Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane – a liberal African voice on the subject of homosexuality – announced on May 13 that he will retire as archbishop of Cape Town in 2008.
In a statement, he wrote “this is my 10th year as archbishop of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa. Apart from the first three Anglican archbishops of Cape Town, who presided over the formation of our church, all my other predecessors have taken on this role for a maximum of 10 years. It is an extremely demanding position with many wide-ranging responsibilities and although, according to the canons of our church, I could continue to fill it until I am 70, I have decided that the time is coming for me to step down.” Archbishop Ndungane turns 65 this year.
[pullquote]Archbishop of Cape TownHe said that the election of his successor will take place in 2007 and he or she will act as coadjutor bishop (or, assistant bishop who has the right of succession). Archbishop Ndungane also said he will introduce his successor to his fellow bishops at the 2008 Lambeth Conference in England, the once-per-decade gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world.
He noted that in his term, the “rather unwieldy” diocese of Cape Town has been split into three “and I am happy that I am able to leave a smaller and much more manageable diocese for my successor.”
In retirement, he said he will continue to pursue an interest in issues of development and intends to continue his involvement with the African Monitor, the stand-alone body he set up to monitor donor funding and the use of that funding in Africa. He also said he would like to support the revival of traditional church schools in South Africa
Archbishop Ndungane, who succeeded Archbishop Desmond Tutu as bishop, has called homosexuality a “pastoral, secondary” issue for Anglicans and has said that the church “should be on the forefront of fighting social ills” such as poverty and HIV/AIDS.