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Rev Dr Simon Gqubule

The Order of Luthuli in

Rev Dr Simon Gqubule Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to the liberation struggle and to the field of education and religion. His inherent belief in equality prompted him to join the United Democratic Front (UDF) to speak truth to the evil and oppressive apartheid system and to provide prophetic witness in the fight for freedom.
Profile of Rev Dr Simon Gqubule

Rev Dr Simon Gqubule was born near Cookhouse in the Eastern Cape in February 1928. He qualified as a teacher at the Healdtown Mission Station in 1949. He then attended the University College of Fort Hare where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree. In 1951, he entered the ministry in the Methodist Church of South Africa.

He taught at the Lovedale United Theological School and at the University of Fort Hare. In 1963, he was part of the team of the Federal Theological Seminary. He continued his studies in Geneva, London and Edinburgh, and was the first African student to obtain a PhD degree at Rhodes University.

In pursuit of freedom and democracy, Rev Dr Gqubule joined the UDF in February 1988, leading the Pietermaritzburg branch. He was banned and restricted to the Pietermaritzburg magisterial district and placed under house arrest. The restrictions were lifted in December 1989.

In 1990, he was a visiting lecturer in Greek and New Testament at Wesley College in Bristol, England. He left the seminary at the end of 1991 after 31 years as a theological teacher. From 1992 until the end of 1998 when he retired, he was Superintendent Minister of the Mount Coke Circuit and then Bishop of the Queenstown District of the Methodist Church of South Africa.

In addition, he has been involved with various educational projects, including the Masizakhe Educational Project and also the llitha Lemfundo Educational Enhancement Project, which runs Saturday classes for Grades 10, 11 and 12 learners from several Uitenhage schools.

For his passion and dedication to ensuring that the youth of Nelson Mandela Bay prosper, Rev Dr Gqubule was honoured by Port Elizabeth’s Herald newspaper with The Herald GM Citizen of the Year award in 2014. He was lauded for his selfless contribution to the betterment of his community.