At the beginning of June we said goodbye to Dawn Long, who had done wonderful work in reviving our ministry to children at the Cathedral. Her former employer, Lee Abbey, a Christian retreat, holiday and conference centre in Devon, UK, wrote to invite her to return and run their Tea Cottage over the English summer season. The invitation came with an air ticket! We praise God for this wonderful opportunity for Dawn, giving thanks for her ministry both here and at Lee Abbey, and ask for God’s blessings on her as she continues with that work. While some leave, others arrive; we welcomed new parishioners on 11 June, Paulina Quarty and Melville Ouma. It’s great to have you with us!
Congratulations to Theodore Duxbury, who has just heard that his proposed quality assurance project has been approved by the director of his company. The leadership qualities Theo showed when he was previously in the Cathedral Student Ministry, as Lay Minister and Parish Councillor, are continuing to be manifest in his working life. He says that “Quality assurance is at the core of ensuring the safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical products and healthcare services”. In other words, he is in the business of making sure that medicines are safe, and work as well as possible.
Congratulations also to Crystal Warren, whose children’s book ‘The Best Nest’ was launched at Amazwi on 1 June. And we welcome Crystal back to the ranks of Lay Ministers, which have been depleted since the time of lock-down.
The tragically early death of well-known journalist Eusebius McKaiser was a blow felt especially in Makhanda, the city of his birth, and at Rhodes University, his alma mater. The Rhodes University Chamber Choir was joined by Makhanda Kwantu Choir, both conducted by Kutlwano Kepadisa, in singing at the memorial ceremony for ‘Eubie’ at the Monument. Although the deceased said he was an atheist, he did not hesitate to have a ‘favourite hymn’! This was duly sung: ‘God of the mountain’. We give thanks for McKaiser’s life and contribution to the life of this country, and pray for all who mourn him.
Another unexpected death which shocked the local Anglican community was that of the Right Revd Moses Madywabe, Bishop of our neighbouring Diocese of Khahlamba, on 20 June. Bishop Moses had spent much of his ministry in the southern part of the then undivided diocese of Grahamstown, and so was well known to clergy and congregations in these parts. He was the second Bishop of Khahlamba, succeeding Bishop Mazwi Tisani in 2018. His funeral was conducted by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba in St Michael’s Queenstown on 30 June. We pray for his wife Thembisa, children and grandchildren, and also for the Diocese as they, like us, face the prospect of an Elective Assembly and a new shepherd for their flock.
For the first time in many years the Cathedral choristers were able to enjoy a Choir Camp, thanks to the kind co-operation of DSG, which now manages the former ‘Hillandale’ retreat centre. This took place over the Youth Day weekend, and was attended both by the Iimvumi and the Choral Scholars, who assisted with the running of the camp. It was the ideal opportunity to put in some concentrated work on music to be sung during the Arts Festival, as well as having fun. For more pictures, see our Gallery.
The climax of the weekend was on the Sunday morning, 18 June, at the Cathedral Sung Eucharist, when four of the Probationers were admitted and robed as full Choristers. Congratulations to Phelisa Matyholweni, Oyisa Vena, Emihle Matyholweni, and Luniko Pango. The Choral Scholars were also formally admitted at the same service. We are greatly blessed in our thriving music ministry. Choral Evensong has now become a regular event, twice a month at 5 p.m. on Sundays, sung by the Cathedral Consort. Like the Cathedral Choir, this is directed by Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa), with Peter Black at the organ.
The National Arts Festival, according to Kepa, is one of his favourite times of year. This is just as well, as it’s also a time of hectic activity for him. This year he was involved in the official opening ceremony of the Festival on 21 June, two concerts by Kwantu in the Cathedral as part of Spiritfest, and one at Amazwi on the Festival Fringe, a Choral Evensong and the Festival Eucharists in the Cathedral, as well as a Taizé service in St Patrick’s Church. Warm congratulations to the Kwantu Choir on receiving their second nomination for an Ovation Award, for their concert on the Fringe! Listen to them singing at their first concert in the Cathedral: ‘Usaote‘ and ‘Sthandwa seNtliziyo‘. The Cathedral Choir as well as Kwantu had the opportunity to sing with Young Artist of the Year Msaki at a sold-out concert in the Cathedral: ‘Bawo Khusela’ on 28 June, and in the ‘Embo Time Travel Experiment’ in the Guy Butler Theatre on the 30th – and there were still two more days of Festival to come in July! (More in our next issue.) For a taste of what is was like when the Choir worked together with Msaki, click here. All of those events which took part in the Cathedral were part of Spiritfest.
Other Spiritfest events involved Jonathan Hughes, who used his good connections with organists around the country to set up a series of three organ recitals in the Cathedral, by Isabelle van Rensburg from Pretoria, Christiaan Carstens from Humansdorp and Theo van Wyk, also from Pretoria. In view of the popularity of last year’s ‘Organ Crawl’ programme, Jon Hughes also welcomed people to join a one-hour Organ Crawl, which showcased two of the most historic organs in Makhanda, those in St Bartholomew’s Church and Wesley Methodist Chapel. They were treated to a short lecture by Jon about each organ, plus a few pieces which he played, and the opportunity to “see inside” these interesting old instruments. Jon’s Honours thesis is all about the Wesley Chapel organ. On the Spiritfest YouTube page you can listen to him playing a Minuet by Mozart on the Wesley organ, with Brendon Hoffman pumping the bellows.
Then Saeculum Aureum, which consists of members of the Cathedral Consort: Glyn and Jessica Lloyd-Jones, Charles Antrobus, Jon Hughes and Caitlin Webb, with John Jackson on the piano, treated a delighted audience in Christ Church to an evening of ‘Oratorio at Home’. It was amazing to hear choruses like ‘The heavens are telling’ from Haydn’s Creation, rendered so stirringly and exquisitely by just five singers!
Among many visitors to the Festival was Garmon Ashby, over on a rare visit from the USA. Garmon reports that he speaks regularly with his father, Bishop Godfrey, a former Dean of Grahamstown, who is living in the UK.
We give thanks for all manifestations of creativity seen in the Festival, as people celebrated their God-given talents and shared them with visitors from far and wide. It is a joy to have the Festival back again, and we pray that its benefits may continue to be felt throughout the town and beyond.
People and Places, June 2023
Ascension Day Eucharist
May was an even busier month than usual for our multi-talented Director of Music, Kutlwano Kepadisa. On the 12th and 13th he took two of his four choirs, the Makhanda Kwantu Choir and the Rhodes University Chamber Choir, to sing in the Choral Celebration Festival in the Feather Market Centre, Gqeberha. This did not stop him being back in the Cathedral to conduct the Cathedral Choir at the Sung Eucharist the following morning, and the Cathedral Consort at the Choral Evensong at 5 p.m. Listen to the Choir singing ‘King of Kings, Majesty‘ by Jarrod Cooper, with Head Chorister Siyolise Sandi as soloist at the morning service, and the Cathedral Consort singing the Agnus Dei from the Missa Secunda by Hans Leo Hassler in the evening. We are incredibly blessed to have not just one Cathedral Choir, but the Consort as well, and an organist in addition to a Director of Music, all of such high standard. On Ascension Day, 18 May, we held our customary evening Eucharist, with the Cathedral Consort leading the music, but with the additional challenge of load-shedding. The Mass setting was by Hans Leo Hassler, and the Agnus Dei can be heard on our website. On the subject of load-shedding, this is the reason why it has regretfully been decided to suspend the daily live-streaming of Morning and Evening Prayer.
Before the week was out, on Friday 19 May, three choirs assembled in the Cathedral to delight a good-sized audience, mainly drawn from Rhodes. These were the Rhodes Chamber Choir and Kwantu, together with the DSG-St Andrew’s College Chamber Choir. They sang a varied programme, sacred and secular, ancient and traditional, from spirituals to pop. And in common they had their conductor – our very own Kepa! Having heard them, it was no surprise that the schools’ Chamber Choir was awarded ATKV Gold in the Prestige Mixed Category section of the Applous Competition. Well done, Kepa and the choir!
We pray for the family of Revd Glen Craig, who died recently. Older parishioners will remember him as a beloved Minister at Trinity Presbyterian Church for many years, who spent his retirement at Bushman’s River and assisted at various congregations. We give thanks for his life, and for his commitment to Christ’s commandment “that they may be one.”
Our faithful Sacristan Audrey Conroy recently had an operation in Livingstone Hospital in Gqeberha. We give thanks that it was a success, and pray for her total recovery.
Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali held his last Ordination as Bishop of Grahamstown on Saturday 13 May at Bernard Mizeki Church in Scenery Park, East London. Among those ordained Deacon was Luvuyo Mvaphantsi, who has been licensed to assist at St Augustine’s Grahamstown. We pray for him, his wife Ikhona and the children as they embark on this new phase in life and ministry.
Dean Mzi Dyantyi is chairing the committee which is preparing the farewell events for Bishop Ebenezer. This met on 25 May, and the Dean also attended the Diocesan Guilds’ farewell, as well as a planning meeting with the Vicar General (Archdeacon B T Mfenyana) to ensure the smooth running of the Diocese during the Bishop’s Sabbatical. In addition, Dean Mzi attended the Chapter meeting, the funeral of Mrs Mazwai in East London, and the Diocesan Mothers’ Union Council Meeting in King William’s Town.
The Archdeaconries of Albany and Grahamstown gathered on the morning of Pentecost Sunday, 28 May, for their official farewell to Bishop Ebenezer. This began with Sung Eucharist in the Cathedral. In his sermon Bishop Ebenezer referred to Synods, those gatherings of Church representatives, and pointed out that the intention was to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, rather than to behave like a Parliament! At the luncheon which followed in the City Hall, various speakers paid tribute to the Bishop’s contribution to the Diocese. For more pictures, see our Gallery.
Also to be leaving soon is our Sub-Dean and Chancellor of the Cathedral, Melany Adonis, who has been appointed Rector of the parish of Formosa, Plettenberg Bay, in the Diocese of George, from 1 August. We hold her and Hilton in prayer as they prepare for the move. We pray earnestly that God will raise up the right person to fulfil the many roles Melany has taken on during her time at the Cathedral, thinking especially of the ministry to students, and chaplaincy to Good Shepherd School. With Maggy Clarke moving to Port Alfred the Cathedral media will need to be in new hands from August. Who is itching to run a website, or a Facebook page, as part of the mission of the Church? Do speak to the Dean. We are a community of many gifts, which all come from the same Spirit, as the Pentecost readings remind us. An initiative which we can all take part in is the outreach to McKaizer Old Age Home. Parishioners are invited to contribute gifts of tinned food, including jam and fruit. These can be left at the parish office.
Joy Tandy is among those making a difference at Good Shepherd School
As we reel from the news that 81% of South African Grade 4 pupils cannot read for meaning, Cathy Meiklejohn has gathered a group of ten retired women who spend an hour each Thursday morning at Good Shepherd School with the Grade Fours. They read to them in groups of four, listen to them reading, chat with them and have fun. The children look forward eagerly to these sessions, and so do the “grannies”!
When the potholes, lack of water, and the load-shedding are getting us down, we can thank God for the particular gifts he has given to artists. And the annual showcase of the Arts, the National Arts Festival, begins on 22 June. Spiritfest will once again be in the midst of it, witnessing to Christ, and the Cathedral will once again be a key venue. In the Cathedral there will be two concerts by the Makhanda Kwantu Choir, no less than three organ recitals by visiting organists, a Choral Evensong, and of course two splendid Sung Eucharist services on the Sundays. Jonathan Hughes will present a mini-Organ Crawl in Wesley Church and St Bart’s, and St Bart’s will also be the setting for a concert of ‘Purcell Plus’ arranged by Peter Black, while Saeculum Aureum will use Christ Church to present an ‘Oratorio at Home’, and there will be a Taizé service in St Patrick’s. There’s also Meditation in St Patrick’s, Guided Prayer, thought-provoking Talks, and a fascinating Exhibition about the life and work of Sister Gertrude de Henningsen, the 19th century ‘Nun who Changed the Town’. Do join the ecumenical Walk of Prayer and Witness on the last Saturday morning of the Festival, with banners and uniforms if available. Hymn sheets will be provided, and the hymns are carefully chosen to be well known! For more details see the Spiritfest web page.
People and Places, May 2023
On Palm Sunday, 2 April, the congregation was able to gather on Church Square before the 9:30 service to process into the Cathedral with palms. This seemed especially exciting as it had not happened since 2019! One year of pandemic lock-down had been followed by two successive rainy Palm Sundays. A Taizé service followed in the evening, unaffected by load-shedding as all it required was candles and the piano. You can see more photos in our Gallery. Listen here to the choir singing the Palm Sunday Antiphon, as well as Igama liga Jesu Krestu.
The beautiful liturgies of Holy Week followed, this time with no masks or social distancing. On Maundy Thursday at the evening Eucharist the Dean washed the feet of twelve volunteers, the Reserved Sacrament was carried to the Altar of Repose, and the Altar was stripped. On Good Friday the Choir sang a number of anthems throughout the moving noon-tide service when we contemplated our Lord’s crucifixion and death. These included ‘Were you there‘ in an arrangement by Bob Chilcott. And the next day volunteers young and old came together to beautify the Cathedral for Easter.
On Easter Day the New Fire was lit on a misty morning on Church Square, and we processed into the dark Cathedral, to be handed candles and listen to the singing of the Exultet. You can listen to an extract here, and see more photos. The Right Reverend Ebenezer Ntlali preached the Easter sermon for the last time before his retirement as Bishop of Grahamstown. We give thanks for his ministry, and pray for him and the Diocese, at this time of change.
We rejoice with Dean Mzi and Lilitha, who celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary on 24 April, and give thanks for their ministry among us. Don’t forget that in addition to his duties at the Cathedral, during April Mzi not only attended Diocesan Synod in East London from the 19th to the 22nd, but was also involved, with Bishop Ebenezer, in all the preparations for this major meeting of clergy and lay people, which happens about once in two years. There was the Chrism Eucharist on Maundy Thursday at which the clergy renewed their vows in the Cathedral, and the funeral of Dean Sandi of Umzi Wase Topiya on Easter Monday, also in the Cathedral. Towards the end of the month the Dean conducted a wedding in East London. During the week after Easter he was diagnosed with pneumonia, but with this hectic programme it was not until the Freedom Day/May Day weekend that he was able to take a few days off. We pray for his restoration to complete health.
Please pray for the family of Jimmy Peters, who died recently. His son Preston and daughter-in-law Nicolena are grateful to the Cathedral family for their prayers and support for their dad during his last illness. Prayers are also asked for Tim Stones and his father Prof Chris Stones. Tim’s mother Annette died in Somerset West on 18 April. Her funeral service will take place in the Somerset West Cathedral on 12 May at 10:00. It will be live-streamed, and the link will be provided on our Facebook page.
Another family needing prayer is the Walwyns. Gareth and Shiloh’s younger child Kitifer, named after his beloved late grandfather Chris, has been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, before even reaching his first birthday. Please ask for God’s strengthening support on them all on the road ahead.
Maggy Clarke is giving thanks that a brief nasty experience did not turn into anything worse, and for the deliverance that was at hand. One Tuesday morning at about 9:30 as she let herself into her house, an intruder followed, knocked her to the floor and held her down. By the grace of God she was enabled to shout, loudly, and her prayers were answered when her next-door neighbour heard and sent her adult son to investigate. To cut a long story short, when the son came in through the front door, the intruder fled through the back door, climbing over the wall and electric fence to run away in the street. The electricity was off at the time because of load-shedding. Maggy had her cellphone stolen, and a remote which opens the gate to her complex, but she was uninjured and mostly overwhelmed with gratitude for the goodness of God, neighbours, Hi-Tec, the Police and her family in Port Alfred, who all rallied round. On the following Sunday, the Psalm, 116, began with these words: “I love the Lord because he heard my voice: the voice of my supplication”. They could not have been more appropriate! Later this year Maggy plans to move to Port Alfred to be closer to her daughter Helen and family.
On Saturday 22 April the Community of the Resurrection Associates met, and welcomed Paddy Glover, former Bishop of Bloemfontein, to preach and preside at their Eucharist. Sue Hennessy, who was visiting from the UK, gave a fascinating talk about her recent holiday in Vietnam, when she travelled along the Red River in a boat, stopping along the way to visit interesting and beautiful places.
At the 9:30 Eucharist on 23 April it was time to say farewell to the Whitfords, Penny and Clive, who were about to leave Makhanda to live with their doctor daughter on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Their connection with this town goes back a long way. Clive sang as a treble in the Cathedral Choir when at school, and later as a bass while a student. After he and Penny had spent a lifetime as teachers, both in South Africa and in Namibia, they decided to retire to Grahamstown (as it then was) in 2004. Their arrival at the Cathedral brought many blessings to us. We grateful to Clive for the management of the sound system, and training of those who operate it, as well as for the information leaflets about the Cathedral which he devised. These are always available near the West door for visitors to pick up, and give themselves a self-guided tour. Due to Clive’s insistence and initiative, they are offered in six different languages (in alphabetical order, Afrikaans, English, Deutsch. Français, Nederlands, and isiXhosa)!
As a trained and experienced music teacher, Penny not only joined the Cathedral Choir. She also stepped into the breach and trained the Choir when there was a hiatus between Directors of Music. But her lasting legacy was the marimba band, the St Michael’s Marimbas. Soon after arriving, Penny began to teach the marimbas to interested parishioners of all ages, and not long afterwards they began accompanying certain items in the Mass, and playing voluntaries at the end of services. Within a year they were a popular feature on Spiritfest, the Churches’ outreach in the National Arts Festival, always performing in the Cathedral. In some years the group included boys from the Eluxolweni Shelter, and as a result later Eluxolweni also started its own marimba band. Penny’s 12-year involvement with the players went far beyond musical training, and included a great variety of other activities from counselling to transport. She handed the group over to Asakhe Cuntsulana in 2016. We give thanks for all these gifts which Penny and Clive have shared with us, and pray that they will be richly blessed with their family in Glenashley.
People and Places, April 2023
Once again the city thrilled to its annual celebration of music and unity, when youthful voices joined together in the Masicule concerts in the Guy Butler Theatre on 12 and 13 March. And once again our Director of Music extraordinaire, Kutlwano Kepadisa, was in the midst of it. He directed two of the many choirs of young people which took part, the DSG-St Andrew’s College Chamber Choir and his own Makhanda Kwantu Choir. He also conducted the incredibly moving massed choir of some 500 voices, which was joined by visiting soloist Dumza Maswana. The energy, musicality and discipline of these young performers was amazing, and the packed audiences could not get enough of them. Members of the Cathedral Choir were involved, either in their various school ensembles, or in the Kwantu Choir.
Shortly afterwards Kepa went to Cape Town to attend the first South African National Conductors’ Convention. He had the chance to hear amazing presentations from groundbreaking local practitioners young and old, and met international giants Ēriks Ešenvalds and Dr André Thomas.
Farewell to Kundai Jimu
At the 9:30 Eucharist on Sunday 12 February, the Cathedral congregation said goodbye to Kundai Jimu, who has been a student at Rhodes for six years, and is now returning home to Harare, Zimbabwe, having completed her Masters in French. Kundai has been a stalwart member of the Cathedral Student Ministry, and a Lay Minister, and we give thanks for all that she has meant to us. We ask God’s blessing on her as she awaits her results, and sees what the next stage in her life will bring.
On 19 March the Cathedral celebrated ‘Mothering Sunday’, the 4th Sunday in Lent. At the 9:30 service Dawn Long, Katie Appollis, and the Children’s Church shared some of the lessons they had been learning together since the beginning of the year, from God’s creation to Jesus in the wilderness, and our own ‘wilderness’ experiences. Mothers in the congregation, and those who fulfil a mothering role, were spoiled with little gifts, and after the service the Mothers’ Union shared a bountiful tea with everyone.
After due consideration, the parish took the decision that in future the 9:30 a.m. Sung Eucharist services would no longer be live-streamed from March 2023. Load-shedding and other technical difficulties have often resulted in last-minute disappointment. Services of Choral Evensong, and weekday Morning and Evening Prayer, will continue to be live-streamed, load-shedding permitting. We are grateful to all who have acquired new technical skills, and devoted them to enabling the live stream to go out, to reach a wider congregation.
We have been blessed with some lovely evening services during March, led by the Cathedral Consort. On 19 March the service had an emphasis on the Feast of St Patrick (17 March) and on the following Sunday evening we commemorated the Annunciation. You can hear a recording of the Consort singing their anthem on 17 March ‘The deer’s Cry’ by Arvo Pärt.
Even between Sundays the Cathedral has not been silent, and we were able to host the annual Easter Celebration services of the Diocesan School for Girls and St Andrew’s College, which took place on 28 and 29 March. Even load-shedding could not stop the music, when the lights went out at short notice on the Wednesday evening. The orchestra played on, and the singers sang, by the light of their cell phones. Congratulations to Kepa and all the musicians!
We welcome back Satish and Soosan Babu after their visit to India for the wedding of their son Mathew, and also Leela Pienaar, who has been to visit her family in Australia on the occasion of her daughter’s 40th birthday. She reported it was her “best holiday ever”! Kay Marx, when visiting Cape Town recently, met Margaret Barker, widow of our former Dean Roy Barker. Margaret sent her love to those who remember her. Peter Steyn, the husband of Ros and Roger Embling’s daughter Katherine, has been quite seriously ill. Ros and Roger went to Gauteng to be with them for a while when he was in Intensive Care. He has now been discharged, but must take it easy at home. We pray for his complete recovery.
The sudden onset of autumn has seen a number of parishioners catching infections, and some clergy too. Hilton and Melany Adonis both had bronchitis. We give thanks that Hilton has now recovered, and continue to pray for Revd Melany, who has been booked off until 12 April.
Our neighbouring parish, St Augustine’s, is mourning the death of one of their clergy, the Revd Ndzondeleli Yili. And Bishop Ebenezer’s cousin Zolile Ntlali, died recently. He was formerly Diocesan Administrator for the Anglican Diocese of Khahlamba , a position he held for ten years since its inauguration. We give thanks for their lives, and pray for their families.
Among engagements which the Dean had to fulfil beyond the parish boundaries during March were: chairing a meeting of the Biko Bowcott Trust, attending a meeting of the St Andrew’s College Council, meeting with the Bishop about the Fellowship of Vocation and later chairing a Selection Conference, and meeting with the Deputy Registrar of the Diocese about CCMA matters. Then there were a number of services outside the parish: the marriage of Nceba January at St Andrew’s College, the funeral of a clergy wife in East London, the funeral of Revd Yili in the Cathedral, and preaching and presiding at a service at the College of the Transfiguration. He also attended the COTT Graduation ceremony, as well as the Institution of the Revd Luthando Madiba, formerly on the Cathedral staff, as Rector of St Gregory’s Mdantsane.
Congratulations to all whose hard work was rewarded at the recent Rhodes Graduations. In particular, we congratulate Azelia Harker and Nqobani Dabengwa, who received his Bachelors in Pharmacy, and is continuing his studies at Rhodes. Anelisiwe Msweli got her BCom, majoring in Accounting and Economics, and is currently doing a post-graduate diploma in Business Management. Nolundi Gaju received a BCom, and is now working towards a post-graduate diploma in Accounting. Zanele Meth’s BA included a distinction in Music Theory and Analysis, and is now doing her Honours in Music. Our churchwarden Ronaldo Burger was awarded a Diploma in Finance Management, which every parish must feel is a particularly useful and appropriate qualification for a Churchwarden. Well done, everyone!
Nolundi Gaju, Anelisiwe Msweli and Zanele Meth
March ended with the traditional work-party on the Friday afternoon before Palm Sunday in the Chapter House. A cross-section of parish volunteers, from grandmothers to clergy to children, and always including the College of the Transfiguration students, put their varied levels of skill to work making a great pile of palm crosses ready for the Palm Sunday services – and had fun in the process.
We enter Holy Week with reverence and anticipation, looking forward eagerly to the hope of the Resurrection.
People and Places, March 2023
Congratulations to Peter Black, who has now been formally appointed by the Dean, Parish Council and Director of Music to be our Associate Organist. His tall figure and outstanding musical talents have become familiar to us over the months, and we look forward to hearing him play at our principal services on Sundays and special festivals. We welcome him on to the Cathedral team, and ask God’s blessing on his ministry with us. We thank Jonathan Hughes for all the hard work he put in over three years as Organ Scholar, and more recently as assistant to the Director of Music. He has now stepped down from these duties to concentrate on the final year of his BMus degree, majoring in Musicology and Organ Performance. The high standard of his performance on the organ was displayed on 25 February, when he and Cameron Luke gave a recital on the historic organ of St Bartholomew’s Church. It is good that Jonathan is still a member of the Cathedral Consort, which led the singing at a special Evensong featuring the poetry of George Herbert, on 26 February. Bayanda Mthetho, a former Junior Organ Scholar who remained on our organists’ roster throughout 2022, has now transferred from Rhodes to UCT to continue his music studies. Xolisa Foley has also started at UCT, studying psychology. We rejoice that both have found places in UCT accommodation, and wish them well in their studies.
The Cathedral Mothers’ Union held elections on 23 February, and we congratulate Mama Lilitha Dyantyi on being elected as President, to succeed Mama Kwezi Gabavana. We give thanks for Mama Kwezi’s leadership over the past years, and pray for Lilitha as she begins her three-year term in this important post.
The friendly face of Zikhona Mbonde has greeted people visiting the Cathedral office for over a year now, but the time has come for her to move on. She was serving an 18-month internship, as part of her training at East Cape Midlands College, in order to qualify for her Diploma in Office Management. On 1 February she started work at Nathaniel Nyaluza High School. Her work there includes administration, but she is also teaching Creative Arts to Grade 8 and Technology to Grade 9. We thank God for her efficiency and hard work while she was part of the parish team, congratulate her on her new appointment, and pray that she will be blessed in the future.
On Sunday 5 February the Cathedral welcomed those who teach and those who learn, and parents too, from all over the city, for the annual ‘Back to School’ service, to pray for the school year ahead, and promise to give of their best. Choirs taking part came from St Andrew’s College, the Diocesan School for Girls and Nombulelo Senior Secondary School, as well as the Cathedral Iimvumi and the Makhanda Kwantu Choir, together with the David Wynne Music School String Orchestra. The Cathedral Director of Music, Kutlwano Kepadisa, was the conductor. During the service the new Principal of Good Shepherd Primary School, Mr Thulani Wana, was inducted into his post with prayer. The address was by the Cathedral Chancellor Melany Adonis, who is also Chaplain to Good Shepherd School. Listen to the combined choir, and the enthusiastic congregation of young folk, singing ‘Sizohamba naye‘.
The College of the Transfiguration has also begun its new term, and two COTT students have been assigned to the Cathedral for 2023. Jason Poole comes all the way from All Saints’ Durbanville, in the Diocese of Saldanha Bay. Tracey Amein is required to spend 2023, the last year of her BTh studies, in residence at COTT in order to gain pastoral experience, and this means leaving her family behind in her home parish of St Luke’s Pietermaritzburg, in the Diocese of Natal. We welcome them, and pray that their ministry with us, and their studies, will be richly blessed.
It is exciting to see new faces in the congregation. On 26 February Dean Mzi formally admitted two new members into the Cathedral family, Pat Cilliers, who is resident at Hayton Place, and Nicole de Vos, granddaughter of May. A warm welcome to them, and many blessings!
We rejoice with Soosan and Satish Babu, whose son Mathew was married to Jisha Jacob on Thursday 9 February in Manarcad, India, and pray for the happy couple. John and Gail Jackson celebrated the 40th anniversary of their wedding on 5 February. Congratulations and all good wishes to them!
Parishioners who have been around a good while will remember the Revd David Toomey and his wife Lindsey, from the USA, who ministered here. During February Lindsey had major heart surgery to correct a defect, and thankfully it was successful. Although she and David are going home to Boston this week, she is going to have to take it easy for some months. Please pray for her complete recovery.
The Revd Denise Herbert, formerly on the Cathedral staff, has been living and working in Scotland for many years. (She points out that is part of the United Kingdom, but is not the same as England!) It was good to see her back in Makhanda for a short time in February, when she could visit the Raphael Centre with which she has a long-standing relationship, and see some old friends. Although she no longer has a parish, she says that priests never retire. To prove her point: she had to hurry back to her Scottish Diocese to attend their Synod, because she holds the position of Diocesan Safety Officer.
News from Theodore Duxbury, who played a leadership role for several years in our Student Ministry, and who is now living and working in Gauteng, is that he has just been appointed as the Quality Assurance Pharmacist for the GEMS Pharmacy Network Management Provider. Our congratulations go to Theo, and our prayers as he undertakes this responsible job, which includes ensuring that the pharmacy adheres to quality requirements, and the investigation of any possible fraud, waste or abuse.
We continue to pray for those who have Covid-19. Three years have passed since we first heard of this disease, which became the pandemic that turned the world upside down. Now we can give thanks that South Africans need no longer be terrified by this virus. Booster immunisations are available again at Settlers’ Hospital, and all who are eligible are encouraged to take advantage of them, and keep safe!
As always Dean Mzi has been kept busy with diocesan duties as well as those in the parish. During February there was a meeting the Chapter (which advises the Bishop), and the installation of Mr Tom Hamilton as the 20th Headmaster of St Andrews College. He attended a meeting of diocesan rectors in East London, and the wedding of one of the clergy, Sipokazi Matini Rector of Zwelitsha, to Mr Tembekile Antoni, as well as the funeral of the former Dean of Mthatha, Canon Nonkonzo Xintolo, and a meeting of the Biko Bowcott Trust, which he chairs.
Those who remember the “Pancake Pandemonium” of pre-Covid years might have been surprised at the relatively quiet and orderly state of St George’s Hall on Shrove Tuesday evening, 21 February. No long queues, no hassled assistants rushing back and forth. But in the midst of a long session of load-shedding, we were grateful to all those who had lent gas stoves, which were kept busy on the stage as veterans and new recruits alike turned out pancakes at speed. Meanwhile, inside the kitchen the heat was on, as those pancakes were filled and wrapped, ready to be collected by those who had already chosen their flavours, placed their orders in advance, and even paid online. Many thanks to the Mothers’ Union and Sally Terry, and to all those who contributed with gifts, talents and hard work, to making this evening the success it always is, and raising funds for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. For more pictures, see our Gallery.
On the following day we began the Season of Lent with our solemn evening Eucharist for Ash Wednesday. A sombre start was forced upon us by Stage Six load-shedding, and the Cathedral grew increasingly dark until after the sermon. Just as the congregation had received the crosses on their foreheads, ‘signed in ashes’, the lights came on – perhaps symbolic of God’s forgiveness of our sins? It was a joy to see and hear a full choir of 22 young people, ranging from Choral Scholars down to the youngest Probationers, who were singing in a Cathedral service for the very first time. And at the same service Sammy Dyantyi, son of Dean Mzi and Lilitha, served as Boat Boy, also for the first time. Congratulations and blessings on these eager youngsters! Listen to the Choir singing, on the first Sunday in Lent, the anthem ‘Sign us with Ashes‘ by William P Rowan.
May God bless us all this Lent.
People and Places, February 2023
The New Year was still very new when Dean Mzi Dyantyi and Lilitha headed for Cape Town, responding to invitations from former Cathedral people to take part in some special family weddings. First, on Saturday 7 January in St Thomas’s Rondebosch, there was the marriage of Nicola Hunter, daughter of our former Dean Andrew and former Cathedral Chancellor Claire, to Nicholas Wilkinson (also known as Wilko). These two love-birds had been going out together for some eight years, having met while still at school. Dean Mzi celebrated the Nuptial Mass, while Mary-Ellen Ashcroft, a dear family friend of the Hunters from the USA, performed the marriage and gave the address. And our Director of Music Kutlwano Kepadisa was also invited to take part, as Cantor. The moment when he led off the “Masithi, Amen” and the congregation responded, was one for goose-bumps, even for those only listening via the live-stream. And the ovation he received after his third song during Communion was well deserved. There are more photos in our Gallery.
The very next day, Sunday 8 January, Dean Mzi was in Stellenbosch to officiate and preach at the marriage of Jeanette Eve’s grandson Malcolm Lake to Zarah Usher at the Cavalli Wine Estate. The Dean is seen here with his wife Lilitha, Jeanette and the happy couple.
A present parishioner who also had the joy of a family wedding in Cape Town was Dawn Long, whose daughter Caitlyn was married on 14 January to Juan Levin. The ceremony took place on a luxury yacht belonging to a friend. We ask God’s blessing on all these couples in their lives together.
For some months we were praying for the Revd Ndom Madyibi of St Saviour’s East London, a cousin of Thami Tisani. He has now passed away, and we pray for his family. His funeral was on 27 January in Viedgeville, Mthatha, conducted by Bishop Ebenezer, and the Dean and Lilitha were present to support the family. We pray also for Jayden Brandt, whose grandfather has died in Pretoria.
Philip and Courtney Burnett
Parishioners who have been with us for some decades will remember Philip Burnett, who as a young man (although already grey-haired!) played a big part in the Cathedral music prior to the arrival of Barbara and Wilf Stout. He and his Californian wife Courtney recently visited Makhanda, and met John Jackson, who learned that Philip has now earned a PhD from Bristol University, focussing on the impact of Anglican missionaries on the music of isiXhosa-speaking worshippers in the Eastern Cape in the 19th Century. To follow that, he has been awarded a post-doctoral fellowship from York University. He and Courtney, an archaeologist, plan to revisit Makhanda every 18 months or so.
At the end of January we said farewell to Thembi Myolwa, who will be sorely missed at the Department of Home Affairs, as well as at the Cathedral. We wish her every blessing as she retires to East London. It is good to know that she will be keeping up her connection with the Grahamstown Archdeaconry, and returning here for meetings.
Jane Bradshaw has been so much part of Cathedral and Makhanda life for so many years that it seems unthinkable that she should leave. But now she has indeed left, to live in Johannesburg, closer to her family. Mama Jane, as she is affectionately known to so many, was born into a local family and educated here. While living in East London she heard an unmistakable call from God to start a school for street children, and so Amasango was born, first in East London, later branching out in Barkly East and Makhanda. After her move here she became deeply involved in the “shelter” which we know as Eluxolweni, only handing over as Manager in 2020. It was the late Suzanne Peterson who welcomed Jane into the Cathedral family, and for many years she was on the Parish Council, for some time also serving as a Churchwarden. She was licensed as a Lay Minister in 2013, and ever since then she specialised in the Prayer Ministry which takes place in the Lady Chapel during Communion, where it helps so much that she is fluent in isiXhosa. Jane made many friends through her delight in gardens, convening the Garden stall at successive St George’s Fairs. Keenly interested in local affairs, she accepted nomination to the local municipal council as a Makana Citizens’ Front candidate, and indeed was elected, although subsequent disagreements within that party made it impossible for her to take up her seat.
Both Jane’s married children live in Johannesburg, as do all her grandchildren. They have been concerned about her health, and they are all concerned for Benji, her daughter’s ten-year-old son for whom we have been praying. This is a time for the family to look after each other, and the Lord has made the path smooth for Jane. Her house was sold without her even needing to advertise it, and she is moving into a retirement complex in Highlands North with extensive grounds, where her gardening skills are welcomed. She left on 24 January, driven by her daughter. Two days earlier, at the 9:30 Eucharist on Sunday 22nd, she was prayed for and hands laid upon her. The Collect for that day could have been written especially for her: “O God of new beginnings: give us courage to turn and joyfully follow you into new adventures of faithful service; through Jesus Christ our light and our salvation.” Amen! And so we pray for Jane, and for us all as we set out in this new year.
People and Places, January 2023
It was a tremendous thrill to see the Cathedral once again filled with a colourful crowd of worshippers, gathered from all over the Diocese, when Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali ordained 13 priests on 10 December. Among them were our own two deacons, Siphokazi Njokweni and Luyanda Fete. The preacher on this occasion was our Dean, Mzinzisi Dyantyi, whose stirring challenge to evangelism was addressed not only to the ordinands, but to us all. We give thanks to God for this wonderful occasion, and pray for blessings on the ministries of the new priests. This will probably be Bishop Ebenezer’s last Ordination of Priests as our Bishop, as he has announced that he will be retiring with effect from 31 July 2023. He was consecrated and installed as Bishop of Grahamstown on 20 September 2008, so he has served as our Bishop for over 14 years. We thank God for his ministry among us, and pray for him and his dear wife Noncedo as they prepare to leave the Diocese. For more pictures, see our Gallery.
The Cathedral Consort sang the Michael Haydn Requiem again, this time in full as a concert performance, on 1 December in St Bartholomew’s Church. Our Director of Music Kutlwano Kepadisa was invited to involve his community choir, Kwantu, in a full-scale concert with international participants. This took place in the Monument on 5 December, honouring the legacy of Nelson Mandela. The choir took part in the premier of a choral work, written by Ed Sarath in Madiba’s honour: ‘His Day is Done’, with a full orchestra plus fascinating instruments from around the African continent, and in the presence of the composer. The only pity was that despite the reasonable price of tickets, and with tickets even being given away as the day drew near, the auditorium was only half full. Those who did attend, had a wonderful experience they would not have wanted to miss.
Nearer to Christmas, Glyn Lloyd-Jones’s a cappella group ‘Saeculum Aureum’ also gave a concert in St Bart’s. This drew a small audience, but from a wider area than the regular Cathedral congregation, and included a couple from Kokstad – the Revds Barbara and David Lloyd-Jones, parents of Glyn! It was good to have them here for a few days’ visit before they took Glyn and Jessica back with them for Christmas.
Other families have been welcoming members from even further afield. Ann and Peter Stockwell have had the joy of a visit from their daughter Clare and her husband James Haddrell, and there has been a gathering of the Antrobus clan, with Geoff and Margie’s elder daughter Helen Pfister coming from New Zealand with her daughter Joy, and their younger daughter Shirley Horan bringing her whole family: husband Mark, and sons Thomas, Daniel and Keith. (Some may have recognised these young fellows as Shepherds in the Crib Service!) Also from New Zealand came Tamara, the granddaughter of Andrew and Heather Tracey, for an extended visit, and she was joined by her younger sister Bethany for a shorter time over Christmas and New Year.
Before Christmas, Clive and Penny Whitford travelled to KwaZulu-Natal for the wedding of their grandson Josh to Sarah, their first grandchild to be married. We give thanks for this joyful occasion, and ask God’s blessing on the happy couple.
Asakhe Cuntsulana, who led our marimba group for a number of years so ably, has now accepted the challenge to move on from Makanda to pursue his musical career in East London. In a message on Facebook he wrote, “I embark on this new journey, with prospects, hopes and aspirations for the future unfolding in our time. I will miss the community, I will miss the town.” To read the whole of his message click here. We ask God’s blessing on Asakhe in this next phase of his life’s journey, giving thanks for the gifts that he shared with us at the Cathedral.
Our prayers are with the Revd Lunga Dongwana, on the death of his aunt, Nolungile Dongwana, and with Clive Whitford, whose brother Graham died in KwaZulu-Natal. Tragically, Zanozuko Sikampula, eldest brother of Lilitha Dyantyi, was found dead near his Engcobo home on 26 December. The Dean conducted the funeral on New Year’s Eve. We pray for Lilitha and the Sikampula and Dyantyi families.
Our prayers are asked for one of our most senior Cathedral parishioners, Millicent Armitage, who has been in hospital.
During December we remembered in prayer all those boys who had gone “into the bush”, to go through the rite of passage of Initiation School. This time we prayed especially for Bayanda Mthetho, who had been a little boy soprano in the Makana Choir School, then a Junior Organ Scholar until he matriculated, and who up to the present, as a Rhodes B. Mus. student, has been one on our panel of organists at the Cathedral. On 23 December the great moment came, when he emerged, a boy no longer, but a young man, and given a new name according to custom – in his case, Daniel. The Cathedral was well represented at the ceremony which took place at his home, by Dean Mzinzisi Dyantyi and Assistant Priest Luyanda Fete, Kutlwano Kepadisa the Director of Music, and several members of the congregation. We give thanks for the safe return of this young man who means so much to us, and pray for him in his life ahead.
Christmas celebrations at the Cathedral opened with the Nine Lessons and Carols on Sunday 18 December, sadly without the organ to accompany the choir as load-shedding interfered, but with Peter Black in fine form on the piano. On Christmas Eve children and families gathered at the Cathedral for the annual Crib Service and “instant Nativity Play”, with a quartet to accompany the carols, the Narrators being two young Cathedral parishioners, Jayden Brand and Emmy Matsholweni. Bishop Ebenezer celebrated and preached at our 8.30 Eucharist on Christmas Day.
News from the Western Cape is that our former Dean, Andrew Hunter, continues to keep fit and enjoy paddling his kayak. His latest achievement on 17 December was completing the Cape Point Challenge, over a distance of almost 50 km, in just over 5½ hours. He and Claire are looking forward with great excitement to the wedding of their daughter Nicola to Nick (a.k.a. Wilko) Wilkinson on 7 January. We pray for the Hunter family as they prepare for that big day, and promise to tell you more about it in our next ‘People and Places’!