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A short biography of Trevor Huddleston

News St Martin – Talking Points

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Throughout June St Martin-in-the-Fields joins ACTSA and the Trevor Huddleston Memorial Centre to remember the centenary of Fr Trevor Huddleston.

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“No white person has done more for South Africa than Trevor Huddleston.” Nelson Mandela

In 1943 Father Trevor Huddleston was sent by his order, the Community of the Resurrection (CR), to Sophiatown, Johannesburg. It was to be the beginning of lifetime of dedication to the struggle against apartheid. For over 12 years he tended the needs of the community, serving their educational, social and spiritual needs. He set up homeless shelters, schooling and feeding programmes and even a swimming pool. During the forced removals of some 65,000 people from Sophiatown to places like Soweto, based on the colour of their skin, Father Huddleston became a major voice in opposition to apartheid and in standing up for the rights of the community. His vocal protests led to immense harassment from the apartheid regime and in 1955 he was recalled to England by his order.

For Father Huddleston the ‘struggle’ did not stop there. His book ‘Naught for your Comfort’, which sold 250,000 copies, carried its message of the humanity of black South Africans into the homes of people all over Britain. In the following years he addressed packed public meetings, calling for a sports and cultural boycott of South Africa. As Bishop of the Masasi (Tanzania), Bishop of Stepney, Bishop of Mauritius and Primate of the Indian Ocean he continued to play a leading role in the struggle against apartheid.

He was a founding member of the Anti Apartheid Movement, Vice President 1961-81 and was its President 1981-94, when the international campaign against apartheid was its peak. He has been recognised internationally, and especially in South Africa for the role he played in the struggle against one of the greatest injustices of the 20th century. Following the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994, he continued his support for justice, rights and development for southern Africa, as founding patron of Action for Southern Africa, the successor organisation to the Anti Apartheid Movement. After his death in 1998, he was buried at the Christ the King Church in his beloved Sophiatown.

A prayer for Africa, by Trevor Huddleston: “God bless Africa; guard her people; guide her leaders. And give her peace. Amen.”