending with seeking hope for the future.

Until today 40 years ago, I was a relatively quiet, science student who enjoyed tennis and squash and fun at varsity. Then I joined my fellow Wits students and came from Johannesburg on a bus to Cape Town, where at the Rocklands Civic Centre in Mitchells Plain, the formation of the UDF was not only about our political freedom, but became a critical part of my own conscientisation. Every kilometre in that bus was fraught with tension, the possibility of arrest, of being turned back and becoming subject to the range of persecutory tricks that the government of the day used to attempt to smother the flames of freedom which burned in our hearts.

Nothing had prepared us for the dynamism, the energy, the revolutionary power that emerged from that gathering in Rocklands. Seeing and being in close proximity to the iconic figures who had inspired us for years, and drawing from their courage in what was a very dark hour in the apartheid dispensation, was what I can only describe as a touch of God. And nothing prepared me for the oratory, the insights, the spirituality and sound theology of Dr Boesak’s famous “three little words” speech. Many of you will remember it, when in that inspiring rhetoric, he spoke of the rights we were demanding. He told us that we didn't have to have a vast vocabulary to understand them. We didn't need a philosophical bent to grasp them. No, his message was simple, he declared: We wanted ALL our rights, and we wanted them HERE and we wanted them NOW. In response to his speech, the chant that Capetonians came to know so well went up: BOESAK! BOESAK! BOESAK!

His words stirred my heart. In the chemistry of that moment, I knew in my own inner being that my service to the nation would be through the heart of the church but indelibly linked to the work of changing the course of this country’s history; as Luke says in his gospel, of raising those bowed down, providing food, and the necessities for a dignified life, to those who hunger; and of unmasking those who cannot see from every blindness and prejudice that that bars the way to freedom.

His speech gave me goose bumps and indeed transformed my lukewarm student politics into a deeper activism within the Release Mandela Campaign and in establishing contact with cadres in Zimbabwe. It fired me up, and the fact that Allan Boesak was a cleric helped enable me to work within the leadership of the Anglican student movement. Eighteen months later, when the UDF hosted a celebration of Desmond Tutu's Nobel Peace Prize in Jabulani Stadium, I joined a delegation of the Wits Black Students' Society, and in our yellow T-shirts, we toyi-toyi-ed as we chanted the praises of Albertina Sisulu, Madiba and OR Tambo. Again, seeing Desmond Tutu shining out amid the crowd in his long purple cassock, I realised the relevance of the church in the midst of pain and struggle, and the presence of Helen Joseph and Frank Chikane on the platform underlined the point.

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to say that I am a child of the UDF, part of its undeniable, unquenchable legacy, part of the generation in whom the fires of hope burnt steadily and who took responsibility to pass it on, undimmed, to others. My own predecessor, Archbishop Tutu, used to repeat in those conflicted times: “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.” So if we are now able to see further, if we are able to vote in free elections, if we are able to walk our streets without a “dompas” then it is because, for generations, others, and indeed the UDF, have passed on those lamps of hope.

Forty years later, we can say we have those rights which we and Allan Boesak were demanding. But now we have to ask: what have we done with them?

Yes, we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights which are the envy of the world. Yes, we have democratically-elected Parliament, and we are led by our fifth democratically-elected President. In the language of my predecessors, like Moses and the children of Israel in the Christian Bible, we have escaped the bondage of Egypt. We have achieved much, in housing, in health and in education. We are a beautiful country. We have accomplished these achievements through the efforts of organisations and individuals who risked everything, even life and limb, to let freedom ring. A friend sent me a quote by Marshall Ganz the other day, which I found useful in reflecting on these tumultuous events during this 40th anniversary. The quote reads: “Movements have narratives. They tell stories, because they are not just about rearranging economics and politics. They also rearrange meaning. They are not just about redistributing the goods, they are about figuring out what is good.” Ends quote.

That for me, on this 40th anniversary, seems to be of utmost importance. Against the background of all that has gone so horribly wrong in our country, and despite many bold initiatives, we need to work out, here and now, what is good. We need to mobilize our energy, our courage, our imagination, our skills and our political will, and channel them into a mighty stream, just as we did against the apartheid state, 40 years ago.

I don't have to tell you that we are mired in the mud of corruption. We are a country marred by the most glaring inequality in the world. Services we built for our people have collapsed in some areas, and too many public servants have forgotten they are servants of the public. We need to marshal all that we are into hearing and answering the cries of the poor, completing half-finished tasks and responding to the new obstacles that have emerged.

We need to ask again what is good for the women and children who are battered daily, for the poor who can only dream of going to bed with a full stomach, for the unemployed who stand along the streets of our cities and the rural poor whom the formal economy does not reach. We need to ask again what is good for those who are deprived by the seemingly unending spiral of corruption that robs our people of the hard-won victories of our struggle.

Every act of corruption is an act of theft from the poor. We need to ask urgently what is good for the whistle-blowers who are so vulnerable, exposed and in real danger as they seek to put an end to acts of wanton corruption. We need to ask what is good for the foreigner who lives with insecurity as the dark clouds of xenophobia continue to hang low over those look for hope in SA. The struggle is not over; we cannot sit back simply to revel in past victories. Too much remains to be changed. I know that for myself I will only be able to hold my identity as a child of the UDF with pride, if in the here and now we resolve to end the blight that still mars the landscape of our country.

Yes, we won our rights, but like Moses and the children of Israel, we've escaped the bondage of Egypt only to go astray, wandering in the wilderness. Now, are we, like them, condemned to wander in the wilderness for 40 years?

No, I say, No! That cannot be so!

I believe, and Christian hope compels me to declare, that we must rise again from the current ruinous state of our nation and get back on track to achieve the ideals and values that our Constitution promises. As both Allan Boesak and Popo Molefe, our fathers in the struggle, have pointed out in their recent public exchange, we need to be brutally honest with one another about our failings, and we need to work hard to re-set especially the moral compass of our country.

How do we do that? I want to renew my call, issued to the churches: we need a New Struggle, a struggle to replace the old struggle against apartheid with a new struggle to regain our moral compass, a struggle to end economic inequity, a struggle to bring about equality of opportunity.

And I want to address the young people of this country. You are correct when you tell us that the promises of democracy are not being realised. We can understand your disillusionment, we understand why you are opting out of politics and public life. But that is not the answer to our crisis. That will not secure you and your children's future. No, the answer to our crisis is for you to roll up your sleeves and make the New Struggle a new struggle for a new generation.

Please, young people, for the sake of our country's and your futures, dig deep into the radical roots of the old struggle against apartheid, and dare to dream and work for a country in which there is justice, equity and equality of opportunity. Organise amongst yourselves, and those of you who are old enough, register with the Independent Electoral Commission, then campaign and vote in next year's elections. We need a peaceful revolution in which young people stand up, reject corruption and self-dealing, and help get involved in the political process.

And the older cadres among us need to use our resources to help young people in this struggle. In faith communities, religious leaders need to make our houses of worship “voting sanctuaries”, where young people can receive guidance on how to register. We can host workshops on voter education and provide instruction on our electoral system. Civil society needs to partner with business to raise funds for an historic effort to revitalize our democracy and get us moving again, so that we can realise the promises of our Constitution.

Let us not have to repeat this litany of social and economic pathologies in 40 years’ time. Let us rather ensure in the spirit of the UDF that these things become a footnote in history. We have the power in our hands, let’s use it now!

God bless South Africa. God loves you and so do I.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

Thursday 10 August 2023

Interfaith Noon Prayer Service on Taxi Strike

Interfaith Noon Prayer Service on Taxi Strike
The Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba
Archbishop of Cape Town
St George's Cathedral, Cape Town
Women's Day, August 9, 2023

Colleagues, friends, Mr Dean, Mr Mayor, the representatives of Santaco, fellow South Africans, especially those from the household of faith, and my colleagues here on the stage: Greetings.

Monday 7 August 2023

Homily for the funeral of the Revd Canon John Suggit

 The Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba

Archbishop of Cape Town

Homily for the funeral of the Revd Canon John Suggit

St Margaret's Church, Fish Hoek

Diocese of False Bay

Friday August 4, 2023

Tuesday 1 August 2023

Address at a Mayoral Gala Dinner for the Prince Mangosuthu Legacy Cup

Address at a Mayoral Gala Dinner for the


The Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba

Archbishop of Cape Town

28th July 2023