Winston Njongonkulu Ndungane (1941 - )
The Order of the Baobab in
Profile of Winston Njongonkulu Ndungane
Winston Njongonkulu Ndungane was born in Kokstad on 2 April 1941. He graduated from Lovedale High School, Alice, in December 1958.
During March 1960, he was involved in anti-pass law demonstrations while studying at the University of Cape Town. This made him interested in politics, opening his eyes to the suffering of oppressed South Africans, which resulted in his eventual arrest under apartheid laws. From August 1963 to August 1966, he served a three-year sentence on Robben Island as a political prisoner.
While in prison, Ndungane decided to serve the church in the ordained ministry. He was ordained as a priest of the Anglican Church in July 1974 in the Diocese of Cape Town. He received a Bachelor of Divinity and Honours degree at King’s College, London, becoming an associate of King’s College in June 1978. In June 1979, he completed his Master of Theology degree in Christian Ethics, also at King’s College.
From January 1985 to December 1986, he was principal of St. Bede’s Theological College in Umtata and in September 1981, he became the provincial liaison officer for the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa). From January 1987 to June 1991, he was the provincial executive officer, and in September 1991, he was consecrated Bishop of Kimberley and Kuruman. He became Archbishop of Cape Town in September 1996.
He has been awarded several honorary degrees, including a Doctorate of Divinity from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, from the Protestant Episcopal Seminary, Virginia, and from the Episcopal Divinity School. He was also conferred an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Worcester State College, Massachusetts, and other honorary doctorates from the universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Natal.
Archbishop Ndungane has written many essays and made numerous contributions to books. His own book, A World with a Human Face: A Voice From Africa, a part-autobiography and part-record of some speeches and sermons, was published in 2003. He hasalso recently written a substantial number of articles calling for the Anglican Communion to hold fast to the authentic faith of its rich heritage, found in scripture, reason and tradition, of which a considerable diversity has always been a part.
The Archbishop has been deeply involved in campaigns to abolish the debt of developing countries, combat poverty, tackle HIV and Aids and promote the millennium development goals. He speaks widely on these issues as well as on rebuilding the new South Africa, and on theological questions. In 2005, he was a speaker during a series on poverty, namely What can one person do? in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, together with Kofi Annan and Jeffrey Sachs.
In 2006, he launched African Monitor, a pan-African non-profit-making body harnessing the voice of the continent’s civil society in monitoring and promoting the effective implementation of promises made by the international community, and Africa’s own governments, for the continent’s development.
In the same year, the Minister of Arts and Culture, Dr Pallo Jordan, appointed Archbishop Ndungane as ”Champion” of the Historic Schools Restoration Project, an initiative aimed at transforming historically significant and under-resourced schools in South Africa into sustainable and inspirational centres of cultural and educational excellence.
Njongonkulu Ndungane retired as Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town at the end of 2007 but continues his work for African Monitorand the Historic Schools Restoration Project.