Where the Bishop is


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.

Black Consciousness
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.

Abahlali baseMjondolo
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 Bloemfontein.