He holds a BSc, a BA (Honours) in Applied Psychology, and an MEd in Educational Psychology, from the University of the Witwatersrand. He lectured at Wits University and was Dean of Knockando Residence at Wits College of Education (formerly Johannesburg College of Education – JCE), as well as Senior Lecturer.
Central to his life has been his ordained ministry. Since completing training in 1989, he has had parish experience as curate at St Mary’s Cathedral, Johannesburg; Chaplain at Wits; Priest in Charge at St Alban’s, Ferreirastown; Priest in Charge/Rector and Archdeacon at Christ the King in Sophiatown. He became the Bishop Suffragan of Grahamstown in 2002 and was elected Bishop of Grahamstown in 2004.
He has served as the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, and Metropolitan (that is, head) of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, since January 2008. He is the youngest person elected to this office. He succeeded Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, who served from 1997 to 2007 and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who served from 1986 to 1996. In 2008 he was decorated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams with the Cross of St Augustine for his role within the Anglican Communion.
In 2009 he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, from the General Theological Seminary (of the Episcopal Church) in New York City. He described this as an award for all South Africans who were denied access to education. Later in 2009, he earned a PhD from the University of Cape Town, for a thesis on Spirituality in the South African Mining Workplace (published in 2012, ISBN 978-3-8454-7602-5). He received the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Scholarship to support this research.
For three years, he taught MBA students at the University of Cape Town on Ethical Leadership and Stewardship. From July 2011 to April 2012 he was a commissioner for the Press Freedom Commission. In February 2012 he was inaugurated as the Chancellor of the University of the Western Cape.
He has been a panellist and discussion leader at various World Economic Forum meetings and topics on which he has made contributions have included:
- Fostering Political Stability
- The Future of Democracy in Africa
- Major Ideological Shifts of the 21st Century
- Restoring Faith in Economics
- The Sustainability of Communities
- From Contract to Covenant
- Rethinking Values in the Post-Crisis World
He frequently writes for a range of newspapers and journals, and many of these pieces, together with texts of sermons and speeches, can be found on the website of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (www.anglicanchurchsa.org), and his blog (http://archbishop.anglicanchurchsa.org/).