Who is Ted Rogers?

On the title page of “A Memoir” Ted Rogers is described as – a Jesuit, a Social Pioneer and an AIDS Activist?

But for me the question: “Who is Ted Rogers?” began to be answered in 1983 when I met him on the occasion of the first Plenary Assembly of the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) held at Harare, Zimbabwe. That was also my first exposure as a Bishop from South Africa to the nascent pandemic of HIV/AIDS in our Region.

A fuller answer came when Ted Rogers accepted appointment as Secretary General of IMBISA and at the same time I served on the Standing Committee as one of the representative of the Souther African Catholic Bishops’ Conference. That’s when I learned why Ted Rogers could well be described as a “A man for all those in need of a compassionate and helping hand”.

His CV is full of initiatives which reveal qualities of an extraordinary man – well able to “read the signs of the times”, to make accurate analyses of the causes and effects, and especially expert at coming up with the appropriate responses. The core of who Ted Rogers is can be most fully gleaned from the first designation in the title of his Memoir, namely “Jesuit”.

As a member of the Society of Jesus, Ted is thoroughly imbued with the spirit, the drive and the purpose of action, which marked their founder and model, St Ignatius, and still marks any person who

  • has come to know Jesus “the man who went about doing good”,
  • has accepted his invitation “come and see”
  • has allowed his Spirit to become the guiding light of his life.

All else in Ted’s life comes from his being a Jesuit through and through, as a man, a religious, a missionary priest and a social activist.

Ted is the Social Pioneer par excellence. Founder and Principal of the School of Social Work; Founder and Principal of St Peter’s School for “Children with little chance of education”; Founder of Ruwa Settlement Farm for Destitute Old People – “Help the Aged”, and lastly Founder of the AIDS Counseling Trust.

Lastly, Ted is an AIDS Activist.
He was one of the first to “read the signs of the times”. He most clearly recognized the threat posed by the outbreak of HIV infection. So, he began immediately to inform himself and other key people about the virus, – what it was, how it was transmitted and especially what could be done to confront it. He mobilized to:

  • Raise awareness,
  • Provide care for those already infected,
  • Initiate strategies for preventing its spread,
  • Advocate change of behaviour as a key response to the threat.

These are just a few glimpses into the person of Ted Rogers, his character, his life, his
Vocation, his mission and above all his work for those that were most in need.
A truly remarkable man!

The purpose of this launch is to whet your appetite, so that you avail of this opportunity to
acquire the full version of an extraordinary story. Happy reading

Thank you.

Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM
Archbishop of Durban