John Sentamu, 62, the Archbishop of York, is widely viewed as front-runner to replace Rowan Williams as the Archbishop of Canterbury when he leaves at the end of this year.
Dr Sentamu, the sixth of 13 brothers and sisters, and a former barrister and judge, came to the UK in 1974 having fled Uganda where he was a critic of the dictator Idi Amin.
Dubbed by some as "cleric of the people", he is known for his high-profile interventions.
In 2007 he cut up his dog collar on live television in a dramatic protest against Robert Mugabe's rule, vowing never to wear the symbol of his office again until the Zimbabwe president had been removed from power.
Dr Sentamu also once pitched a tent and camped in York Minster for a week, foregoing food, in solidarity with those who had suffered in the Middle East conflict.
The Archbishop has gained a reputation for supporting the armed forces - sky-diving to raise money for families of servicemen wounded or killed in Afghanistan - and for speaking out against bankers and traders responsible for the financial crisis.
He has called for the English to mark St George's Day properly on April 23, warning that the failure of England to rediscover its culture would lead only to greater political extremism.
Dr Sentamu's enthronement in 2005 featured a ceremony with African singing and dancing and contemporary music, with Dr Sentamu playing African drums during the service.
He was named Yorkshire Man of the Year in 2007.