Barney Pityana

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Barney Pityana

Nyameko Barney Pityana

(1945-08-07) 7 August 1945 (age 73)
Uitenhage, Eastern Cape, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
Alma mater
OccupationHuman rights lawyer and theologian
ChurchAnglican Church of Southern Africa

Nyameko Barney Pityana FKC GCOB (born 7 August 1945) is a human rights lawyer and theologian in South Africa. He is an exponent of Black theology.[1]


Pityana was born in Uitenhage and attended the University of Fort Hare. He was one of the founding members of the South African Students' Organisation of the Black Consciousness Movement with Steve Biko.[2] He was also a member of the African National Congress Youth League,[citation needed] and was suspended for challenging the authority of the Afrikaans teachers and the apartheid principles of "Bantu education".[citation needed]

Pityana received a degree from the University of South Africa in 1976 but was barred from practicing law in Port Elizabeth by the apartheid government.[citation needed] He was banned by the apartheid government from public activity.[citation needed] Pityana went into exile in 1978, studying theology at King's College London and training for the ministry Ripon College Cuddesdon in Oxford.[3] Thereafter he served as an Anglican curate in Milton Keynes and as a vicar in Birmingham.[3] From 1988 to 1992 he was Director of the Programme to Combat Racism at the World Council of Churches in Geneva.[3]

Pityana returned to South Africa in 1993, following the end of apartheid. He continued working in theology and human rights, completing a PhD in Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town in 1995.[3] He was appointed a member of the South African Human Rights Commission in 1995, and served as chairman of the commission from 1995 to 2001.[3] He also served on the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights at the Organisation of African Unity in 1997. Professor Pityana became Vice-Chancellor and Principal for the University of South Africa in 2001 and held the position for nine years.

He was the rector of the College of the Transfiguration (Anglican) in Grahamstown (from 2011 until 2014),[4]

He is the President of Convocation of the University of Cape Town.[5]


His work in human rights has been widely recognised, and in December 2002, he was awarded an Honourable Mention of the 2002 UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education.[6]

Current Politics[edit]

He is a vocal critic of the present ANC leadership under Jacob Zuma,[7] calling for the resignation of Zuma,[8] and has links with grassroots movements opposed to the ANC.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pityana, Barney. "Black Theology and the struggle for liberation." Index on Censorship. October 1983. Web. 26 Jul. 2010.
  2. ^ "ABRIDGED RESUME: Nyameko Barney Pityana". All-Africa Ministers' Conference on Open Learning and Distance Education. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Nyameko Barney Pityana's Biography". International Council for Open and Distance Education. Archived from the original on July 17, 2009. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
  4. ^ Resume at COTT[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Prof Barney Pityana elected to lead UCT Convocation" (PDF) (Press release). Cape Town: UCT. 26 February 2015.
  6. ^ "Academia Mexicana de Derechos Humanos wins 2002 UNESCO Human Rights Education Prize". UNESCO. Archived from the original on 10 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
  7. ^ Carlisle, Adrienne (25 September 2012). "Only ourselves to blame". Times LIVE. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  8. ^ Pityana, Barney (24 February 2013). "Dear Mr Zuma, it's time for you to go". Sunday Independent.
  9. ^ Remembering Biko: A bright and guiding light in dark times Archived 2012-10-10 at the Wayback Machine, Unemployed People's Movement Press Statement, 18 September 2012

External links[edit]