James Kauluma

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James Hamupanda Kauluma (1 July 1933 – 4 April 2007) was a Namibian human rights activist and sixth bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Namibia. He was the first Namibian bishop of the Anglican diocese in the country.[1]


Kauluma was born in Ovamboland. In 1949, he began studying at St. Mary's School in Odibo. He was baptised in 1951 at the age of 18. In 1953, he was recruited by the South West African Native Labour Association (SWANLA) and was sent to work in the diamond mines in Oranjemund in the far south of the country.[1]

He studied at the Dorothea Mission in Johannesburg between 1958 and 1959, and in Kenya, before returning to Namibia in 1964. In 1965 he travelled to Canada and the United States for further study, graduating with a BA degree from the University of Toronto and an MA from New York University. He was ordained a deacon in 1975 and, in 1977, was ordained as a priest by exiled Bishop Colin O'Brien Winter.[1]

He was elected Suffragan Bishop of Damaraland in 1977 and was consecrated as such in Westminster Abbey, London, on 15 January 1978 by Bishop Edward George Knapp-Fisher, acting under commission from the Archbishop of Cape Town, assisted by the Bishop of Damaraland, the Assistant Bishop of Damaraland, and others.[1]

He returned to live in Namibia in 1978, after having lived abroad for 12 years. After the death of Bishop Winter in 1981, he was elected diocesan bishop, the first Namibian to hold that office.[1]

In 1983, Kauluma received an honorary doctorate of divinity from the General Theological Seminary in New York.[2] In 1986 Kauluma, along with the Lutheran bishop Kleopas Dumeni and the Roman Catholic bishop Bonifatius Haushiku, challenged a dusk-to-dawn curfew that South African authorities had imposed in Namibia. The bishops argued that the curfew violated the freedom to assemble, freedom of religion, freedom of association, and freedom of movement.[3]

Kauluma retired from public life in 1998 and died from prostate cancer on 4 April 2007 at the Windhoek Medi-Clinic.[1]

Denis Herbstein, writing for The Guardian, suggests that "he was not a good speaker but he was outspoken, writing to the Times in London about South Africa's occupation of the country".[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Sasman, Catherine (12 February 2010). "James Kauluma: A warrior for justice (1933 to 2007)". New Era. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Herbstein, Denis (4 May 2007). "Bishop James Kauluma". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  3. ^ Historical Dictionary of Namibia. Scarecrow Press. 2012. pp. 162–163. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  • Pütz, Joachim, Heidi von Egidy & Perri Caplani. 1990. Namibia handbook and political who's who, 2nd edn. Windhoek: Magus. ISBN 0-620-14172-7
  • Church of the Province of Southern Africa Clerical Directory, 1991/1992, p. 222.
  • Bishopscourt Archives, Consecration of Bishops, 1847–1986.

External links[edit]

  • The African Activist Archive Project website includes a description and material of the Southern African Christian Alliance in Texas with newsletters with articles on Namibia including some by James Kauluma.
Preceded by
Colin O'Brien Winter
Anglican Bishop of Namibia
Succeeded by
Nehemiah Shihala Hamupembe