Simon Gqubule 2012

Simon Gqubule was born near Cookhouse in the Eastern Cape on 18 February 1928. He completed his schooling at the Healdtown Missionary Institution near Fort Beaufort in 1947 and qualified as a teacher at the same institution in 1949. He then attended the University College of Fort Hare where he obtained a bachelor’s degree. In 1951, he entered the ministry in the Methodist Church of South Africa.

From 1961 to 1962 he taught at the Lovedale United Theological School (LUTS) and at Fort Hare. During this period, he was part of the team that prepared for the establishment of the Federal Theological Seminary which was established at Alice in 1963. For the first four years, he was the only black member of the teaching staff of the Seminary. He served as President of the Seminary and also as Principal of John Wesley College at the Seminary for 17 years.

He continued his studies in Geneva, London, and Edinburgh and was the first African student to qualify for a PhD degree at Rhodes University.

From 1980 to 1988, he held the positions of Vice-President of the South African Council of Churches, Visiting Professor of New Testament at the Toronto University School of Theology in Canada, Vice-President of the SA Institute of Race Relations, President of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and President of the Natal Midlands Division of the United Democratic Front (UDF).

In February 1988, as a leader of the UDF, he was banned and restricted to the Pietermaritzburg magisterial district and placed under house arrest. The restrictions were lifted in December 1989. In 1990 he was a Visiting Lecturer in Greek and New Testament at Wesley College, Bristol, England.

He left the Seminary at the end of 1991 after 31 years as Theological Teacher.  From 1992 until the end of 1998 when he retired, he was Superintendent Minister of the Mount Coke Circuit and then Bishop of the Queenstown District of the Methodist Church of South Africa.

At the beginning of 2000 he was called upon to minister to the PE Mission Cluster which consisted of five societies and was involved with fund-raising for the building of a church which was named after him.  In addition he has been involved with various educational projects including the Masizakhe Educational Project with the late Raymond Uren and also the llitha Lemfundo Educational  Enhancement Project which runs Saturday classes for Grades 10, 11 and  12 learners from several Uitenhage schools.

He has been awarded two honorary doctorates – one from Rhodes and the other from UNISA and after 12 years, is still the President of the Convocation of Rhodes University.

He was married to Miriam "Jay" Mazibuko who passed away in 2010 and they have a son and two daughters.

For his dedication, sound work ethics and integrity and for motivating others to strive for excellence, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is honoured to present Dr Simon Gqubule with the Council Prestige Award.