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