Kumi Naidoo delivers Waynflete Lecture

30th October 2018


This year’s Waynflete Lecture was given by the Secretary General of Amnesty International Dr Kumi Naidoo (1987).

Dr Naidoo was born in South Africa in 1965, and played an active part in the anti-apartheid movement, organising his first protest at 15 which saw him expelled from his school.

At 21 he was charged for violating the state of emergency regulations and was forced to go on the run. It was at that time that he applied for a Rhodes scholarship. “I had to go to the interview in disguise,” he remembers. He was awarded the scholarship and began a DPhil in political sociology at Magdalen College in 1987.

After Magdalen, Dr Naidoo returned to South Africa to work with the African National Congress and has held a number of high profile leadership roles since that time, including Executive Director of Greenpeace International.

As well as his work with Amnesty International, Dr Naidoo is also the co-founder and interim chair of the pan-African organization, Africans Rising.

Dr Naidoo’s lecture was titled “Creative maladjustment in a time of affluenza”, referencing both a Martin Luther King Jr. speech (creative maladjustment) and a term used by critics of  consumerism (affluenza).

In it, he outlined many of the biggest problems faced by society, including inequality and climate change, and the urgency with which they need to be addressed.

The College would like to thank Dr Naidoo for his inspiring and timely lecture. We wish him every success in his endeavours, and we hope to see him back at Magdalen again soon.

Kumiand David