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Archbishop Who Ran Underground Railroad in Southern Africa to Speak at Duke April 9

An Anglican archbishop who ran an underground refugee train that enabled South Africans to flee their country during the Apartheid years will discuss his role during a public talk Friday, April 9, at Duke University.

The 1 p.m. talk by the Most Rev. Walter Paul Khotso Makhulu, emeritus archbishop of the province of Central Africa for the Anglican Church, takes place in the Alumni Commons Room at Duke's Divinity School. The talk is free and open to the public.

Makhulu will join John Allen, authorized biographer for Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Karin Shapiro, associate professor of history at Duke, in a discussion, "Standing Up for God: Working Underground for Justice in South Africa." The conversation will explore the role of the church in Southern Africa during the Apartheid years and for the first time, Archbishop Makhulu will speak publicly about his work enabling South Africans opposed to the state to flee the country.

"In his role as archbishop he was quietly running an underground refugee train -- it was completely covert," says Makhulu's daughter, Anne-Maria Makhulu, assistant professor of cultural anthropology and African and African American Studies at Duke.

Archbishop Makhulu also assisted the Norwegian Foreign Ministry with funneling money to political organizations and grassroots initiatives within South Africa. Anne-Maria Makhulu notes that many of the people her father helped leave South Africa eventually returned and assumed posts in the government and private sector.

A native of South Africa, Archbishop Makhulu served as bishop of Botswana and then archbishop of the Province of Central Africa, positions he held during the height of Apartheid and the anti-Apartheid movement. He is past president of the World Council of Churches and All Africa Conference of Churches as well as an Ordinary Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. He is a recipient of France's Ordre des Palmes Académiques, and Botswana's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Order of Honor.

The event is sponsored by the Concilium on Southern Africa, the Divinity School, the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs, the Duke University Center for International Studies, and the Franklin Humanities Institute.