Rhodes University honours Archbishop Thabo Makgoba with prestigious LLD for his advocacy and ethical leadership

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Archbishop Thabo Makgoba will receive his Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) on 04 April 2024 at 14:30 during the Rhodes University graduation ceremony
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba will receive his Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) on 04 April 2024 at 14:30 during the Rhodes University graduation ceremony

For Archbishop Thabo Makgoba’s significant impact on society, Rhodes University will confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) (honoris causa).

This honorary degree is in recognition of Archbishop Makgoba's role as a voice of reason and a conscience of society, where he has been a steadfast advocate against corruption and the abuse of power. His unwavering commitment to justice and ethical leadership has not only made him a respected figure within the Anglican Church but also a revered leader and moral compass in broader societal matters, further cementing his legacy as a champion for integrity, human rights, and social justice in South Africa and beyond.

Makgoba, born on December 15, 1960, in Alexandra, Johannesburg, is the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and a notable figure in South Africa for his work in social justice, education, and his advocacy on environmental issues. He began his ministry in the Diocese of Johannesburg, serving in various roles before becoming the bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Grahamstown. He was elected as the Archbishop of Cape Town in 2007, becoming the youngest person to hold this position.

Makgoba's academic journey includes a PhD in Business Administration from the University of Cape Town, focusing on African workplace spirituality in South African mines. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Allan Gray School for Values at UCT and has served as the Chancellor of the University of the Western Cape since 2012​​​​. To this effect, The Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Development Trust (ATMDT), established in 2012, operates as a small grant-giving entity. It focuses on three pivotal areas: education, food security, and the pursuit of social justice.

Furthermore, the ATMDT has contributed endowments to various universities for the purpose of conducting an annual lecture centered on Values-Based Leadership. In this tradition, the Rhodes Business School is set to present its 10th ATMDT Annual Lecture in the year 2024.

Makgoba's views on social justice and inclusivity are particularly notable. He has been open to discussions regarding the Anglican Church's stance on homosexuality, advocating for the church to provide pastoral guidelines for homosexual couples in "covenanted partnerships." His leadership saw the Anglican Diocese of Cape Town pass a resolution in 2009 to work towards more inclusive pastoral care. Despite facing setbacks, such as the rejection of proposals to bless same-sex unions by church synods, Makgoba has continued to advocate for inclusivity within the church​​.

Archbishop Makgoba's contributions extend beyond the church into the wider community. He has used his platform to make political statements on current affairs, condemning violence and supporting peaceful resolutions to conflicts. He has received numerous accolades for his service, including the Cross of St Augustine from the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2008 and several honorary doctorates from universities worldwide. His published works include "Faith and Courage: Praying with Mandela" and "Connectedness," reflecting his engagement with spiritual leadership and community connectivity​​.

In a podcast interview with Nicky Gumbel, Archbishop Makgoba shared insights into his dream for South Africa, the importance of forgiveness, and his relationship with Nelson Mandela. He spoke about growing up in a dangerous region of South Africa, facing racial injustice and gang violence, yet holding a forgiving disposition taught by his mother. His relationship with Mandela was marked by profound respect and shared moments of prayer and laughter, emphasising the former president's teachings on fighting against injustice​​.

Archbishop Makgoba's life and work embody a commitment to social justice, inclusivity, and the transformative power of forgiveness and spiritual leadership in addressing societal challenges.

Archbishop Makgoba will receive his Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) on 04 April 2024 at 14:30 during the Rhodes University graduation ceremony.