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THE RIGHT REVD RUBIN PHILLIP – 9TH BISHOP OF NATAL PROFILE
The Right Reverend Rubin Phillip (b. 1948) is bishop of the
Anglican Diocese of Natal. The great-grandchild of indentured
labourers, Bishop Rubin Phillip is the first South African of
colour to hold the position of Bishop of Natal. He grew up in
Clairwood, a suburb of Durban with a large concentration of poor
people of mixed races. He entered the priesthood and was
ordained Deacon at St Paul’s Church Durban in 1971, and a priest
in 1972. He was consecrated Bishop by Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
at the Cathedral of the Holy Nativity in 1995 and became the 9th
Bishop of Natal in February 2000.
Rubin Phillip was involved in the Black Consciousness Movement
and was the Deputy President of the South African Student's
Organisation in 1969 when Steve Biko was President. He was a
noted anti-apartheid activist and spent three years under house
arrest in the 1970s.
Bishop Phillip is a strong supporter of the struggles of the
poor in South Africa, and has particularly supported the work of
Durban-based shack dwellers movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM).
He has attended meetings, memorials, mass ecumenical prayers,
marches and UnFreedom Day hosted by Abahlali baseMjondolo and
has supported the organisation's legal battle to have the KZN
Slums Act declared unconstitutional. In September 2009, he
condemned the violent expulsion of Abahlali baseMjondolo from
the Kennedy Road informal settlement blaming political
interference and stating that "this militia has acted with the
support of the local ANC structures". He supported the movement
through the case that followed the attack.
In 2009, the Bishop was given the Bremen International Peace
Award on the grounds of his work in the struggle against
apartheid and his on-going work to offer solidarity to the
displaced people, victims of persecutions and detainees.
In 2010, he received the Diakonia award in recognition of his
involvement with the anti-apartheid movement, his advocacy and
involvement in the Zimbabwe crisis and his solidarity with AbM.
He is committed to peace-making, reconciliation and mediation
initiatives throughout the province. Bishop Rubin is married to
Rosemary Phillip and they have one son Lance Phillip, a lecturer
in the Department of Music at Free State University in