Makhanda

People and Places

People and Places is compiled by Maggy Clarke. Extracts from People and Places may be reproduced if author is acknowledged.

Please send items of news to her at: webmaster@grahamstowncathedral.org.

People and Places, December 2022

The Mothers’ Union of Grahamstown Archdeaconry gathered on Sunday 6 November to honour their clergy with a Day of Prayer. This began at the 9:30 service in the Cathedral, when a number of MU members were presented with Certificates for having served 25 years – or longer! Mama Linda Nyarhashe took the prize for the longest service in the Mothers’ Union. The Mothers then moved on to St George’s Hall, which was beautifully decorated in the MU colours. The clergy and parishioners were invited to join in prayer and song, and to listen to the keynote speaker, the Diocesan MU President, Mama Anna Mangaliso. The meeting concluded with a delicious lunch. More pictures can be seen on our Gallery page.

   

The same weekend our energetic Director of Music, Kutlwano Kepadisa, went to Stellenbosch for a training day with André van der Merwe, director of the University Choir there. On the following morning he joined Andrew Hunter, our former Dean, at his morning Eucharist at St Faith’s Plumstead, before he had to fly back to Makhanda in time for the All Souls’ evening service. At this beautiful Eucharist the Cathedral Consort sang Michael Haydn’s Missa Pro Defuncto Archiepiscopo Sigismundo, and candles were lit in memory of dear ones who had died.

The following Sunday evening, 13 November, the Cathedral Consort sang a Choral Evensong in remembrance of those who have died in war. The Canticles were by Thomas Weelkes (Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis), and the Responses by Smith of Durham. The Anthem was ‘Greater love hath no man’ by Anne Dudley. The preacher was John Jackson, whose thought-provoking homily can be read here.

 On 20 November Dean Mzinzisi Dyantyi admitted the Parish Councillors who had been elected at our Annual Vestry meeting on 18 September. Seen here are Katie Appollis, Rodney Bridger, Mzwandile Bikitsha, Ian Meiklejohn and Nomakwezi Gabavana. Thembi Mjola, Wendy Mfazwe and Churchwarden Renaldo Burger were unable to be present, and were admitted in absentia.

 

Claire Nye Hunter leading the Prayers

The Design Team which had been responsible for arranging the Lambeth Conference of Bishops earlier this year in the UK, had a follow-up meeting in Cape Town in November. This ended with a service of Choral Evensong which was live-streamed from St George’s Cathedral, at which the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, preached a memorable and challenging sermon on the Parable of the Talents. The service is still available on YouTube. At that service the Prayers were led by our former Chancellor of the Cathedral, Claire Nye Hunter. We congratulate her on her forthcoming admission as a Canon of Cape Town Cathedral, and pray for her in this new and additional role.

We might have wondered whether Jonathan Hughes, our Organ Scholar, was spending too much time on putting together that wonderful series of organ recitals, the “Organ Crawl”. Did he have time for his academic work, or his own music? But we can be reassured. Not only has he passed his Grade 8 Trinity organ exam, but he has done so with Distinction! Congratulations, Jon!

Congratulations go also to Crystal Warren, our Artist-in-Residence, who has had a poem called ‘Growing Pains’ accepted by Avbob Poetry. 

Heather Tracey had a fall in her home and cracked one of her ribs. We pray for her as she copes with the discomfort, and that she may heal, and for her husband Andrew and son Geoffrey as they take care of her.

The Cathedral Bible Study groups have traditionally ended their year with a house Eucharist and shared meal. This year instead of the usual evening occasion, the groups led by Paul Walters and Geoff Antrobus met at noon at the Antrobus’s farm for the service, which was celebrated by Geoff, on the Church’s New Year’s Eve, 26 November, the day before Advent Sunday. This was followed by a bring-and-share lunch.

On the evening of the First Sunday of Advent, 27 November, the Cathedral Consort presented a service of Advent Carols, directed by Kutlwano Kepadisa with his hair coloured appropriately for Advent! They sang the traditional Advent Sentences, each of which begins with “O…”. Listen to them singing “O Rex Gentium“. Among unusual Advent carols they sang ‘E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come‘ by Paul Manz, and ‘Bethlehem Down‘ by Peter Warlock.

Now that Advent has begun, we look forward not only to the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas, but also to an Ordination of Priests on 11 December. Among those who are due to be ordained priest are our two Deacons, Siphokazi Njokweni and Luyanda Fete. We hold them in our prayers at this time as they prepare for this momentous event in their lives and the new phase of their ministry which is about to begin.

 

People and Places, November 2022

Sarah James graduates in person

Graduating in 2021 was a virtual affair, and most graduates and their families will have felt cheated of their moment of glory. So the decision of Rhodes University to hold special graduation ceremonies in October 2022 for these graduates was greeted with joy. Among those who graduated in person were Dawn Long’s daughter Roxanne (PhD in Early Childhood Education) and Sarah James, who came from KwaZulu-Natal to receive her Honours degree in History, cheered on by her boyfriend Matt Bartholomew. It was good to see this former Student Ministry member looking so happy and well after her major scoliosis surgery. She is now studying with UNISA towards a History Masters, with a focus on journalism under apartheid. Matt, whose business is wedding photography, took some wonderful photos of the Cathedral, which you can see here. Congratulations to all the graduates, and prayers for them in their lives going forward.

Prayers are asked for Jane Bradshaw’s grandson, Benjamin McGarvie, who has been having tests to find out the cause of his terrible pains, and hopefully a cure. Jane went up to Johannesburg to assist her daughter while he was in hospital. Whytie Kiti, who looks after the gardens of the Cathedral, Deanery and Sub-Deanery, is booked off sick, and we hold him in our prayers.

The St Andrew’s College House Prefects for 2023 have been announced, and Ayamkele Dongwana is among them. Congratulations! And we also congratulate Nqobani Dabengwa, who was a finalist in the Student of the Year awards, as well as receiving a Rhodes Top 100 award. Cairis, son of lay minister Sylvester Appollis, was a member of the Graeme College steelband ensemble which took part in a Virtual International Marimba and Steelband Festival. Competing against many entrants from other countries, in the Under 19 solo category he was placed third overall! Crystal Warren, our Artist-in-Residence, has had one of her poems long-listed for the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award and Anthology for 2023, and we look forward with interest to further news. Bayanda Mthetho continues to make us proud. Having taken part in the UNISA South African Music Scholarship Competition, he has been awarded their Piano Scholarship for 2022! We give thanks for the talent God has given him, and the hard work he puts in to make the most of it. Well done. Kay Marx recently celebrated her 80th birthday with all her family. We thank God for her life and health, and all she means to us at the Cathedral.

On 9 October Katie Appollis’s grandson Kayde Noah Eric Haarhoff was baptized by Dean Mzi in the Cathedral, a year to the day since his parents Melanie and Dylan were married there.

That same Sunday, Choral Evensongs resumed. It is hoped that these will take place twice a month in the Cathedral at 5 p.m. We are privileged to have the Cathedral Consort and other vocal ensembles in this city which are capable of doing justice to this beautiful and inspiring form of worship. Parishioners and friends are encouraged to attend, and as the services are also live-streamed on our Facebook page, you can invite friends further afield to tune in as well.

The Makana Choir School AGM on Sunday 16 October was attended by 15 choristers and parishioners. The following were elected to the Choir School Committee: Chair: Glyn Lloyd-Jones; Secretary: Jessica Lloyd-Jones; Parent Representative: Phumla Cagwe. Cathy Meiklejohn kindly agreed to combine the roles of Treasurer and Fund-raiser for the time being, until she has trained a new Fund-raiser to take her place. Also elected to the Committee were the Revd Melany Adonis and Jonathan Hughes. Maggy Clarke, who had been Secretary of the Committee since the inception of the Choir School in 2009, stepped down from the Committee and was warmly thanked. The following are ex officio Committee members: The Director of Music (Kutlwano Kepadisa), the Dean (Mzinzisi Dyantyi), the Choir Chaplain (the Revd Siphokazi Njokweni) and the Head Choristers, who at present are Ambesa Cagwe and Siyolise Sandi. To read Glyn Lloyd-Jones’s Chairman’s Report, click here. To listen to the Choir’s energetic rendering of  ‘The Storm is Passing Over‘, click here. 

The series of Organ Crawls continued in October. The fourth took place on the 1st of the month, when the Baptist Church and Christ Church were the venues. The Baptist church organ was played by Marilise and Bouwer van Rooyen  (from Gqeberha) and Jonathan Hughes. Jon also played at Christ Church, after which Professor Albert Troskie spoke and played, with Dr Erika Bothma (violin). People were allowed to go inside the Baptist church organ, and Jon took out a number of the panels of the Christ Church organ’s case, revealing the tracker mechanism. The grand finale took place on Saturday 15 October, when the organs visited were those of Commemoration Methodist Church and our Cathedral. Organists Peter Black, Justin Stone (also from Gqeberha) and Jon Hughes showed off the capabilities of these splendid instruments, and not only could the audience venture upstairs among the Cathedral organ pipes, but even down under the earth to see the bellows. Many congratulations to all involved, especially to Jon, our Organ Scholar, who “organised” the whole series of events!

Thursday 20 October seemed like a little slice of the National Arts Festival, when it was possible to attend a top-class one-man show in the morning and an equally excellent choral concert in the evening. The actor Peter Terry, raised and educated in Makhanda and brother of our own Pat Terry, presented ‘At All Costs’, a play he had written, and which he performed. This brought home to the audience the horrors of war, through the example of the World War I battle of Delville Wood, where so many South African troops died. The same evening the mood was lightened by the end-of-year concert of the DSG-St Andrew’s College Chamber Choir, under the inimitable baton of Kutlwano Kepadisa.

October ended with our Patronal Festival, when the little people of the Kingdom Kids filed into the Sung Eucharist service complete with crowns, and sang a lovely song about creation. After the service the congregation greatly enjoyed gathering at the back of the Cathedral for tea and eats, for the first time since the lock-down in 2020.

The end of the year must be sooner than we think, as we have already had to say goodbye to our two COTT students, Jeremy Smith and Mvuso Mngeyane, who have been such a valuable part of the Cathedral team during their year on placement with us. Jeremy looks forward to being ordained Deacon, and is to go to Christ Church Constantia. Mvuso, who is already a Deacon, will be priested and sent to take charge of the parish of St Andrew Mount Fletcher. We pray for them both as they set forth into their life of ministry. Please pray also for all students and matrics writing their exams at this time.

 

People and Places, October 2022

We say farewell to one of our part-time Assistant Priests, Luthando Madiba, who has been appointed Rector of St Gregory’s Church Mdantsane from 1 September. We congratulate him on this appointment, and wish God’s blessing on him, his wife Lusanda and daughter Lulibo as they move. Luthando will continue as Media Officer of the Diocese of Grahamstown until a successor is found for him.

In September our Director of Music Kutlwano Kepadisa took one of his other choirs, the Chamber Choir of DSG and St Andrew’s College, to Cape Town to compete in the finals of the ‘Sing in Harmonie’ competition. Congratulations to Kepa and the choir on coming second overall, and carrying off the prize for the best non-Afrikaans song for their arrangement of ‘Nonqonqo’. While they were in the Mother City they were invited by Claire Nye Hunter to sing at the Sunday morning Eucharist in her parish church, St Thomas’s Rondebosch. Kepa was delighted to get together with Claire, Andrew and Rachel Hunter, and the choir members were introduced to the founder and first Director of their choir, Dorothy Holder!

The ‘Organ Crawls’, arranged by our Organ Scholar Jonathan Hughes, have continued to take place on alternate Saturdays. The second in the series showcased the organs of the N G Kerk and Trinity Presbyterian Church, and like the first was well attended. The NG Kerk organ, Jon Hughes told us, built in 1953 by E F Walcker, is relatively new, and the only organ in Makhanda to be designed in the German style. Less is known about the organ in Trinity Church, which possibly was built about 1875, and altered considerably in the years which followed. Two organ students from NMU came as guest organists for the afternoon, Cameron Lee and Joshua de Paula e Silva, and they and Jon Hughes gave short recitals on the two organs. Two weeks later the loyal Organ Crawl audience had more of a canter than a crawl, taking in visits to three organs in different educational institution chapels. First Bayanda Mthetho played on the little Estey organ in the loft of Rhodes University Chapel. This was American in origin, like the John Compton organ in St Andrew’s College Chapel, which Jon Hughes played. Lastly Jon played the fine Rushworth and Dreaper organ in Kingswood College Chapel, of English design.

All three organs were mid-20th century, and all installed by the South African firm Cooper, Gill & Tomkins. From left to right: The Chapel organs of Rhodes, St Andrew’s College and Kingswood.

Duma Myemane has had a spell in hospital for thyroid treatment, and we pray for her healing. We pray also for Mark Hobson, Roswitha’s son, who has been hospitalised. Roswitha has gone to stay with another son in Gqeberha.

We waited so long! Now, we praise God, the Cathedral was again able to host an Archdeaconry Confirmation service. On the afternoon of Sunday 11 September 2022 Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali confirmed candidates from the parishes of St Augustine’s, St Clement’s and the Cathedral. Some of the candidates had begun their Confirmation Preparation in 2020 – but then Covid intervened! The Cathedral candidates, seen here with the Bishop and Canon Melany Adonis, who had prepared them, are: Kaede Bridger, Sadie Bartis, Bayanda Mthetho, Uvuyo Mvaphantsi, Alulutho Ntapane and Zakhirah Pillay. We rejoice with them, and pray for them in the next phase of their Christian life.

The first Cathedral Annual Vestry Meeting in over two years took place on Sunday 18 September 2022. We thank God that this was possible, and that it was well attended. The following were elected to the Parish Council: Katie Appollis, Rodney Bridger, Mzwandile Bikitsha, Monakwezi Gabavana, Wendy Mfazwe, Ian Meiklejohn and Thembi Mjola. Ronaldo Burger was re-elected Churchwarden, and the meeting agreed that the election of a second Churchwarden and Alternate might be delegated to the Parish Council.

Lucien Bartis has been appointed Principal of Grahamstown Primary School. Dawn Long, better known to the younger generation as Mama Dawn of Kingdom Kids, is now employed at the Sunshine (Hospice) Shop in Bathurst Street. We congratulate them, and wish them well.

On 25 September Jonathan Hughes, Brendon Hoffmann and Bayanda Mthehto all took part in a Symphony Concert staged by Nelson Mandela University and Rhodes in the Monument. Bayanda was one of the soloists, playing the 3rd movement of Beethoven’s first piano concerto. The concert was repeated a week later in Gqeberha. Further congratulations are due to Bayanda on passing his Grade 8 UNISA piano exam with distinction! He has been recommended for the UNISA music scholarship competition, to take place later this year.

Maggy Clarke was in Cape Town at the end of September, and had the pleasure of two nights with the Hunter family. Her visit coincided with Nicola’s short vacation from Ondestepoort, so the entire family was gathered. A highlight was a walk with Andrew, Claire and Nicola on Constantia Nek, which was also specially enjoyed by the dogs Rocket and Leila!

 

 

People and Places, September 2022

Lilitha Dyantyi (right) guest speaker in Butterworth

In South Africa August is known as ‘Women’s Month’, with the 9th a public holiday commemorating the march of women protesting against the pass laws in 1956. Lilitha Dyantyi was invited to be the guest speaker at a Women’s Day meeting of the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa in Butterworth, with the theme: “Woman, don’t let yourself down, don’t lose hope – God is with you!”

Lilitha’s husband, Dean Mzi, has been extra busy during the past month with his Vicar-General duties around the Diocese, on behalf of the Bishop. These included: pastoral visits to, and meetings with, clergy in East London; parish council meetings of St Gregory’s and Christ Church East London, and St Francis Mdantsane; preaching and presiding at St

“Hats and Heels”!

John & St Chad Zwelitsha, St Gregory Mdantsane, Christ Church East London and St Francis Mdantsane; funerals at St John’s East London, St Saviour’s East London, and Good Shepherd East London, and a meeting of the Diocesan Chapter at St Mark’s East London. A special occasion at which Lilitha joined him was the Women’s Day celebration hosted by the Diocesan Mothers’ Union at Cambridge, East London, with the theme “Hats and Heels”. In between these there were the usual meetings with parishioners and others within the Cathedral parish. The Dean and parishioners give thanks for the support of the other clergy in the parish, especially the Sub-Dean Melany Adonis, and look forward to 11 September when the Bishop will return to his Episcopal duties in this Diocese.

Older parishioners will have fond memories of journalist Richard Buckland. His daughter Nickie Turner, a senior State Advocate here in Makhanda, has just been appointed Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in Mthatha. We congratulate her, and give thanks for her steadfast role in bringing to book some unsavoury characters who have committed unspeakable crimes, especially against women.

Paul and June Walters have enjoyed a visit from their son John, with his wife Cath and children Tom (6) and Hattie (nearly 3), during the English school holidays.

It’s time for an update on Sarah James, a former member of our Student Ministry and Cathedral Choir, who has been on our prayer list since she had surgery to correct scoliosis in her spine on 27 November 2020. This major operation left her several centimetres taller, but in a lot of pain, which she has had to manage, and live with, over the following year and a half. Despite that, having completed her Rhodes History Honours in 2020 (remotely from home in KZN) she is now studying for her Masters with UNISA. Good news is that a recent change in medication has resulted in a reduction in pain. We continue to pray for her complete recovery.

AJ Bethke with his parents and son Caleb

More news from KZN comes from our former Director of Music, Andrew-John Bethke. It is now five years since he left us, and after four years lecturing in music at UKZN, this August he was appointed a Senior Lecturer. At the same time as lecturing, and being a single parent to his 6-year-old son Caleb, he was studying in the evenings towards a Bachelor in Theology (BTh) with the Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi Christian University in the USA. He heard recently that he has been awarded this degree with distinction. He is the organist at St Cyprian’s Anglican Church in Umbilo, where the Rector also makes the most of his theological qualifications, putting him on the preaching roster once a month. Caleb has been accepted to start in Grade 1 at Manor Gardens Primary in January. Our congratulations and good wishes to these talented people.

The news has reached us of the sudden death of Brian, husband of Di Harvey, on 8 August. Di was a Lay Minister at the Cathedral for a number of years, with a special ministry to Brookshaw. In recent years she herself required constant care, and it was Brian who looked after her at home with great devotion. Prayers are asked for Di and her family.

Michael Whisson

The news of Michael Whisson’s death on 14 August was not unexpected, but somehow it was also a shock. It was good that we had said our goodbyes before he and Adrienne moved to Cape Town. Although frail, Michael had made a point of coming to the Cathedral on Sunday 1 May to say a formal farewell. (See ‘People and Places’ for June this year). Ever since Claire Nye Hunter was appointed to St Thomas’s Rondebosch, Michael had been determined that after his move to the Cape, he would join her congregation. He was able to fulfil this intention, and it was Claire who ministered to him in his last days and weeks, bringing Communion to him regularly at home as his health deteriorated. His Requiem Mass on 24 August in St Thomas’s was live-streamed, with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and Revd Claire leading the service. Claire preached, and there were tributes from Michael’s son David, who had come over from England, and other members of the family. Chris de Wet, another former Makhandian, delivered a moving and most appropriate tribute, emphasising Michael’s lifelong concern to care for others, and summing up his long life as being one of integrity, and love in action. The service was live-streamed, and can still be accessed at https://www.facebook.com/groups/345127422184986. We give thanks for Michael’s life, and pray for Adrienne and the family.

Prof Albert Troskie at the Wesley Church organ

The concept of a ‘pub crawl’ is not unknown, but an ‘organ crawl’ is a new idea. Initially proposed by the late Stephen Holder, this was taken up energetically by our Organ Scholar Jon Hughes. He discovered no fewer than ten pipe organs in working order in Makhanda, and devised a series of recitals, to take place fortnightly on five Saturday afternoons, using two of these instruments on each occasion, and a number of different organists. The first instalment took place on Saturday 20 August. Despite cold weather and pouring rain, an interested crowd of some 40 people turned out to visit the 1872 Gray and Davison organ in St Bartholomew’s Church and the pre-1837 Hill chamber organ in Wesley Church. They heard the history of the instruments from among others Dr Cameron Luke, and enjoyed short recitals by Christiaan Carstens, organist of the N G Kerk in Humansdorp, retired Professor Albert Troskie who has written scholarly works on the organs of South Africa, and Jon Hughes himself. The next episode of the Organ Crawl will take place on Saturday 3 September, beginning at the N G Kerk at 2 p.m. and continuing at Trinity Presbyterian Church. To hear Jon playing the third movement of Sonata No. 5 by Felix Mendessohn-Bartholdy on the St Bartholomew’s organ, click here. To hear Christaan Carstens playing the Wesley Church organ (with Jon Hughes pumping the bellows!) click here. 

Our Director of Music Kutlwano Kepadisa was away that weekend, leading the Rhodes University Chamber Choir, which went on a tour to Gqeberha, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein. The lively young choir, which included Cathedral choristers Bayanda Mthetho and Xolisa Foley, enjoyed an enthusiastic welcome at a number of church venues, and had the opportunity to meet other University choirs in Gauteng.  

The last Sunday in August was celebrated as Children’s Ministry Sunday, with a special Children’s Service of Holy Communion at 9:30, designed with them in mind. Ever since our Children’s Church resumed after Covid, more and more children have been coming to the sessions, and this service drew the largest ever crowd of children, and adults too. Flags waved in procession, and favourite children’s worship songs were sung. In his sermon COTT student Jeremy Smith held the attention of young and old with his demonstration of how some things can be measured, but not the love of God!

“Jesus loves the little children!”

People and Places, August 2022

Official photograph, Lambeth Conference 2022

As this issue of ‘People and Places’ comes out, the Bishop of Grahamstown, Ebenezer Ntlali, and his wife Noncedo are in the UK to attend the 12-day Lambeth Conference. (To see a photo of them at the Conference, click here.) This is a gathering of bishops from across the Anglican Communion for prayer and reflection, fellowship and dialogue on church and world affairs, which takes place about once every ten years. The previous Lambeth Conference was in 2008, when Ebenezer Ntlali attended as Bishop-Elect of Grahamstown. The current Conference was due to be held in 2020, but was twice postponed on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the name, the Lambeth Conference doesn’t take place at Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, which is in London. With some 600 bishops expected (besides spouses and support staff), a larger venue is needed, and “Lambeth” actually takes place in Canterbury, Kent, with accommodation provided by the University of Kent. This year’s gathering has the theme “God’s Church for God’s World”. Over the past two years the Bishops have been meeting in online conversations about relevant themes, a phase which was described as “walking together”. The actual gathering in Canterbury is called the phase of “listening together”, which includes praying, studying the Book of 1 Peter and discussing all kinds of major challenges which face the Church, such as climate change and human dignity, Christian unity and inter-faith relations. Finally, when the Bishops return home to their 165 countries of origin, there will follow the third phase of “witnessing together”, when the outcome of the bishops’ conversations will be shared and taken further throughout the Anglican Communion.

Bishop Ebenezer licensing Dean Mzi as his Vicar General

To oversee the Diocese of Grahamstown during his absence, Bishop Ebenezer has appointed and licensed Dean Mzi Dyantyi as his Vicar General, for the period 18 July to 2 September 2022. This means that he will be taking on all the duties which the Bishop would normally perform, apart from Confirmations and Ordinations of course. We pray for Dean Mzi as he assumes this extra responsibility, and for the Bishop and his wife that God will bless them richly on their travels. During July the Dean attended the St Andrew’s College Council and the send-off ceremony for the Bishop on his travels, went to the closing of the St Mary Magdalene Guild Conference in Dimbaza and met with the Parish Council of Zwelitsha, as well as undertaking meetings with individuals and families which would normally have been done by the Bishop.

We all know how hard it was to continue Sunday worship when the Cathedral doors were closed, and all services had to be online. But it was even worse for the children, and even after Cathedral services started up again, the Children’s Church was still suspended. So we give thanks that Dawn Long, a Lay Minister, and experienced teacher Katie Appollis, have re-started Children’s Church during the 9:30 Sunday services. At one of the first lessons, the children learned that they were “Kingdom Kids”, and had enormous fun making themselves crowns to wear in church. So, parents and grandparents, do bring along your youngsters!

We rejoice with Katie Appollis, whose sixth grandchild, Kayde Noah Eric Haarhoff, was born on 11 July to her daughter Melanie and son-in-law Dylan. Congratulations and good wishes to all! We pray for Dean Mzi’s wife Lilitha, on the death of her uncle Simon Sikampula.

After a break for July vacation, the Cathedral Student Ministry services have started again, now at the new time of 2:30 p.m. on Sundays, followed by tea/ coffee.

Andrew Tracey is well-known as a musician, but perhaps less well-known for his skill at working in wood. He recently completed the Seal of Bishop Ebenezer, which he has put in place in the Cathedral, to join the Seals of previous bishops. We give thanks for Andrew’s many talents, and how he shares them with us to the glory of God.

Our Director of Music, Kutlwano Kepadisa, apart from conducting the Cathedral choir and three other choirs, has over the last five months been taking part in a prestigious course, the Cultural Producers’ Programme, much of which took place online. This was presented by Business and Arts South Africa, supported by the British Council Cultural Economy programme, in partnership with Common Purpose South Africa and the Manchester International Festival. Kepa applied for a place on the course last year, and was one of only 25 creative cultural producers (aged 18-35) selected to take part. As Kepa explained, they “learnt about new, unique and different leadership concepts such as leading beyond authorities, working across boundaries, cultural intelligence.” In June and July this year the participants were placed in South African creative/cultural organisations for practical work, and it was no surprise that Kepa spent that time with the National Arts Festival, right here in Makhanda. Immediately after that he went to Johannesburg, where the participants co-curated the So Creative Summit. He returned to Johannesburg briefly to attend the graduation ceremony at the end of the course on 25 July. We congratulate our Cultural Producer, and look forward to even greater things from him in future!

 

People and Places, July 2022

Dr Percy Chinganga with Dean Mzi

Warm congratulations to Dr Percy Chinganga, who has been appointed the next Rector of the College of the Transfiguration. Dr Chinganga is a lecturer at the College, and a member of the Cathedral staff. We wish God’s blessing on him in his new role.

Some will remember Mariel Ilusorio, the Filipina pianist who was a member of our Cathedral family and used to organise wonderful concerts with fellow musicians. It was great to welcome her back for a visit to Makhanda early in June, when she gave a concert in Kingswood Chapel with Lieva Starker (violin) and Themba Mashobane (cello). It was like a foretaste of the National Arts Festival.

At first we did not dare to believe that the Festival would actually take place again in Makhanda. After all, Covid-19 had wiped it out completely in 2020, and in 2021 it had thrown the Festival into confusion, and forced it to go online at not much more than a week’s notice. But as the weeks went by, so the evidence of reduced infection numbers, and less severe infections, began to allow us to hope. And finally, when Thursday 23 June came, and the Festival began, so came the announcement that the Government was dropping the final Covid restrictions. Masks were no longer compulsory, and numbers attending events would no longer be kept at 50% of a venue’s capacity! The timing was perfect.

The next day, Friday 24 June, saw the first three Spiritfest events in the Cathedral, beginning with a wonderful concert by the Makhanda Kwantu Choir, conducted by Kutlwano Kepadisa, known to us as Kepa our Cathedral Director of Music. To listen to them singing ‘Indodana’ click here.  At lunch-time Asakhe Cuntsulana thrilled the audience with his adungu playing and song. Some of us had caught the same concert earlier when he treated Makhanda to a preview. And in the evening there was a Choral Evensong, when the Cathedral Choir was augmented by Kwantu choir members. Nothing could stop the music in the Cathedral ringing out to the glory of God! There were two glorious Festival Eucharist services on the Sundays of the Festival, and a Taizé service on the Wednesday evening. Bayanda Mthetho, formerly a Junior Chorister and Organ Scholar of the Makana Choir School, and now a music student at Rhodes, gave a piano recital on Spiritfest which was appreciatively received. Listen to him playing George Gerswin’s ‘Summertime’ – click here. He went on to give two more recitals on the Festival Fringe titled ‘Classical Dreams’, for which he received a Standard Bank Blue Ovation Award. Congratulations!

Peter Black, who played the organ for the first Festival Eucharist and the Choral Evensong, must have felt dogged by the dreaded Stage Six Eskom load-shedding, which kicked in during the Festival with no respect for worshippers or the arts. First his organ recital on the Thursday of the Festival had to be moved from noon to 1 p.m. to wait for the power to return. A sparkling, varied, but short programme, it was finished before 2 p.m. when the next load-shedding began. Listen to him playing Widor’s Toccata. But on the Sunday morning that followed Eskom took its revenge, and Peter had to accompany the entire 9:30 service on the piano.  

Other Spiritfest events took place at Commemoration Church and St Patrick’s, and included a series of lectures. Two of the speakers were Anglican clergy from Port Alfred, Janet Trisk on ‘And yet we all die’, and Linda Schwartz on ‘Good Grief’. Cathedral clergy were among those who took part in an ecumenical Walk of Prayer and Witness on the Thursday afternoon, beginning at the Police Station. Prayers were said for the police, many of whom came out to join in. At the Sunflower (Hospice) shop, there was prayer for the businesses of the city, and for the sick and dying and the work of Hospice. The walk ended at the War Memorial, with prayers for peace.

 

We pray for the Gabavana family, after the death of Nomakwezi’s mother, Alice Mlombile on 5 June, and for Jackie Russion, who works in the Cathedral Office, on the sudden death of her eldest son Marco on 30 June. Fiona Coyne died on 5 June, and we pray for her husband Basil, and all the family. Fiona was a Lay Minister with a special ministry at Fort England, and also an artist, who over a number of years drew covers for the Cathedral parish magazine, The Spire. These have been compiled, and can be seen on a special page on the Cathedral website: click here. Also in our prayers are the members of the Meiklejohn family, following the death of Ian’s mother Lorna in KwaZulu-Natal. On 22 June came the news of Lorraine Mullins’ death. We give thanks for his life, and the immense contribution he made to St Andrew’s Prep. Our sympathy and prayers go to the extended Mullins family.

On 12 June we had the joy of welcoming a new member of the Cathedral family, Shae Averie Sauls, who was baptised by the Dean at the 9:30 service. We pray for her, and for her parents Charné and Gershwin. As always, during June Dean Mzi was also kept busy outside the borders of the parish. There was an Ordination service in Ginsburg on the 11th, which he attended, as well as assisting at the Retreat for the ordinands beforehand. 16th  June saw him join the other priests of the Diocese in the annual renewing of their priestly vows in Gonubie, and he was at funerals in Qumbu and Mthatha, as well as the unveiling of a tombstone in Mthatha. At the end of June there was a meeting with the Bishop and other clergy here in Makhanda.

News from London is that Julia Skeen Mann was able to attend the thanksgiving service for Archbishop Tutu’s life, which took place in Westminister Abbey on 9 June, a service which she described as wonderful, saying she felt privileged to be there.

Many of the Cathedral family have known Nicola Hunter since she was a schoolgirl, and many have been aware that she has long had a special man in her life by the name of Nicholas Wilkinson. So it was a special joy to hear the news that Nicola and Nicholas (she calls him ‘Wilko’) are engaged to be married! Warm congratulations to them both, and we wish God’s richest blessings upon them.

 

People and Places, June 2022

On Thursday morning, 25 May, Makhanda awoke to the shocking news that Jeff Budaza, the popular manager of this municipality’s Parks and Recreation, had been gunned down, murdered the previous evening in his own driveway. He was a man of integrity, devoted to the aim of uplifting the youth through sport. We give thanks for the good that he achieved during his lifetime, praying for his family and colleagues in their loss, and for an end to such senseless and cruel violence.

Our sympathy and prayers go to Jon Hughes, the Cathedral’s Organ Scholar and Choir Assistant, on the death of his grandmother Kathleen Venter. Rita Macrae was at one time the Parish Secretary, and will be remembered affectionately by older parishioners. She moved to Johannesburg a while ago, and news has reached us that she has died there. We give thanks for her life, and pray for her family.

Luthando Madiba and his family were involved in a car accident when returning from a funeral in Mthatha over the weekend of 22 May. We give thanks that none of them was injured, but pray for them as they recover from the shock, stress and inconvenience.

Michael Whisson OSC

On Sunday 1 May Michael Whisson stepped up to the sanctuary of the Cathedral during the 9:30 service, to bid his formal farewell to the congregation among whom he had worshipped and ministered for so long. He had been a member of the Parish Council, a Churchwarden, and represented the parish on Diocesan Synod and other bodies. He was a Lay Minister for over 50 years, and a preacher of note, sometimes preaching off the cuff, and brilliantly, when the preacher on the roster had failed to turn up! In 2013 he deservedly received the Order of Simon of Cyrene, the highest award given by the Anglican Church of Southern Africa to a lay person. And now he and Adrienne have moved to Cape Town, to be closer to their daughter Rebecca and her family. It is good to know that they are also close to our former Dean and Chancellor, Andrew and Claire Nye Hunter.  I am grateful to Andrew Hunter for supplying a fuller biography of Michael, entitled ‘A Christian Odyssey’. To read it, click here.

Jeanette Eve

Jeanette Eve, who left a few months earlier to settle in a retirement village in Somerset West, (also leaving a big hole!) has written a letter to the parish. She is close to her daughter in Stellenbosch, and has found a welcome at All Saints Somerset West, where Issy and Gavin Staude are parishioners. To read it, click here.

Daphne Rink

Daphne Rink celebrated her 90th birthday on 3 May in KwaZulu-Natal, with family gathered around her including her daughter Gill and son-in-law Chich Hewitt (our former Dean) from the UK. Many congratulations to this energetic former Cathedral parishioner, who regularly posts on Facebook beautiful photos of nature seen on her daily walks. And on 21 May Penny Whitford joined the ranks of octogenarians. Congratulations to her, too!

Leela Pienaar was among the Quilters of Grahamstown (QUOGS) who co-operated to make a beautiful quilt in the Ukrainian national colours, blue and yellow, which they raffled in aid of Ukrainians forced to flee their homes by the Russian invasion. Selling tickets online world-wide, they raised the amazing sum of over R41,000. Well done!

Congratulations to Crystal Warren, whose children’s book ‘The Best Nest’, written for Book Dash, has now been published in all eleven South African official languages. It can be ordered from bookdash.org.

During May our busy Dean, Mzinzisi Dyantyi, fitted in between his parish duties a Cathedral Chapter meeting in King William’s Town, a Nursing Day of Prayer in the same town but two days later, and the Institution and Installation of Revd Lulamile Voyiya as Dean of Mbashe in Engcobo. He attended a meeting of Archdeacons in Ginsburg (he is Archdeacon to the Archdeacons!), went to the funeral service of the Revd Siya Gidi in East London, and the same day was the guest speaker at a 40th birthday party. We give thanks for his good health and strength, and pray for him in all the aspects of his work.

Wherever our Director of Music, Kutlwano Kepadisa, waves his hand in front of a choir, it seems magic happens. Actually, of course, what happens is a great deal of hard work, and hard work achieves results! Not only does he direct the Cathedral Choir, but three other local choirs: The Rhodes University Chamber Choir, the Chamber Choir of DSG and St Andrew’s College, and the community choir which he founded himself, the Makhanda Kwantu Choir. On Friday 27 May the Rhodes Chamber Choir gave its semester concert in the university chapel, with the other two choirs making guest appearances and joining in final “massed choir” items. The concert deserved the rapturous response it received from the largely student audience. It was no surprise to learn that the DSG-St Andrew’s Chamber Choir, which recently entered the Eastern Cape round of the ATKV Choir Competition, was awarded Gold. In order to be ready to enter, they had to learn two new Afrikaans songs from scratch in only seven days! The video of the ‘Easter Cantata’ by DSG and St Andrew’s College, recorded in March, received its premiere on 15 May, and can still be watched on our Facebook pageBonus! The Cathedral Consort sang Choral Evensong on 22 May. Listen to this small and talented group singing ‘Sicut Cervus’, by Giovanni da Palestrina. 

With the 5th wave of Covid-19 being in general less devastating than the waves of the previous two years, the National Arts Festival is going ahead, and a scaled-down Spiritfest will also be taking place. Expect some inspiring worship, beautiful music, and thought-provoking lectures. Details will be available on our website.

As June begins, we welcome to the Parish Office our new Parish Administrator, Andiswa Mati. We give thanks for her appointment, and pray that God will bless her in her work with us.

 

People and Places, May 2022

Our prayers throughout April were given extra urgency by the news of the war in Ukraine, with the destruction of homes, and civilians killed or forced to flee. And then, so much nearer to home, there were the horrific floods in KwaZulu-Natal, sweeping away people and possessions, turning lives upside down. How much we needed the Good News of the resurrection, and how relevant is our call to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world!

Preparations for Holy Week began with the making of Palm Crosses in the Chapter House on Friday 8 April. Although for the second year running, rain prevented us having an outdoor Palm Sunday Procession, the Sung Eucharist on Palm Sunday morning was beautiful, with the Cathedral Choir conducted by Kutlwano Kepadisa. On our YouTube channel you can listen to them singing ‘A Palm Sunday Antiphon’ by David Morgan.

When Judas Iscariot left the Last Supper, “it was night”. In the Cathedral we experienced the darkness, when the lights went out in the middle of our Maundy Thursday service (courtesy of Eskom!) But the beautiful service went on, and the singing, with Peter Black playing the piano instead of the organ. The Senior Iimvumi and Choral Scholars were directed by Kutlwano Kepadisa. On our YouTube channel you can hear them singing ‘Ubi  Caritas‘ by Duruflé, and ‘Tantum Ergo’ by F Laloux. At the Good Friday mid-day liturgy the Choir sang ‘Adoramus te, Christe’, the Antiphon for Good Friday, music by Eric Barnum, adapted by the University of Johannesburg Choir, and also ‘Lerato Jesu’, which appears in A-J Bethke’s collection of Southern African Hymns.

“Very early in the morning on the first day of the week”, Easter Sunday, 17 April, the congregation and choir gathered with Ebenezer Ntlali the Bishop of Grahamstown for the lighting of the New Fire. After processing into the Cathedral, the Exultet was sung by the Precentor and Director of Music, Kutlwano Kepadisa. What a glorious service we had, as we gave thanks to God for the resurrection of our Lord! At the early service the choir was composed of Choral Scholars (students), Iimvumi (full choristers) and Probationers, many of whom attend Oatlands Primary School. At the 9:30 service for the first time Standard 4 Probationers from Good Shepherd School took their places in the choir stalls, an exciting moment for them after weeks of training at their school under Kepa’s guidance.

 

We give thanks for this revival of the Cathedral Choir, and the way that the flame was kept burning during the darkest days of Covid by Kepa and a handful of Iimvumi. It is an indication of the calibre of these young people that Siyolise Sandi, one of the Head Choristers, reached the final stages of the Miss Teen SA competition. Congratulations to her on this achievement, which involved a great deal more than just being “a pretty face”! 

Kepa, and Bayanda Mthetho, were among only four Rhodes piano students selected to attend a prestigious International Piano Symposium at Stellenbosch University at the beginning of April, an experience which they greatly valued.

Among graduates who deserve our congratulations is Hayley Jackson, daughter of John and Gail, on the award of her PhD in Bio-Chemistry at Stellenbosch University. For those who remember her talent on the violin it is good to hear that she still plays, and is a member of the University Orchestra. Cwayita Bam, one of our servers, who is among the children raised by the Bishop, graduated with her BA in Law from NMMU. Our Dean’s wife Lilitha Dyantyi graduated with her MA in Chemistry (Cum Laude) on 30 April, in absentia. Well done, everyone! And our Deanery couple, Mzi and Lilitha, are also thanking God for the blessing of nine years of marriage, and especially for their children. 

 

On the way round Robben Island!

News of our former student leader, lay minister, and Churchwarden Theo Duxbury, is that after only a few months as Hospital Pharmacist at Bedford Community Hospital, he has been appointed (is that ‘head-hunted?) to be the Quality Assurance Pharmacist for the GEMS Network Programme at Universal Healthcare, based in Johannesburg. We congratulate him on this well-deserved promotion, and ask God’s blessing on him as he moves to his new home and work. And news just in is that our previous Dean, Andrew Hunter, celebrated Freedom Day by paddling round Robben Island! This proves that he continues to be at the peak of fitness.

Janine Jegels has left the Cathedral office, and has found new employment. She wrote a letter to parishioners appreciating the privilege of working with Deans Andrew Hunter and Mzi Dyantyi, as well as Revd Claire and Sub-Dean Melany, and saying that she would cherish the memories of the love and care she received from the Cathedral family. We thank God for her service to the Cathedral, and ask the Lord’s blessing on her in her life going forward.

The Bishop has been obliged to be out of his Diocese recently, and when that happens the Dean as the next priest in seniority has to step in and do even more ‘extra-parochial’ duties. Among these during April have been attending meetings of the Diocesan Management and Trusts Boards, chairing a meeting of the Diocesan staff in the Bishop’s absence, attending a funeral in Libode, preaching and presiding at the unveiling of a tombstone, and taking a nuptial mass in East London.

Please pray for Canon Ezra Tisani on the death of his brother-in-law in Gqeberha, and for Hilton Adonis, whose nephew Morné died suddenly in the Western Cape on Easter Day.

Roswitha Hobson has had a hip replacement. Prayers are asked for her rapid recovery and return to mobility. Barbara Stout has so far recovered well from the replacement of her right hip and knee in Cape Town. She and Wilf spent three weeks staying there with a former member of the Cathedral Choir, Susan Abraham, and left to fly home to Scotland on 28 April.

The Terry and Livermore families in Maidstone, Kent

The Community of the Resurrection held an Associates Day on 30 April, for the first time since lock-down in 2020. The Revd Lawrie Wilmot celebrated and spoke at the Eucharist, and Bev Ramstad and Leonie Goosen gave a delightful illustrated talk on a trip they took together to China in 2019.

After two years of very little overseas travel, it was with special delight that families could get together again across the continents over Easter. Paul and June Walters were joined here by their son Charles from England, together with his wife Cath, and daughters Rachel and Karen. And Pat and Sally Terry travelled to Maidstone in Kent, UK, where they had a wonderful reunion with their son David, daughter Helen and in-laws, and all the grandchildren. Ann Stockwell’s sister and brother-in-law came for a visit from the UK, and they went with Peter and Ann for a short holiday in delightful surroundings on a farm near Colesberg. Even within South African it has not been easy to get together, and Penny and Clive Whitford especially valued the chance to join their three children, plus spouses and all their ten grandchildren, for Easter in the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg. A special time despite the wet weather which made camping a challenge!  We give thanks for our families and these opportunities to meet in person, and pray that the next wave of Covid will not cause a major disruption in our lives. We can do our bit by being vaccinated, and ready to protect ourselves, and those around us.


People and Places, April 2022

It was a great joy on Shrove Tuesday, 1 March, to be able to gather again at St George’s Hall for pancakes. Last year they had to be collected from Sally Terry’s house due to Covid restrictions, but this time they were cooked in the Deanery garages, which was a good idea as it was a hot day. As soon as they were ready, young volunteers rushed piles of pancakes up to the Hall to be filled and sold. One of the most skilled pancake cooks was Kaylyn Bartis, whose 21st birthday it was that day. Not only did she spend her special day slaving in a hot garage/ kitchen, but, using a four-burner gas stove, she perfected the art of cooking three pancakes at once! Congratulations to her and warm thanks to Sally and the whole team, and to all who made donations. The sum raised for the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal amounted to R5,900. Well done! (More pictures on our Gallery page.)

Kaylyn Bartis

On Ash Wednesday we became aware that our choir is once again growing. No fewer than 18 Probationers were present, all of them Grade 6 and 7 pupils from Oatlands Primary. You can listen to them leading the Penitential Litany, arranged by Garry Diagle, as the procession entered the Cathedral. The Precentor was our Director of Music Kutlwano Kepadisa, and the refrain “Hold us in your mercy” was sung by the Choir and congregation. 

Special congratulations go to Kutlwano Kepadisa on his successful application to the Cultural Producers Programme, under which 25 selected young South African cultural producers will receive training. This programme, presented by Business and Arts South Africa NPC (BASA), Common Purpose South Africa (CPSA) and Manchester International Festival (MIF), and supported by the British Council Creative Economy Programme, is to take place part-time, mainly online, from the beginning of March to the end of July this year. It is a well-deserved recognition of Kepa’s talents, and will serve to equip him with valuable skills.

Congratulations also to Sister Carol CR, who recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of her religious Vows! And she is not sitting still, as she has only just come back from a two-week visit to her sister-in-law in Zimbabwe. She is indeed an inspiration to us all. We give thanks for Sister Carol and wish God’s further blessings on her.

Luyanda Fete

The College of the Transfiguration held its Graduation ceremony on 22 March, and we congratulate our Deacon Luyanda Fete on receiving his Diploma in Theology. And congratulations also to Lunga and Yolisa Dongwana’s son Abongile (one of the twins) on receiving his post-graduate Diploma in Accounting from UCT.

On Sunday 20 March we welcomed the two College of the Transfiguration third-year students who will be working with us this year, Jeremy Smith from Cape Town (left) and Mvuso Mngeyane from the Diocese of Mzimvubu. Jeremy’s home parish is St Thomas’s Rondebosch, where his Rector is Claire Nye Hunter, our former Chancellor of the Cathedral. We hope that they will be happy at the Cathedral, and that God will richly bless their ministry with us.

As the Covid-19 statistics in this country have become more encouraging, with fewer infections month by month, it was good to have restrictions eased, with masks no longer mandatory out of doors, and larger numbers permitted to be present inside buildings. Among concerts which have been able to take place recently was one to celebrate the birthday of J S Bach (coincidentally Human Rights Day, 21 March). This took place in Kingswood Chapel, and featured our Organ Scholar Jon Hughes as well as a recorder ensemble which included Jess and Glyn Lloyd-Jones, Joy Tandy’s daughter Priscilla Glover, and Peter Breetzke.

The Masicule concerts returned, to everyone’s delight, although attendance in the Monument Theatre had to be restricted to 50% of its capacity, which meant many hopeful concert-goers had to be turned away. With the DSG-St Andrew’s College Chamber Choir, Rhodes Chamber Choir, Kwantu Choir and the Cathedral Choir all under his baton, it was little wonder that Kepa played a major part in this very special Makhanda annual event. He can now boast that he has conducted the legendary soprano soloist Sibongile Mngoma! Bayanda Mthetho was again the official accompanist.

Ruth Brandt

Ruth Brandt died on 2 March in Somerset Place Frail Care. She was the Diocesan Secretary of the Diocese of Grahamstown for eight years from 1997, after which she was ordained priest and moved to Queenstown, later becoming Diocesan Secretary of the Diocese of Port Elizabeth. Her Memorial Service was held in the Grahamstown Baptist Church on 19 March. Due to short notice, Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali was unable to attend, but he sent a message, which was read on behalf of himself and the Diocese by the Sub-Dean, Canon Melany Adonis. We give thanks for Ruth’s life of service, and pray for her family. We pray also for Elsa Blackbeard, a regular worshipper at our online services although she lives in Australia, on the death of her partner Angelo Passione.

Rev Claire Nye Hunter with Dot Holder, Barbara and Wilf Stout

Good news about former Director of Music Barbara Stout is that she and her husband Wilf were seen at St Thomas’s Rondebosch, Claire Nye Hunter’s church, a few Sundays ago. By the end of March Barbara was sufficiently recovered from her hip operation to have a knee replacement, on the same leg! We pray that this operation will also be a success. She and Wilf will remain in South Africa until April.

Some people assume that “Dean” is just a fancy title for the Rector of a parish where the main place of worship is a Cathedral. There is a great deal more to it than that! The Dean is also the Senior Priest of the Diocese after the Bishop, and this involves a great variety of duties. As an example, during the month of March our Dean, Mzinzisi Dyantyi, preached and presided at the opening service for the Bishop Elect of Mbashe in East London; preached and officiated at the unveiling of the tombstone of a priest’s wife in King William’s Town; attended a meeting of the St Andrew’s College Council (virtually); attended two separate Consecrations of Bishops in Ncgobo and Mthatha; preached and presided at COTT; attended the COTT graduation; attended the Diocesan MU Lady Day service in East London, and blessed a house in Kidd’s Beach. And all that on top of the “normal” duties within the Cathedral parish of interviews, visits, marriage preparation, funerals, Sunday and weekday services, etc, etc! We need to keep our Dean, and indeed all our clergy, in our daily prayers.

On 29 March the Cathedral hosted our Anglican Church schools, DSG and St Andrew’s College, for their ‘Easter Celebration’ service, which was a journey in readings and music through the story of Christ’s passion and resurrection. Congratulations to Asakhe Cuntsulana, now in charge of marimbas at those schools, on the achievements of the marimba group and the St Andrew’s College Choir, and to Kepa on the lovely singing of the DSG-St Andrew’s College Chamber Choir. This was a wonderful introduction to the season of the Passion, and for those who missed it, a recording is going to be made available online by the schools. May we all have a blessed Passiontide and Easter. 

 

People and Places, March 2022

The first Sunday in February saw representatives of the schools of Makhanda gather at the Cathedral for the annual Back to School service. This service had to be a virtual one last year due to Covid-19, so we felt specially blessed to be together again. The singing was led by the Chamber Choir of the Diocesan School for Girls and St Andrew’s College, one of several choirs which are conducted by our Cathedral Director of Music, Kutlwano Kepadisa. If you click on the links you can hear the choir singing ‘Ad Astra per Aspera’ by Jacob Naverud, and the choir and congregation singing ‘Ukholo lwami Ndonyuka nalo’. In her sermon the DSG Chaplain Rachel Ssekimpi issued a challenge to use freedom of choice wisely.

There are so many wonderful hymns and spiritual songs that have been composed on this continent, that it would be a shame not to use them regularly in our worship. Kepa feels passionately about this, and he recently had an opportunity to share his passion when he was invited to teach African Christian hymns and songs at a DSG Sacristans’ Camp, and also at a Retreat for Heads of Anglican Church Schools. 

News of the choir is exciting. After auditioning interested children in Grades 6 and 7 at Oatlands Primary, Kepa was able to offer the chance to no fewer than 20 of them to join the choir as Probationers. Their duties will include attending all choir practices, and singing in term time at the 9:30 Eucharist three times a month, as well as at Evensong on one Sunday a month. Those who fulfil these and the other duties expected of them for at least six months, may be considered for admission as full choristers. Not only that, but younger children (upwards of a dozen Grade 4’s) from Good Shepherd School are to receive musical training, with a view to forming a separate choir. We may be able to hear them for the first time on Easter Day! Follow these links to hear the choir, including the Oatlands Probationers, singing ‘Open the eyes of my heart’, and leading the congregation in movements from A-J Bethke’s Multi-Lingual Cathedral Setting, the ‘Nkosi yiba nenceba’ (Kyrie) and ‘Heilig, heilig’ (Sanctus).  

In the previous issue of ‘People and Places’ we wished Bayanda Mthetho and Xolisa Foley well on their matriculation, adding that they were off to Cape Town to further their studies. However, things don’t always work out as planned. No doubt Bayanda is sad that he did not get into his first choice of university course at UCT. But great is the rejoicing at the Cathedral that instead he has registered for a BMus at Rhodes, so we will still be able to hear his wonderful skills on the organ and piano! And Xolisa, who last year was Head Chorister, is also still in town, and still in the Choir. While we are thankful that we have not lost his talents, we hold him in prayer for guidance as to the next step.

Asakhe Cuntsulana

Asakhe Cuntsulana took over the Cathedral marimba group from Penny Whitford in 2017, and trained these young musicians to a high standard. They have taken part in Cathedral services regularly, especially Sung Eucharists, and their performances on Spiritfest during the National Arts Festival drew enthusiastic crowds. Now Asakhe has been appointed as an Intern at DSG and St Andrew’s, and we wish God’s blessing on him in this next phase of his career. Asakhe’s many musical talents include voice, piano and the beautiful Ugandan instrument, the adungu. He was even heard playing this in Syracuse, New York, recently, when the Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies and the Newhouse School of Public Communication made a Zoom connection via life-size 190 cm AV portals. Grocotts Mail described Asakhe’s performance as “mesmerizing”. 

Carlos Respeito

Many will remember the Mozambican ordinand Carlos Respieto. He spent two periods working at the Cathedral in 2018, while he was in the final year of his BTh at the College of the Transfiguration. He was ordained shortly after leaving here at the end of that year. It has just been announced that he has been appointed Provincial Secretary of the new Portuguese-speaking Anglican Province which has been formed, which covers Mozambique and Angola. This is a tremendous honour, and we congratulate Carlos and pray for him in this great responsibility.

On 22 February Jeanette Hodgson, who stayed in Somerset Place Frail Care, suffered a stroke, and she died there in the early hours of Sunday 27 February, with her daughter Dr Fiona Meihuizen at her side. Jeanette was a long-standing member of the parish, and a stalwart of the Anglican Women’s Fellowship. We give thanks for her life of service and pray for her family.

Barbara Stout, who with her husband Wilf founded the Makana Choir School in 2008, and who had retired with him to Scotland, is in South Africa at present. She and Wilf are spending time in the Western Cape while she recovers from a hip operation which took place in Constantiaberg Mediclinic in mid-February. She is beginning physiotherapy this week, and we wish her a speedy recovery and freedom from pain – and perhaps a chance to visit Makhanda?

In ‘People and Places’ two months ago we noted that the Shell oil company had been interdicted from undertaking seismic blasting off the Wild Coast. Recently the company asked leave to appeal against this interdict, but we give thanks that leave was refused.

As February 2022 ends it is impossible to ignore something which is taking place at the other end of the world. Unthinkably, a large nation, Russia, has invaded a smaller neighbouring country, Ukraine. In Europe itself refugees are streaming across borders, as they do so often in other continents, including, as we well know, our own. We join with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and Christians across the globe in fervent prayer for peace, and echo the call for Ash Wednesday (2 March) to be observed as a global day of prayer and fasting for Ukraine, for Russia and for peace.

 

People and Places, February 2022

A warm welcome to any who have recently arrived in Makhanda and are joining the Cathedral family, and particularly to any new students. And welcome back to those who have been away over the vacation. We hope that you will find special blessings here!

Xolisa Foley (left) and Bayanda Mthetho

If you came here looking for a good education for yourself or your children, the latest Matric results once again proved that you have come to the right place. The nine public sector high schools in Makhanda, whether fee-paying or no-fee, have all posted record results. Whether you look at the pass numbers, the percentage of passes, or the numbers of Bachelor passes, 2021 was a record-breaking year for every single school. Congratulations to them all, and to our Church schools, and to the remarkable Gadra Matric School, which sends more students to Rhodes University each year than any other school in the country. And all this despite the huge difficulties posed by the pandemic! Among the matriculants who have achieved specially good results and will be going on to university are some from the Cathedral: from Graeme College our 2021 Head Chorister Xolisa Foley, and Junior Organ Scholar Bayanda Mthetho, both of whom are heading to Cape Town to further their studies, and from Nombulelo one of our servers, Athayanda Dlayedwa, who is planning to study Pharmacy at Rhodes. We congratulate them, give thanks for their achievements and wish them well in the future.

At the 9:30 Eucharist on Sunday 16 January we said goodbye to Xolisa and Bayanda. Special prayers were said over them, and the Director of Music Kutlwano Kepadisa presented them with Bibles on behalf of the Makana Choir School.

Jeanette Eve

That Sunday was also the occasion on which we said farewell to Jeanette Eve, who has been a valued member of the Cathedral congregation for some 40 years. She was a Lay Minister, involved in the Anglican Women’s Fellowship, the making of the Cathedral kneelers, the twinning of the Cathedral with St James’ Cathedral Toronto, the Faith and Literature Group, and the Cathedral Arts Group (out of which grew Spiritfest), to mention a few. And it was she who brought up to date the Cathedral Guide originally written by the Revd Charles Gould, for its republication by the Cory Library in 2011. Her departure to live in Somerset West, to be near her daughter Catherine, had been planned for some time, but had to be postponed because of her fall and hip operation. When she left she was presented with a booklet containing a number of tributes, appreciations and messages from parishioners and friends.

Hands-on Grandpa: John Jackson with Callum

John and Gail Jackson are rejoicing in the arrival of a third grandchild, Callum Davy, born to Lindsay and Jono. Lindsay had a difficult pregnancy, and she and Jono were obliged to spend the last month away from home, in Gqeberha. In the meanwhile, John and Gail looked after Callum’s older siblings Liam and Ella, which John assures us was “fun”!

There have been a number of bereavements in the congregation. Rosalie Breitenbach died on 13 January, and we pray for her children: Andrew and his wife Erika, Catherine and her husband David, and the grandchildren. Penny Whitford’s sister Helen Wilson died in Johannesburg. A consolation for this sad occasion was that Penny and Clive, who went to Gauteng for the funeral, were able to gather with their entire family for the first time in some years. A particular tragedy was the death of eight members of Mama Kwezi Gabavana’s extended family, who perished in a taxi accident when travelling to Cape Town. We pray for these families, and for Mzwanele Bikitsha, whose cousin died recently, that they may be comforted, and that their dear ones may rest in peace.

David Whisson, son of Michael and Adrienne, has been visiting his parents from the UK. Adrienne was confined to a wheelchair while waiting for a hip replacement. This took place in January, and we rejoice that she is now able to walk again with assistance, and is free from pain. We pray for her continued healing.

Theo Duxbury, who was in the leadership of our Student Ministry for several years, and who has been doing community service in Bedford after completing his pharmacy studies, has now received a permanent appointment as Hospital Pharmacist at Bedford Community Hospital. Warm congratulations!

Director of Music Kepa has passed his final Piano exam at Rhodes, but still has one credit to get in order to complete his degree. He has decided to postpone that until 2023, and during this year he will be concentrating on his choir work. His absence from the Cathedral for a couple of weeks in January did not mean he was on holiday, but rather he was in his annual two-week Retreat in Worcester in the Boland, a chance to recharge his batteries.  The photos show that he did not spend all his time in silence or in solitude, but was also able to reconnect with our former Dean, Andrew Hunter, his wife Claire and daughters Rachel and Nicola.

Andrew and Claire were both able to take post-Christmas leave at the same time, and enjoy first Great Brak River, and then the delights of the Cape Peninsula on their doorstep. Andrew is at last getting some relief from the months of misery caused by shingles, although he still needs to take pain-killers. And from Durban comes the news that AJ Bethke’s little boy Caleb, who was a toddler when they last visited here, has started in Grade 0, which he greatly enjoys. AJ is looking forward to teaching classes in person again at UKZN.

Good news on the very last day of January was that the Covid regulations had been relaxed again, to allow every child to attend school, every day. We give thanks for this, one of many blessings we used to take for granted. We are privileged, too, that vaccines are easily available and at no cost, to protect us and those around against Covid. So it was a shock to this writer to arrive at Settlers Hospital when due for a “booster jab”, and find that there was not one single other person waiting to be vaccinated! Please, everyone, take advantage of what is offered here. And may God grant us health, strength and peace.

 

People and Places, January 2022

As 2021 drew to a close, we were thankful that services for Advent and Christmas were able to go ahead as planned, despite the new and more infectious Omicron variant of Covid-19. On the first Sunday evening in December there was a Taizé service, followed the next week by a contemplative service, both organised by our Director of Music Kutlwano Kepadisa. Our Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols was held on Sunday 19 December. It was well attended, and Kepa is to be congratulated on the programme he was able to produce with a choir which finally numbered only seven, due to a variety of challenges. The seven included Senior Organ Scholar Jon Hughes and Junior Organ Scholar Bayanda Mthetho, who also took turns at the accompaniment, and Kepa himself!

Bayanda has now finished his Matric, and so has the 2021 Head Chorister Xolisa Foley. We wish them well as they go on to their university studies. Sadly for the Cathedral, Bayanda has set his heart on going to UCT! The contribution of these two young men to the choir has been enormous over the years. Anyone who has a copy of the CD recorded in 2015 by the Cathedral Choir under A-J Bethke, will be able to hear their young voices as trebles, singing the solo part in the last piece in the recording, S S Wesley’s ‘Blessed be the God and Father’.

A year ago the Crib Service had been an online occasion, due to concerns about the effect of the then current Delta variant of Covid-19. So this year it was a special joy to be able to open the Cathedral doors to children again for the traditional ‘Instant Nativity Play’, with an orchestra in suitably festive garb. The service, like most of our services, was also live-streamed. The Rotary Carols by Candlelight was presented online this year, with participation from the Deanery children, and can still be accessed via our Facebook page. The midnight to 4 a.m. Covid-19 curfew was lifted on 30 December, too late for us to hold a Christmas Eve Midnight Mass. The Bishop of Grahamstown, Ebenezer Ntlali, took part in the Carol Service, and preached and celebrated at the Christmas Eucharist at 8:30 a.m. on 25 December, when we welcomed Peter Black as our guest organist.

Dean Mzinzisi was a guest preacher at one of the churches of the Albany Archdeaconry, St James Southwell, on 5 December, for the celebration of their 150th Anniversary. This pretty and historic church is right out in the country, but well cared for and loved by its little congregation.

It was a particularly joyful occasion on 18 December when two parishioners, Meghan von Wildemann and Philip Cloete, were married in the Cathedral by Dean Mzi Dyantyi. We wish God’s richest blessings on their life together.

Paul & June Walters, 18 December 1971

Exactly fifty years earlier, June and Paul Walters were married by June’s father Philip Russell, later Archbishop of Cape Town, in St Cuthbert’s Church Port Elizabeth (now Gqeberha). June was led up the aisle by her 15-year-old brother Christopher. We rejoice with them, giving thanks to God for their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Ann and Peter Stockwell had not been able to attend the marriage of their daughter Clare in the UK in April 2021, but when South Africa was taken off the UK’s “Red List” in December, Clare and her husband James promptly bought tickets and flew to visit her parents. What a delightful reunion that was!

Jeanette Eve suffered a set-back in her plans to move to Cape Town when she fell and broke a hip. She had to be admitted to hospital in Gqeberha, for a partial hip replacement. We give thanks that her daughter Catherine was able to come up and be with her, and pray for her recovery. Prayers are also asked for Kay and Rudi Marx’s son Gunther and his wife Kelly, who were held up and robbed at gunpoint in their Gqeberha home on 14 December. 

Sarah James, who has been in our prayers since her surgery to correct scoliosis over a year ago, has now been able to start post-surgery rehab. We give thanks that she is now doing exercises to strengthen her core and upper back, with a view to stabilising and protecting her spine.  

An answer to prayer came on 28 December, when Judge Gerald Bloem ordered Shell to stop their seismic blasting off the Wild Coast. The group which asked the Makhanda High Court for an interdict to halt the blasting included local communities and fisher folk, as well as environmental organizations. They brought an impressive array of up-to-date scientific evidence to back their request, and it was this which led Judge Bloem to make his ruling. We give thanks for this victory for our local marine life, and for those who live on our coast and depend on it for their livelihood.

We pray for Cathy Meiklejohn, whose mother Elaine Hill died in KwaZulu-Natal, and also for the family of Philip Court, a former member of the 7:30 congregation who was house-bound for a long time, and died here recently.

Bishop Tutu (then General Secretary of the SACC) in 1978 with Bob and Maggy Clarke’s daughter Helen in Pietermaritzburg

The Most Revd Desmond Tutu, Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986-1996, died on 26 December at the age of 90. Reviled by the apartheid government, adored by congregants and freedom fighters alike, this “Rabble rouser for peace” as his biographer John Allen described him, was above all a man of God, and a man of prayer. Impressed by the Dalai Lama’s spending five hours in meditation every morning, Archbishop Tutu himself was in the habit of getting up at 4 a.m., and spending three or four hours in prayer every day. His contribution to our country’s transition to democracy is incalculable, and it is no exaggeration to call him, as many have done, a “global icon”. But he is remembered also as a man of joy, full of fun, with a laugh often described as a “cackle” which was irresistibly infectious, and a fund of hilarious stories.

In the week following the death of Archbishop Tutu, numerous memorial services were held in Cathedrals and parishes all over the ACSA. The service in this Diocese took place in St John’s East London. His funeral was on 1 January in St George’s Cathedral Cape Town, and was a “Category One” State Funeral, but at the same time an Anglican Requiem Mass. The excellent sermon by the former Bishop of Natal, Michael Nuttall, who was also formerly Dean of Grahamstown, can be read here.  Choosing Micah 6:8 as his text, Bishop Michael pointed out that ‘the Arch’ had lived his life in obedience to the Lord’s commands “ to pursue justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly.” In this New Year which can be pronounced ‘Twenty Tutu’, may we be inspired to follow his example, and may God bless us all.