Black women in South Africa know on many levels that "black lives do not matter," Thabo Makgoba, the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, said in a sermon delivered in Germany on Sunday.
Makgoba was speaking during celebrations of 500 years of reformation.
He led a church service in Wittenberg where Martin Luther apparently nailed ten points, written in 1517, to the door of the local cathedral, sparking a protestant reformation.
More than 100 000 people were expected to attend the event.
'Black lives do not matter'
In his sermon, Makgoba said theologian Delores Williams, who played a major role in developing womanist theology, reminded people that biblical figure Hagar had faced a predicament involving poverty, exploitation, rape and domestic violence.
"For any African, Hagar's story is deeply etched into both our historical DNA and our contemporary experience," he said.
"Black people generally but particularly black women in South Africa know exactly the same realities. They know that in so many contexts, 'black lives do not matter.'"
Makgoba said there were similarities between the history of South Africa and Germany,
"The histories of both of our countries - that of Germany in the Nazi era, and of South Africa in the apartheid era--are records of unspeakable cruelty. But they are also histories of God's unfailing faithfulness."
He described Luther as "one of the true fathers of democratic freedom."
"His questioning of authority ignited and illuminated a civilisation that became the catalyst for millions leaving the Dark Ages...
"He mobilised millions, in an unstoppable movement, to embrace the right to participate. He made it safe to want to be part of something bigger than ourselves."
Makgoba said the Reformation which Luther initiated was a defining moment.
He said it was still relevant.
"Interpreted in today's context, it can become our guide, our inspirational GPS, our global positioning system for the next 500 years."
Dreams of unlimited and equal access to education
Makkgoba referred to Martin Luther King Junior who famously spoke about a dream for his country.
"Like King, I have a dream for the world: that one day soon all the narcissistic, nationalist, isolationist ramblings of our current times will disappear. I have a dream that instead there will arise a global awareness that we are of one humanity.
"I have a dream that we will all sit together to decide: 'What is in the best interests not of this or that group, but of all of society?' I have a dream that your children, and mine, will one day live in an Africa and in a world that has an abundance of unlimited and equal access to education, to health care, to water and sanitation and to economic opportunities."
He urged people to help his dream to become a reality.
"Will you, young people and older people, help me realise that dream? Please help me."