Leadership Conversations with Nicky Gumbel Podcast: Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

This is the full conversation between Nicky Gumbel and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba from this year’s online Leadership Conference. Listen as Nicky talks to Archbishop Thabo about his dream for South Africa, forgiveness in the midst of injustice and building a relationship with Nelson Mandela.

This is the full conversation between Nicky Gumbel and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba from this year’s online Leadership Conference. Archbishop Thabo is the youngest person to ever be elected to the position of Archbishop, and it was not by accident. Makgoba overcame profound injustice and adversity to become the reconciling, loving and justice-seeking leader that the South African Church needs. In this interview, Nicky asks him questions about his upbringing facing apartheid, how he holds a forgiving disposition, his relationship with the late Nelson Mandela & more.

To start the conversation, Nicky has Archbishop Thabo rewind to his days as a youth, growing up in a dangerous region of South Africa. The Archbishop shares heartbreaking stories of the racial injustice, and gang violence he and his family had to endure. Despite the unfair suffering, the listener can’t help but pick up on the lack of bitterness and resentment in the Archbishop’s recollection. Makgoba stands today as an example of the healing work possible for those who forgive with the help of the Spirit. He quotes his mother, a great example to him in the area of forgiveness, “Jesus is bigger than your pain, and so the most important thing you can do before bed is either give your pain to God or resolve it with the person who has caused it.”

For the bulk of the interview, Nicky asks Makgoba to share about his unique relationship with the great Nelson Mandela in his final years. The Archbishop humbly shares about the relationship he was able to build with the anti-apartheid revolutionary. He describes the moments of prayer, the laughs they shared and what Mandela implicitly and explicitly taught him.

Archbishop Thabo is also an incredible example of someone who walks the walk of fighting against injustice, as he spends much of his time and energy advocating for the poorest of the poor in South Africa. In fact, his love for the poor even impacts the shoes he wears when he preaches. “During prayer and reflection from the pulpit, I wear my running shoes so that afterwards I can run to picket, and defend the poor” says the Archbishop. The Archbishop lives a life marked by Jesus’ words to have concern and compassion for the least of these.

We hope you enjoy this conversation with South Africa’s ever-impressive, ever-inspiring Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.


Show Notes

Faith & Courage: Praying with Mandela by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba


The Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town was born in 1960 and grew up in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg. He holds a BSc, a BA(Honours) in Applied Psychology, and a MEd in Educational Psychology, all from the University of the Witwatersrand. He lectured at Wits University and was Dean of Knockando Residence at Wits College of Education (formerly Johannesburg College of Education – JCE), as well as Senior Lecturer. He is married to Lungi Manona and they have two children, Nyakallo and Paballo. He recently authored the book: Faith & Courage – Praying with Mandela.

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