Colin Winter

Bishop of Damaraland noted for opposing apartheid; exiled Bishop of Namibia; Irish-British Anglican bishop (1928-1981)

Colin Winter (10 October 192818 November 1981) was Anglican Bishop of Damaraland (Namibia) from 1968 until his death in 1981. He was deported in 1972 for his opposition to South Africa's policy of racial separation known as apartheid. He remained "bishop-in-exile" after his expulsion and continued to write and speak on behalf of Namibian independence.


  • There are earth-shattering events going on around you, Lydia. men are scheming, debating, plotting, intriguing for the future of our country but, despite all their talk, it is the little children who are really creating the future. While these big men spend hours talking and arguing, you and your friends are busy building a nation. I don't exaggerate: all societies must be based on justice, love, trust and sharing. Though only 3, you are already practising them in your playgroup. Left to yourselves, you black and white children are actually doing that, while the politicians nervously insert clauses into bills to guard their investments and vested interest, or to protect people from people. You don't need to be protected from children of other races, because to you they are simply your friends, and you accept them totally for what they are. Your playgroup is based on trust. That is a precious commodity. I hope you never lose it. When men in Namibia act on that lesson we too, like you, can begin to build a nation.
  • My dearest wish is the liberation of Namibia, for whose freedom I am quite prepared to give my life. I am conscious that I may never see the fulfilment of this hope within my own lifetime. I am more conscious for the many, many failures to achieve or accomplish what I might have achieved, as well as my failures to convince people, to win over support for our struggle within this country and elsewhere. I am deeply conscious of my failures to love, to show more patience when people have shown an inability to grasp our situation or have responded with stubborn aggression or anger. My constant reproach to myself is, if I had been more loving, perhaps Bishop X would have responded or Archbishop Y might have been more positive. But the very failing has its lessons to teach my brother and sister Namibians who will come after me and who will carry forward the struggle, learning from my mistakes. God can use my failures as well as my successes. This is a cause for great hope. "When I am weakest then am strongest!" God can turn my failures into triumphs: this is the mystery of the Cross.

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