Trevor Huddleston

By Nicole Turner

Trevor Huddleston was born in England, and did not know his father, an officer in the Indian navy, until he was seven years old. His mother was often away with his father, so he was raised predominantly by his aunt and sister. As a child and teen, Huddleston was a dedicated student and received great education, first at a boarding school, and then at a public church school. He soon found himself interested in writing and was involved in many writing programs through the school. During a school mission trip to a poor London town, Huddleston became acutely aware of the livelihood of others, and how not all got to live as privileged a life as he. While studying at Oxford in 1931, this realization strongly impacted him and he was called to the ministry. Huddleston travelled to many countries in need of aid after graduating from Oxford. When he returned, he went to the Community of the Resurrection, an Anglican church, to take his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, two years after he tested his vocation. He was sent on a church mission to Sophiatown, near Johannesburg, where he attended many ANC meetings and protests. He said, "It was from that moment that I identified with the ANC". Huddleston spoke in Kliptown, as a leader of the ANC, against the Native Land Act. He also created better environments for children in hospitals and schools by bringing in musicians and performers. He met a young Desmound Tutu at a hospital and regularly visited him and provided reading materials. At St. Peter's school, where Huddleston was transferred to, he met Oliver Tambo, who helped him improve the school. However, he closed the school after the Bantu Education Act was passed, so the government could not take it. Around this time, Huddleston met many important anti-apartheid figures, such as Nelson Mandela and Ruth First, and was awarded the highest ANC honor, known as Isitwalandwe. In 1956, he was banned from South Africa because of the political challenges he brought to the nation. While away from the country he had resided in for 13 years, he published his best seller, Naught for Your Comfort, and became bishop of the Diocese of Masasi in southern Tanzania, where he remained for 8 years. He then returned to London as an assistant bishop in Stepney and soon began protesting against the racism shown to the Bangladeshis and Pakistanis immigrants. Ten years later, he became bishop of the Diocese of Mauritius and, shortly after, was appointed Archbishop of the Indian Ocean. He retired after 5 years and had become the president of the anti-apartheid movement, which he was now fully involved in once again. Huddleston petitioned for the release of Mandela in 1984 and led many other initiatives to free Mandela, who was grateful for Huddleston's efforts. On behalf of the Commonwealth, he was able to meet with prime ministers and representatives of countries all over the world. Trevor Huddleston died at age 84 on April 20, 1998, after a final visit to South Africa to see the end of apartheid.

Huddleston was incredibly significant to the anti-apartheid movement, as he was a strong leader for all those who were against the system. His motives were moral-based around the basic concept that all men are equal and deserve the same rights; ideals he worked hard to spread through his efforts for the movement. Mandela himself describes Huddleston as "pillar of wisdom, humanity, and sacrifice to the legions of freedom fighters in the darkest moments of the struggle against apartheid". Huddleston was a role model that those against apartheid could follow. He worked hard to put an end to the acts that unjustly restricted the lives of non-whites through endless protests and speeches and boycotts. His dedication to the cause was apparent when he continued to be involved despite being banned from South Africa and needing to work overseas. This gave the movement hope and a motivation to keep fighting no matter what the circumstance, as he was doing. His efforts to free Nelson Mandela were incredibly significant to the liberation and success of the future president of South Africa. Huddleston's work with children inspired them to continue the fight through their generation, as seen with Desmound Tutu. Trevor Huddleston was important to the fight against apartheid because of the motivation and hope he supplied through his strong leadership role, and because of the political progress he made through protesting.


Works Cited

ARCHBISHOP TREVOR HUDDLESTON:SPEECH [LIVE 1990]. Perf. Trevor Huddleston. YouTube. YouTube, 28 Jan. 2011. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

"(Ernest) (Urban) Trevor Huddleston." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Biography in Context. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Fisher, Tony. "Archbishop Trevor Huddleston Blue Plaque Unveiled despite Indecency Claims." BBC. N.p., 15 June 2015. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Zipfel, Nathan. "Trevor Huddleston." Bedfordshire Genealogy and History. N.p., 4 Nov. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.