Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, O.F.M., Archbishop of Durban, South Africa, Apostolic Administrator sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of Umzimkulu, was born on March8, 1941 in Swartberg, South Africa. He was ordained for the Franciscans on July 25, 1970 following philosophical and theological studies at the Catholic University of Louvain.
After learning Xhosa, he worked in the parish of Lusikisiki and did pastoral work in Tabankulu. In 1978 he was named Apostolic Administrator of Kokstad and appointed Bishop of the same see on November 29, 1980, receiving episcopal ordination on February 28, 1981. During the turbulent changes that marked the South African political scene, he was deeply involved in mediation and negotiation work along with other national and provincial Church leaders. He served as President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference from 1987 to 1994.
On May 29, 1992 he was promoted to Archbishop of Durban and on August 1, 1994 was named Apostolic Administrator sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of Umzimkulu. Since November 1999, he is President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC).
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the consistory of February 21, 2001, of the Title of S. Francesco d'Assisi in Acilia (St. Francis of Assisi in Acilia).
- Congregations: for the Evangelization of Peoples; for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life;
- Pontifical Council for Culture;
- Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Affairs of the Holy See;
- Special Council for Africa of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.