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Temba Maqubela

PLACE OF BIRTH: KING WILLIAM’S TOWN, EASTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA TITLE: HEADMASTER, GROTON SCHOOL IMPACT: BORN INTO A FAMILY OF

PLACE OF BIRTH: KING WILLIAM’S TOWN, EASTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA
TITLE: HEADMASTER, GROTON SCHOOL
IMPACT: BORN INTO A FAMILY OF EDUCATORS—HIS GRANDFATHER WAS A MENTOR TO NELSON MANDELA—Temba Maqubela fled South Africa in 1976 after his anti-apartheid protests placed his life in danger. He escaped to Botswana, and 10 years later he made his way to New York with his wife and 10-month-old baby. After a stint on welfare, Maqubela landed a job checking coats at the Museum of Natural History, then he became a teacher in the New York public school system and later a professor of chemistry at Phillips Academy Andover. He was named headmaster of Groton in 2013. The school, whose graduates include Franklin Roosevelt and Dean Acheson, was founded in 1884 by a Protestant minister and Boston Brahmin named Endicott Peabody. It remains one of the country’s most elite boarding schools. That its students, many of whom go on to enormous success and influence, are now guided by a black man and political refugee from South Africa is a powerful and inspiring thing. As Maqubela puts it, “This story could never have happened in any other country.”
Photo by Annie Card
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