A former political prisoner on Robben Island, and Bishop of Kimberley and Kuruman, Njongonkulu Ndungane succeeded Desmond Tutu as Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town in 1996. 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. Since retiring from the church in 2007 he has been extensively involved in campaigns to abolish the debt of developing countries, combat poverty, tackle HIV and Aids and promote the millennium development goals. Archbishop Ndungane has also served 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.
Dr Mamphela Ramphele has had a celebrated career as an activist, medical doctor, academic, businesswoman and political thinker. In 1968 she enrolled for a medical degree at the University of Natal, where she became involved in the South African Students Association and was a founder, with Steve Biko, of the Black Consciousness Movement. In 1976 she was detained under the Terrorism Act, and was banned from 1977 to 1983. She has a PhD in Social Anthropology, a B Comm degree, a Diploma in Tropical Hygiene and a Diploma in Public Health. In 1996 she was appointed Vice-Chancellor of UCT. In 2000 she became a managing director of the World Bank, based in Washington, DC. Dr Ramphele has served as chairperson of many boards and is currently a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. She was founder of the Open Society Foundation for South Africa and the Citizens Movement. She is the author of several books and publications on socio-economic issues in South Africa, including A Passion for Freedom, Laying Ghosts to Rest, Conversations with my sons and Daughters, and Dreams, Betrayal and Hope.
Barney Pityana is a lawyer, theologian and lifelong activist for human rights and justice. After being subjected to a series of detentions and banning orders in the 1970s he led his young family into exile in England, where he undertook training for the Anglican Ministry and was ordained as a priest. After serving as a parish priest in Milton Keynes and Birmingham, he was appointed director of the World Council of Churches’ Programme to Combat Racism (1988-1992). Pityana returned to South Africa, joining the University of Cape Town before being appointed chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission. In 1997, he was elected to the Africa Commission on Human and People’s Rights at the Organisation of African Unity’s Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Harare. Pityana obtained his PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Cape Town in 1995 and was admitted as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa in February 1996. Pityana became the first black vice-chancellor and principal of the University of South Africa in 2001.
We are a deeply wounded people, all of us, black and white together. Some are crippled by poverty and shame; others’ by shame and guilt. We tend to respond with self-justification or indifference, when we should be responding with compassion and love.