People and Places 2019
- December 2019
- November 2019
- October 2019
- September 2019
- August 2019
- July 2019
- June 2019
- May 2019
- April 2019
- March 2019
- February 2019
- People and Places from previous years
People and Places, December 2019
Saturday 2 November 2019 was a proud day for all South Africans, when the Springbok team triumphed over England in the final of the Rugby World Cup. And for the first time, our team was led by a black African Captain, Siya Kolisi – from the Eastern Cape! Anticipating the possibility that the Springboks would reach the final, to be played on the day of the St George’s Fair, the Fair organisers led by Rodney Bridger made a point of laying on a live screening of the match in the Deanery grounds, and advertised this well in advance. So the Fair shared in the Boks’ success, drawing crowds on a hot day to enjoy the wide variety of food and goods on sale, in St George’s Hall, the car park, and extending into the Deanery Garden, where the popular Kids’ Zone offered a jumping castle, face painting, and tombola, among other treats. Congratulations to the team on the splendid sum raised, which exceeded R37,000. For more pictures see our Gallery.
There are 21 Dioceses in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Not all of them have Cathedrals (and therefore Deans) but the rest have Senior Priests. Once a year the Deans and Senior Priests get together for a Conference, which circulates around the Dioceses, and this year it was the turn of our Diocese and Cathedral to host the meeting. From 11 – 15 November the Deans and Senior Priests gathered here, and were treated to a programme of worship, thought-provoking lectures and enjoyable social evenings – from a talk by Rhodes Vice-Chancellor Sizwe Mabizela to supper-time entertainment by Makhanda Kwantu Choir. Congratulations to Dean Andrew and the office team for putting this together. Visiting Deans may well think this is a hard act to follow!
We are immensely proud of Cathedral chorister Bayanda Mthetho, who goes into Grade 11 at Graeme College in January. Having obtained his Grade 8 piano, he entered for his Trinity Licentiate in Performance at the beginning of November, playing pieces by Aaron Copland, Bach and Scriabin, as well as a complete piano sonata by Grieg. An invited audience at a pre-exam recital he gave at DSG was thrilled at his ability and flair, and not at all surprised that he deservedly received his ATCL with Distinction!
The last few weeks of the academic year present Makhanda/ Grahamstown with something of a private Arts Festival. Asakhe Cuntsulana, best known to us as our master of marimbas, gave his BMus Honours recital (voice) on 20 November. On the same day Paul Walters and his son John jointly presented the Schonland Lecture at St Andrew’s College, focussing on some paintings by John, which they described as being “after” the artists Caravaggio, Baines and Kandinsky. John, who has been teaching at College, is leaving for the UK with his wife Cath and family, and we pray for them in the next phase of their life. The group Byrdsongs gave a concert in the Old Power Station on 22 November. Among their singers are John Jackson and Asakhe, and Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa) joined them for this occasion.
The next evening, our Director of Music Cameron Luke gave his first recital in this city, and indeed in the Southern Hemisphere, on the organ of St Bartholomew’s Church. His varied programme and masterful playing amply demonstrated the special qualities of the historic instrument, which is unchanged since it was installed in 1871 – apart from the addition of electricity so it does not have to be pumped by hand!
Cameron has been teaching the art of choral conducting to a group of music students at Rhodes. The Cathedral Choir welcomed these three young people to hone their skills under his tutelage during choir practices. On Sunday 17 November their end-of-year exam took place in the real-life situation of a Sung Eucharist in the Cathedral, at which the Cathedral Choir sang Byrd’s Four-Part Mass and a number of anthems, conducted by Tamsyn Hanslo, Matt Williams and our own Asakhe Cuntsulana.
Kutlwano Kepadisa, Assistant to the Director of Music, attended a weekend conducting course in Stellenbosch, directed by André van der Merwe of the Stellenbosch University Choir. Kepa greatly enjoyed this opportunity, and was honoured to be singled out by van der Merwe to demonstrate to his fellow students the proper stance for a conductor!
Congratulations to our Junior Choristers who received awards at the Graeme College prize-giving: Ambesa Cagwe for athletic achievements; Junaid Douglas a certificate of Academic Excellence, along with the Vernal Afrikaans Prize; Xolisa Foley Half Colours for Choir, and Nzulu Nzwana Full Colours for Choir; Nzulu Nzwana and Bayanda Mthetho shared the Graeme College Choir Prize and Bayanda also received a Certificate of Academic Excellence.
Barbara and Wilf Stout, who founded the Makana Choir School in 2008, and led it for the first four-and-a-half years of its existence and are now living in Scotland, paid a visit to South Africa in mid-November. They were able to make a brief stop here, and catch up with some of the present and former choir members. It was good to see Denise Herbert, a former Assistant Priest at the Cathedral, who also came from Scotland and spent a few days here. And from the United States we
welcomed the Revd Dr Mary Ellen Ashcroft on a second visit to the Cathedral. She brought with her a party of five friends, whom she had invited to join her in a journey to “the most beautiful country in the world”. Mary Ellen was our preacher on 24 November.
The Antrobus family welcome a new granddaughter, born to Richard and his wife Megan in Cape Town. Congratulations to the Babu family on the marriage of Anisha to Alex on 9 November. Sathish and Soosan travelled to India for their daughter’s wedding, which took place in St Thomas Marthoma Church in Keezhvaipur.
We pray for the families of Jane Dalton and Anne Stevens, who died in November.
On Sunday 10 November we said farewell to the three College of the Transfiguration students who had been on placement at the Cathedral, Edilson Esteira, the Revd Vimba Mazibuko and Kayla Urbasch, as well as to the other COTT students who had been worshipping with us this term. We pray that God will bless them all, especially those who are about to be ordained, and to start their ministry in a new context. The farewells continue, as students who have been living here and worshipping with us for some years take their leave. We give God special thanks for the ministry of Ayanda Dabengwa who has been in charge of Children’s Church, and a leader in the Cathedral Student Ministry. She has now finished her Honours in Psychology and left to return home to Zimbabwe. Nomvelo Masanga has completed her B Journ. Tendai Goto has been a Lay Minister while doing her LLB at Rhodes. She returns home to Botswana, but hopes to do her articles in South Africa. Anelisa Kelemi has been a chorister, CSM leader, Bible study member and Lay Minister over many years, and has just completed her Honours in Psychology. Ayanda Mpofu has completed her LLB, having been a Lay Minister and Bible Study member. We also say farewell to the Naidoo family, who are relocating to Port Elizabeth. We will miss you all! Idowu Akinloye, who has been part of the Cathedral clergy team while he has been studying, has now completed his doctorate. His last service is on 8 December before he leaves to go home to Nigeria. We look forward to welcoming him back for his Graduation next year, and pray that he will succeed in obtaining a visa to return to South Africa for post-doctoral study.
We pray for God’s blessing on all those who travel to visit family and friends, and may we all have a blessed, peaceful and Christ-filled Christmas.
People and Places, November 2019
This year we delayed the celebration of our Patronal Festival, St Michael & All Angels, from 29 September until Sunday 27 October. Then the parish combined the Patronal with Harvest Festival and the culmination of our Dedication Month. Pledges for the year were handed in, there were harvest gifts and a procession with banners, and parishioners had the opportunity to come forward and give thanks publicly for God’s blessings received during the past year. For more pictures, see our Gallery.
Spring has sprung, with the flowers defiantly in bloom despite below average rainfall (so far – we continue to pray earnestly for more). On 5 October the weather was perfect for the Spring Tea, hosted for our seniors by Cathedral youth and students in the Deanery garden. More pictures in our Gallery.
Dinah Flani has served the Cathedral parish office since 1979, making the tea, fetching the post, greeting visitors, keeping the place spick and span, and looking after a succession of Deans from Roy Barker to Andrew Hunter. Now as 2019 draws to a close, she is about to retire. In honour of her 40 years of faithful service, the parish hosted her and her family to a celebratory lunch on 1 October, attended by the clergy and lay staff, churchwardens and representatives of the various Cathedral ministries. Speeches of appreciation were made, a gift given, and Katie Appollis was responsible for the delicious food. We give thanks for Dinah’s loyal service over so many years, and pray that she may enjoy a long and happy retirement. More pictures in our Gallery.
Congratulations to Tyreece Burger on being chosen as one of the DSG Prefects for 2020, holding the Cultural Portfolio. We also pray for her with thanksgiving on her confirmation at school on 7 October. Further honours for our students from Rhodes University: Ayanda Dabengwa received a Student Leadership Award for her work facilitating student volunteer workshops, and Asakhe Cuntsulana also got a Rhodes Investec top 100 Student Leadership award. Well done!
The Revd Mxolisi Somandi, a priest of the Port Elizabeth diocese, died on 14 October at the age of 57. Our sympathy and prayers are asked for his widow Nomfundo, the twins Mfundo and Khonzi, who were faithful servers at the Cathedral during their time at Graeme College, and all the family.
Chris and Julia Mann went to KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg in October for the wedding of their son Luke to Kim, which took place in a forest chapel. Guests included people from Italy, Ireland, Brazil, Guyana, the USA, the UK, New Zealand, Zambia, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Botswana, as well as from all over South Africa. We rejoice with them, and pray for the happy couple. Congratulations to Gareth and Shiloh Walwyn on the birth of their daughter on 27 October. What a joy for grandparents Chris and Marian!
Good Shepherd Primary School had their 135th Birthday celebration in the Cathedral on 4th October. Their Chaplain, Revd Claire, had children and adults alike jumping up and down while singing “Hallelu, Praise ye the Lord” and other songs. Some children were blindfolded and had to feel and guess various dangerous objects (matches, penknife, sticks, stones, scissors) ending with a large cow’s tongue – which paved the way for an important lesson from the letter of James called “Watch your tongue”!
Over recent years the choir of Holy Nativity, Blackheath in Cape Town, directed by Dr Ashley Petersen, has travelled to one South African Cathedral each year, to sing at their services. Cathedrals visited have included Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and even as far afield as Pietermaritzburg. It was our Cathedral’s pleasure to host them this year, and on Sunday 13 October they sang at both the 9:30 Sung Eucharist and Choral Evensong. Gavin Julius, Assistant Organist at St George’s Cathedral Cape Town, came with them to accompany them on the organ.
Another musical treat took place on 6 October when the Free State Youth Orchestra was in town. They gave a concert in the Monument, together with local musicians including the Rhodes Chamber Choir. Their excerpts from Mozart’s “Magic Flute” involved a number of Rhodes solo singers, among whom was Anelisa Kelemi.
On 20 October Kutlwano Kepadisa’s Makhanda Kwantu Choir gave their final concert of 2019 in the Chapel of St Andrew’s College. This choir, drawn from all sections of our community, has reached astonishing heights of professionalism in the few years of its existence, well deserving the Silver award won at the World Choir Games in 2018. Now they have their sights set on competing in the next World Choir Games, to take place in Belgium next year. As a city we can be proud of them, and as a Cathedral we have contributed to their musical riches, with a quarter or more of the singers being past or present members of the Cathedral choir.
People and Places, October 2019
We give thanks that Dean Andrew Hunter returned to work officially on 16 September (although he had sneaked out to a number of engagements before that!) and that his recovery has been so rapid and complete. He had only a few days in his office before leaving for the Provincial Synod of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Several important statements arising from Synod can be read here.
The horrific statistics of rape and murder of women and children in this country were brought into sharp focus at the beginning of September when news broke of what had happened to Uyinene Mrwetyana, a UCT student from the Eastern Cape, whose mother works at Rhodes. An innocent visit to a local post office ended in gruesome tragedy when she was assaulted, raped and killed by a post office employee. And this happened at the same time as xenophobic hatred was again surfacing in Gauteng and elsewhere in South Africa. Even closer to home, the young woman boxer Leighandre Jegels, killed by her boyfriend, was a cousin of our parish secretary Janine Jegels. The Cathedral community, especially the young, demonstrated their repugnance at these horrible acts on Sunday 8 September at the morning Sung Eucharist. When the altar procession came in, it was joined by a throng carrying hand-made posters with messages such as “Enough is enough”, “Stop femicide”, “Protect us, don’t harm us”, “Love your neighbour”, ”The fruit of the Spirit is love..goodness..kindness..self-control”, and “Make me a channel of your peace”. These were stuck to the rood screen for the duration of the service, which began with the lighting of a candle in memory of those who had died, and another (the Pascal Candle) for hope. At the end of the service the young people collected their posters and processed again with them, right out of the west door, and stuck them outside on the walls of the Cathedral to bear witness. The Dean wrote a special letter for inclusion in the pew leaflet, which was also published in Grocott’s Mail. It can be read here.
Among the bereaved, as well as Janine, we pray for Ronel Mostert, Markus’s wife, whose brother and mother died within a few days of each other, and for Siya Fobosi and his fiancée on the death of her father. Prayers are asked for Roswitha Hobson, who suffered a painful fractured shin, for Roger Embling recovering from surgery and an extensive loss of blood, and for Dawn Long, a former Lay Minister now in the UK, who has begun chemotherapy.
The Makana Choir School held its AGM on Sunday 1 September. We congratulate Paul Walters on his election as the new Chairperson, as well as the rest of the Committee: Treasurer Jessica Smith, Secretary Maggy Clarke, Fund-raiser Cathy Meiklejohn, and parent representative Zoleka Sandi, as well as David Gain, Kutlwano Kepadisa and Glyn Lloyd-Jones. The Director of Music Cameron Luke, the Chaplain Siphokazi Njokweni, and the Head Chorister Nzulu Nzwana are ex officio members of the committee.
We rejoice with the families of Melanie Appollis and Dylan Haarhoff, who have announced their engagement, and wishes God’s richest blessings on the happy couple. June and Paul Walters have a brand-new granddaughter, Harriet Rose, born at home here on 29 September to John and Cath Walters. Lorraine Cassim celebrated her 80th birthday in style, with family and friends, first in Port Elizabeth and then in Johannesburg! Congratulations to them all.
Two of our students have achieved great things. Asakhe Cuntsulana, leader of our marimba group, has been honoured by Rhodes University with a Gold Award for Excellence in Community Engagement, and is also a Student Volunteer of the Year finalist. These awards recognise his volunteer work with the Access Music Project, training a number of marimba bands. Theodore Duxbury, a PhD student in Pharmacy who is also a Lay minister, Parish Council member and Chairperson of our Cathedral Student Ministry, will be graduating from Regent Business School on 12 October, with a Higher Certificate in Healthcare Service Management – with distinction! In addition, he will be presenting an academic paper at the 4th World Conference on Qualitative Research being held in Portugal from 13-21 October, and Rhodes has presented Theo with one of the awards for Student Leadership. We are so proud of them both!
Amy Richter and Joe Pagano, US friends who were previously based at the College of the Transfiguration, are happily back in South Africa. They are now based in KwaZulu-Natal, but paid a quick visit here at the end of September and stayed with the Hunters. We hope to see more of them.
During September we joined other ACSA churches in observing the Season of Creation, with a special series of sermons. Climate change is a dire emergency facing the whole world, but the efforts of even one person can make a difference. This was demonstrated by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, whose solo protests have triggered a global movement of mainly young people. Friday 20 September saw marches taking place all over the world, including in South Africa. Maggy Clarke happened to be in Cape Town at the time to attend a music competition in which a grandchild was taking part, and her grandchildren invited her and their mother to join some thousands who marched from District Six to Parliament. Among Green Anglicans present were the Revd Rachel Mash and Bishop Geoff Davies, and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba was one of the speakers outside Parliament. His excellent and challenging speech can be read here.
For many months now the Taizé community, based in France, has been preparing for a great Conference in Cape Town called the “Pilgrimage of Trust”, to take place on 25-29 September. This was open to young people between the ages of 18 and 35, and a number of our students and youth registered to attend. To raise money for their travel, the Cathedral choir and marimbas, pianist Bayanda Mthetho and friends including the Graeme College vocal group Leopard’s Voice, gave a concert in the Cathedral on 14 September. We give thanks for the success of this and other fund-raising efforts, which raised almost R8,000. Those from the Cathedral who attended the Taizé conference were: Theodore Duxbury, Asakhe Cuntsulana, Kutlwano Kepadisa, Anelisa Kelemi, Tandiwe Gabavana, Esther Mostert and Ayanda Dabengwa, as well as Siphosethu Kepe (from St Philip’s), Nokulunga Manganya ( from St Augustine’s) and CR Sister Neheng. There were some 4000 young people present, including as well as Anglicans, members of the Catholic, NGK, and Methodist Churches among others. They stayed with community members, and visited various outreach projects. But the focus was on the worship, which was an inspiration. To their delight Rachel and Nicola Hunter were able to join the conference for part of the time, and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba also paid a visit. You can read his address to the gathering here.
People and Places, September 2019
At the end of July Dean Andrew and Claire set off for the Western Cape in preparation for Andrew’s hip replacement. They were able to spend two days with their daughters in Stellenbosch on the way, and then went on to stay with Claire’s brother Dr David Nye. Andrew’s operation took place on 5 August, and the surgeon was assisted by none other than David Nye! The operation was a complete success, and Andrew was thrilled to realise that the pain which he had been living with for so long, had left him. After his discharge, he and Claire spent a further week in Cape Town with her sister and family. Andrew had never known that his hip was “genetically not fully aligned”. His life-long passion for long-distance running (including the Comrades and Two Oceans) had caused the cartilage to wear through, resulting in the painful situation of bone rubbing against bone. The family expressed warm gratitude to God, to the surgeons, and to family and friends who have shown love and care for them in so many ways. For a letter from Claire with further details, click here.
Claire brought Andrew home on 17 August, where he has been continuing his sick leave. Amazingly, just a week later on Sunday the 25th he felt well enough to attend the Thanksgiving Eucharist of the Diocesan Family Weekend in Alice. The Family Weekend began on the Saturday with sports and stalls, and was well supported by members of the Cathedral family, especially clergy and young people. Sub-Dean Mzi Dyantyi was in overall charge of all the arrangements, and well earned his Sabbatical, which began on 26 August. We wish him well in this time of refreshment and renewal, and look forward to welcoming him back at the end of November.
In August it was time to say a sad farewell to the Benedictine monks, who had been living and ministering at Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery, Hillandale, since 1998. Their final service, a bitter-sweet occasion of thanksgiving, took place on Saturday the 24th. We pray for them as they move to St Benedict’s Priory at Volmoed, near Hermanus. We thank God that the work of Holy Cross School continues, and pray for the staff and students. For a letter from the Prior, Brother Daniel, click here.
We thank God for the contribution made to the Cathedral by Luvuyo Mvaphantsi, during his two periods of parish placement with us. Although the second of these ended on 30 August, we are glad to have his continued presence as a Lay Minister, as well as his family’s involvement, until the end of his time at the College. After 40 years working for the Cathedral Parish Office, Dinah Flani is now retiring. We thank God for her many years of loyal service, and ask blessings on her in her retirement.
Our prayers are asked for Dinah’s daughter who has been in hospital, and Peter Marcus and Michael Whisson’s wife Adrienne, who have both had operations. Special prayers are asked for Roger Embling, who after an bicycle accident had to have a hip replacement, which was followed by further health complications. Dawn Long, now living in the UK and working at Leigh Abbey, has had major surgery and we uphold her in prayer. We pray also for our Youth Intern, Tandiwe Gabavana, on the death of her uncle.
Our artists-in-residence have been on tour. Over the weekend of 24-25 August, Julia Skeen and Chris Mann were at the McGregor poetry festival. Julia presented ‘The Horn of Plenty’, a series of her paintings which incorporate Chris’s poems. These inspire a new appreciation of such ordinary fruits and vegetables as Mushrooms, Rice, Aubergines, Figs, Prickly Pear and Sweet Potatoes. Chris offered ‘Sweet is the Fruit of the Prickly Pear’, a series of songs and ballads, with titles such as ‘Small Town Late Night Berg-wind Blues’, ‘Aardvark’ and ‘Hinterland Heroes’. The following week Chris was the guest speaker at the annual prize-giving for creative writing students at the Durban University of Technology, after giving a workshop for fifty creative writing students.
The quality of musical training our young choristers receive was proved when the youngest member of the Cathedral choir, Siyolise Sandi, a Victoria Primary Grade 7, conducted Fern House choir in her inter-house singing competition.
Maggy Clarke has been involved in editing a book about the Cathedral of the Holy Nativity, Pietermaritzburg, which was built in 1979-80 while her family was living there. The Dean from that time, John Forbes, has collected a treasury of many people’s memories about how two parishes amalgamated, healing ancient divisions, and the building of a new and imaginative place of worship and centre of ministry. As the process of putting together the book drew towards a conclusion in August, Maggy was invited to KwaZulu-Natal for four days of intensive work, which was a joy as it involved meeting old friends and new, and staying in beautiful surroundings – a sugar-cane farm near Eston and an estate in Howick surrounded by a game reserve. She also managed a brief visit to A-J Bethke in Durban. He and his three-year-old son Caleb entertained her to tea, and she can report they are well and happy.
People and Places, August 2019
The National Arts Festival came to town from 27 June to 7 July, and as always, the Cathedral was in the middle of it! Along with other city churches, the Cathedral hosted many Spiritfest events. The Cathedral Choir, directed by Cameron Luke, sang a Choral Evensong on the first Friday evening, a Lucernarium on the Wednesday, and a magnificent Sung Eucharist on the first Sunday at which the organ accompaniment for Haydn’s ‘Little Organ Mass’ was played by a former Cathedral Director of Music, Christopher Cockburn. Christopher returned on the Wednesday to give an organ recital, ‘Toccatas, Adagios and Fugues’. Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa) and his Makhanda Kwantu Choir invited the Quava Vocal Group from Johannesburg to join them in a ‘Choral Extravaganza’ concert, and at the end of the Festival it was the Kwantu Choir which sang in the final Eucharist.
Chris Mann came back from the UK where he and Julia had been spending some months, specially to take part in the Festival. He presented a programme of his song-poems titled ‘Sweet is the Fruit of the Prickly Pear’. He also led a walk-about of the lovely paintings and poems from his and Julia’s book ‘The Horn of Plenty’, which were on display in Rhodes Chapel. The St Michael’s Marimbas proved as popular as ever, and for the first time in some years the bell ringers of the Cathedral were able to invite members of the public to come up to the ringing chamber for an inter-active explanation of how the bells are rung. The Chapter House was again transformed into a Coffee Shop for the weekdays of the Festival, and was the venue for the Spiritfest Winter School. Paul Walters was among the speakers, with a focus on the poet John Dunne, under the intriguing title: ‘For God’s sake hold your tongue and let me love: the many loves of John Donne.’ David Manning, whose team has put in so many hours restoring the priceless stained glass of the Cathedral, shared his expertise on the subject of stained glass in fascinating talks, in the Cathedral and St Andrew’s College Chapel.
The Cory Room was again the venue for an exhibition by the ’40 Stones in the Wall’ group of Christian artists. The ecumenical street parade changed its time and date to take place on the first Sunday afternoon of the Festival, ending with a celebration of praise and song in Commemoration Methodist Church, and Cathedral people were able to take part in this act of witness. Other events took place in St Patrick’s, the NGK, Every Nation Church and Trinity Presbyterian Church among others. For the full list of Spiritfest happenings, see the Spiritfest page of the Cathedral website, and for more photos see the Spiritfest Gallery.
Outside Spiritfest, numerous members of the Cathedral family were involved in Festival events. John Jackson was among a number of former Cathedral choristers who were part of Byrdsongs’ lovely rendering of the Fauré Requiem in the Rhodes Chapel. Saeculum Aureum, the a capella group conducted by Glyn Lloyd-Jones which consists mainly of members of the Cathedral choir, presented ‘Better Times’, a collection of songs from the first World War. Lynette Marais and Jeremy Fogg were joined by Rohan Quince for a most moving presentation of poetry and prose about the same conflict, entitled ‘Another World’. The Makhanda Kwantu Choir did not confine their activities to Spiritfest or the Cathedral, but were the back-up choir for the Eastern Cape Divas, and gave a series of concerts called ‘Voice Dance!’ which deservedly was nominated for an Ovation Award, as was the Quava Vocal Group. Well done to Kepa and the singers! And congratulations to the enterprising Mothers’ Union team, led by Lilitha Dyantyi, which sold wors rolls outside St George’s Chambers.
After the Festival, the whole Hunter family: Dean Andrew, Claire and their daughters Rachel and Nicola, went on holiday together to Thailand. A well-deserved rest, and a beautiful and memorable experience. We pray for the Dean as he prepares for a hip operation in Cape Town during August. Cameron Luke, our Director of Music, revisited the UK for a couple of weeks in July. It is good to welcome him back, and also Geoff and Margie Antrobus after their visit to their daughter Shirley in Canada. She and her family are happily settled in Oliver, a small town where local wildlife varies from cute humming-birds to the downright scary – a black bear seen in Shirley’s garden!
At the end of July came the very sad news that Revd Luthando and Lusanda’s baby boy, Lumnene, had died, at Greenacres hospital, in Port Elizabeth. He was just three months old. Our hearts go out to them in this time of loss and grief. May their darling child rest in peace and rise in glory, and may the parents and the whole family know the grace and love of God. The Madiba family had a particularly distressing month, as Luthando’s aunt, Nombongo Madiba Phumlomo, also died. We uphold them in prayer, as well as the Bridger family after the death of Davidean’s father David Claassen. Siphokazi Njokweni is also in our prayers after she received the horrific news of the murder of her cousin, together with a friend of his girl-friend, in Cape Town. We pray for peace in the troubled parts of that city.
On Sunday 21 July our Cathedral Choir was heard on Classic 1027. Thanks are due to Peter Terry (brother of Pat, and former boy chorister at the Cathedral) who now anchors the choral music programme from 7 to 8 a.m. on Sundays. He played four items from our 2014 and 2015 CDs, including the 23rd Psalm to a setting by Christoher Cockburn. Classic 1027 is a Johannesburg radio station, but people with DSTV can get it through their TV sets.
We welcome back the school children and students, as they return for the second semester. And we welcome the following COTT students, who will be with us on placement for this semester: Vimbizizwe Mazibuko, and Karla Urbasch from Natal Diocese, and Eldison Eistera from Mozambique. And it was specially good to have Sarah Mortimer, a student from Sarum Theological College in Salisbury, England, joining the Cathedral ministry team for a three-week placement. Her home is in Bracknell in the Oxford Diocese, and she is married with three big sons. Luvuyo Mvaphantsi is with us now for his final parish placement block, as part of his BTh programme, and we value his closer involvement in the team.
At the beginning of July the Grade 7 class of St Mary’s DSG in Pretoria delivered 70 beautifully made blankets. These were distributed to McKaiser Old Age Home, Themba TB Hospital and children at a local soup kitchen. How wonderful to share warmth, love and joy with them all. Thank you, St Mary’s DSG!
People and Places, July 2019
It was a great joy when one of our long-time Lay Ministers, Geoff Antrobus, was ordained by Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali on 8 June in St Philip’s Church, Gompo, East London. The Bishop made a special exception for Geoff, and ordained him both Deacon and Priest at the same service. There was a precedent for this from the 1970s in Pietermaritzburg, when Prof (and former Senator) Edgar Brookes was ordained Priest after what he liked to describe as “a blameless diaconate of twenty minutes”. In view of the large number being ordained Deacon in St Philip’s, Geoff’s diaconate was a few minutes longer, but equally blameless!
Not long after that Geoff and Margie flew off to Canada for a long-planned visit to their daughter Shirley and her family. We pray for them as they enjoy this special time together, and for Geoff as he begins his priestly ministry in the parish of St Peter Sidbury.
On 9 June the Cathedral hosted the annual Big Hymn Sing. As usual on such occasions the building was packed to capacity, and the singing by the choirs of VG, VP, St Andrew’s College and DSG, Kingswood and the Cathedral was rousing and inspiring. The Kingswood instrumentalists were unable to take part, as many of them had gone down with the flu, so it was good to have Cameron Luke giving a rousing lead on the organ.
Kutlwano Kepadisa, who is now conducting the Graeme College group Leopard’s Voice as well as his own Kwantu Choir, was privileged to be able to attend a course for conductors, ‘The Path to the Podium’. This was held at his old school, St Stithian’s in Johannesburg, on 14 and 15 June. He came back inspired, having taken 16 pages of notes during the ‘jam-packed’ programme.
Our prayers are asked for Jeanette Hodgson, who broke her hip and had to undergo an operation in Port Elizabeth. Theo Storm, one of the College of the Transfiguration students who has been worshipping at the Cathedral recently and assisting in various ministries, was invited by the Eastern Cape branch of the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) to be the Warden at their June Winter School in Port Elizabeth. Most unfortunately just the day before he was to take up his duties, Theo collapsed and was admitted to hospital. We pray for this young man, for a good diagnosis and a rapid recovery.
The Mothers’ Union began the month of June with a successful Morning Market on Church Square on Saturday the 1st. On the 17th, local branches of the Diocesan Youth Guild got together to do a big clean-up around St Philip’s Church, Fingo Village.
The social highlight of June for the Cathedral was a day of celebration on the 16th, in honour of Dean Andrew’s recently awarded doctorate. Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali celebrated and preached at the main morning Eucharist, after which there was a splendid sit-down lunch. St George’s Hall was beautifully decorated by Rose Spanneberg, with miniature doctoral gowns displayed on every table. The proceedings began with a procession of graduates, while the choir sang ‘Gaudeamus Igitur’. Theodore Duxbury once again was a brilliant MC. There were speeches by Dr Rose Spanneberg, the Revd Prof Geoff Antrobus, and the Dean’s daughters Rachel and Nicola, who were happily both able to be present. There were amusing games, and a couple of Pat Terry’s inimitable settings of new words to old tunes. The food was superb, prepared by a team of cooks including Sally Terry, Ikhona Mvaphantsi, Cathy Meiklejohn, Katie Appollis, Tandiwe Gabavana, Lou-Anne Liebenberg, Lilitha Dyantyi, Margie Antrobus, Anelisa Kelemi, Euline Bartis and Kwezi Gabavana. Among generous donors we thank especially the Cathedral Mothers’ Union, and the Gabavana family who gave the chicken. For more pictures, see our Gallery.
As well as congratulating the Dean, we salute Idowu Akinloye, who has recently received his Bachelor of Theology (Honours) degree, graduating in absentia from the Archbishop Vining College of Theology in Akure, Nigeria.
At the celebratory lunch we bade farewell to Br Nnamdi Okafor, who had completed his Masters in Science, and is hoping to be admitted to a PhD programme at the University of the Western Cape.
Daphne Rink, a former parishioner now living in KwaZulu-Natal, wrote to ask for prayers for her granddaughter Caroline Rink, who was due to be ordained by the Bishop of London in St Paul’s Cathedral on Saturday 29 June. Caroline’s aunt, Gill Rink Hewitt, is the wife of our former Dean, Chich Hewitt.
On 23 June we were delighted to welcome Brother Claudio from the Taizé Community in France, who was visiting South Africa in preparation for a nationwide youth event later in the year. He attended our morning Sung Eucharist, as well as a Taizé service in the evening, at which he enriched the chants with some additional words and harmonies. On the following day he spoke at a gathering of youth, to invite them to come to the “Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth” in Cape Town in September.
We had a foretaste of the Festival at the 9:30 Eucharist on 23 June. Not only did the Kwantu Choir sing, but young violinist Neo Motsatse made a guest appearance, before her concerts on the main Festival. As the National Arts Festival begins, we pray for all those attending and participating, and particularly for the many from churches around the town who are involved in Spiritfest. May they witness to the glory of God through the arts!
People and Places, June 2019
South Africans went to the polls on 8 May, to elect members of Parliament and of the Provincial Legislatures. Because our electoral system depends on party lists rather than constituencies, although voters were faced with a choice of a record 48 political parties, they had no opportunity to pick and choose between the individuals on any party’s list. We give thanks for a peaceful election, and pray for those elected. The ANC, which retained the majority in the Eastern Cape Province, announced that their candidate for Premier is Oscar Mabuyane. We pray for him as he takes on this new role.
Warm congratulations to chorister and organ scholar Bayanda Mthetho, who came top at the recent East London Eisteddfod, playing the piano. He also received a Special Mention award for achieving a score between 90-100%. Well done!
Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa), well known to us as a choir conductor, made his debut as a solo pianist on 17 May, as one of the performers in “A Piano Celebration” presented by the pianists of Rhodes University. His nerves beforehand did not show at all in his polished performance of Greig’s ‘An den Frühling’ (To the Spring).
Idowu Akinloye, the Nigerian priest on the Cathedral staff who is reading for his PhD, went to Gaborone, Botswana, to give a paper at a conference on Law and Religion in Africa. In his paper he looked at the proliferation of places of worship in Nigeria, and the effect on the environment in that country, as well as attempts which have been made to regulate places of worship. He offered some recommendations to both religious institutions and policymakers, on how to ensure protection of the environment without necessarily limiting the right to religious freedom.
The CR Sisters held their Associates’ Day on 4 May, and welcomed the new Bishop of Port Elizabeth, Eddie Daniels, as both preacher and speaker. His talk in the afternoon focussed on a visit which he and his wife Nicky made recently to the Holy Land.
On 26 May a group of children who had all received instruction were admitted to Holy Communion: Anathi, Uvile and Ovayo Mvaphantsi, Sambesiwe Dyantyi, Cairis Appollis, Esona Pantshwa, Buhle Bam, Sally Kadye, Yarren Marcus, Esona Balele, Alive Nkole, Siphelele and Philani Noqayi, Simnikiwe Faltein, Travis and Tarres Fourie, Thrushen and Tarendra Naidoo and Jayden Conroy. Certificates for participation were presented to Madison Conroy and Sammy Dyantyi. At the same service, Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali baptised Ava Sauls, Alive Nkole, Liyabona Lele, Esona Balele, Siphelele and Philani Noqayi, Simnikiwe Faltein, Aphelele Tala, Levi Goddard and Buhle Andisiwe. We welcome them, and wish God’s blessing upon them.
Many thanks to Leela Pienaar, who has made beautiful new covers for the offertory plates.
David Peter, a familiar figure around the Parish Office, died in May after a long period of ill health. He was usually to be seen sitting outside the Bishop’s Office door, or making himself useful washing cars or carrying boxes. He was one of those who received a monthly hamper of food from our ‘Hungry Basket’ offerings. We give thanks for his life and pray for those who mourn him.
Cynthia Webbstock, Rector of St Paul’s Port Alfred and Archdeacon of our neighbouring Archdeaconry of Albany, was admitted to hospital in an emergency on 13 May, with a serious colon infection. We give thanks that after a couple of weeks in hospital, she has been able to return home to Port Alfred, where her sister is staying for a while to look after her, and we pray for her complete recovery.
Archdeacon Cynthia had to miss the Synod of the Diocese of Grahamstown, which took place at St Alban’s East London from 15 – 18 May. The Cathedral was represented by the full-time clergy, and lay representatives Theodore Duxbury and Tandiwe Gabavana. It seems a pity that this parish was the only one to send members of the parish youth structures as their reps. By all reports it was a good Synod. Although the question of changing the name of the Diocese to ‘Makhanda’ in line with the renaming of the city was discussed, action was postponed for reasons of cost and legal implications.
Makhanda was in the national news during May. The Gift of the Givers regretfully had to withdraw from their intervention in the city. This was because the municipality had not by that stage reimbursed the NGO out of funds coming from central government, as the Gift of the Givers had been led to expect they would. We give thanks that a way has now been found out of this impasse, and pray for a resolution to the dire problems of service delivery in Makhanda, especially concerning water.
Our prayers are with Geoff Antrobus, as he goes into retreat at the beginning of June to prepare for his ordination as both Deacon and Priest on the 8th in East London. He is to be licensed to serve at the churches of Sidbury, Highlands and Alicedale.
People and Places, May 2019
On Good Friday, 19 April, we had the joy of welcoming our new Director of Music, Cameron Luke, who has finally arrived from the UK! It was exactly two years since we bade farewell to AJ Bethke. Although Cameron’s appointment was announced at the time of AJ’s departure, the process of his obtaining a visa to work here was tortuous, and there were times when some of us gave up hope altogether. We thank God that Cameron himself never gave up, and eventually his persistence paid off, and he has been rewarded with a five-year visa, renewable. A well-qualified and experienced
church musician who has worked both in the UK and Norway, Cameron is passionate about the value of music as an integral part of worship, and is longing to see this Cathedral become a beacon of musical excellence. The bell ringers can also be delighted that he is a keen ringer, who would like to be part of a revival of bell ringing at the Cathedral. For more about Cameron, see the our music page. The Dean and Cathedral family are grateful to the team of volunteer organists and pianists who ensured that there was accompaniment at every service during the past two years: Markus Mostert, Peter Breetzke, John Jackson, Penny Whitford and others.
There was a special moment during the early morning vigil service on Easter Day, when after a long period of quiet, listening to Old Testament lessons and reciting psalms, the congregation was startled by a resounding chord from the organ, followed by a wonderful fanfare. There was no doubt, our new Organist had arrived, and his talents were being demonstrated in no uncertain fashion! Later that day, the Dean and Claire welcomed anyone who would like to, to come to the Deanery to “bring and braai”. This was an ideal opportunity for Cameron and parishioners to meet one another.
At the Good Friday three-hour devotion, members of the Cathedral family highlighted aspects of Christ’s passion through the eyes of various witnesses: The sister of the penitent thief (Claire Nye Hunter); Peter (Idowu Akinloye), John (John Jackson); Mary the Mother of Jesus (Ayanda Mpofu), Pilate (Theo Duxbury) and the Centurion (Andrew Hunter). Not in the photo was Mary Magdalene (Siphokazi Njokweni). Click on the names to read their text.
We warmly welcome Luvuyo Mvaphantsi, who has been placed at the Cathedral for pastoral experience, as part of his BTh (final year) degree. He and his family are not strangers to us, having been worshipping with us. Luvuyo is a Lay Minister, and his children are servers.
Congratulations to Dean Andrew Hunter on receiving his doctorate on 5 April 2019, at the Graduation ceremony of Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth. The subject of his thesis was “Conflict resolution and campus protests at Rhodes University, 2015 – 2016”. Paul and June Walters, Geoff and Margie Antrobus, went down with Claire to support him at the Graduation, Paul and Geoff having been among the proof-readers of Andrew’s thesis.
Congratulations also to all Cathedral students, past and present, who received their degrees at the Rhodes Graduation this April. These included Ayanda Dabengwa, Theo Duxbury, Namso Nyamela, Ayabulela Matolweni, Anelisa Kelemi, Ogone Mokobe, Ikhona Mvaphantsi – and of course, the Revd Dr Percy Chinganga, who is on the staff of the Cathedral as well as the College of the Transfiguration. Well done, everyone! For more photos, see our Gallery.
The Cathedral Artists-in-Residence, Chris and Julia Mann, are at present ‘Artists-at-Large’, spending some months in Europe. As well as helping to look after Chris’s stroke-survivor sister, Jackie Shipster, in the UK, Chris attended an international poetry festival in Vicenza, Italy, at which he read a poem ‘A Pilgrimage to Italy’.
June Venn and Elizabeth Breetkze travelled to Australia together in April, although their destinations were different. Elizabeth visited her sister in Sydney, and travelled with her by road all the way to Canberra and Melbourne. She was impressed with Australia’s cleanliness, and good environmental policies, as well as the friendliness of everyone she met. Highlights included attending a show on a stage floating in Sydney Harbour (though the audience was on land), and visiting a beautifully laid out war museum in Canberra. June, after spending a couple of nights with Elizabeth’s sister, travelled on to Melbourne to spend time with a cousin and her family, whose apartment was within walking distance of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral. June loved worshipping there, and felt completely at home at their services, so similar to ours. Both travellers enjoyed beautiful autumn weather, and at the end of three weeks flew home together.
We give thanks for the life and work of Michael Künz, who died on 6 April. Michael worked in Growing the Church’s Media Department in Cape Town. He developed our Cathedral website, as well as websites for many dioceses, parishes and organisations in our Province, including the Diocese of Grahamstown. Prayers are asked for his family. After a battle with pancreatic cancer, Claire Hunter’s cousin, Anne-Christine Houriet, died in Switzerland on 26 April. The family are grateful for the prayers of many, and that she died peacefully in a loving and caring Hospice environment.
Very much in our prayers have been the people of Mozambique, hit by cyclone Kenneth before they had begun to recover from the devastation caused by the previous cyclone, only six weeks earlier. We remember also the flood-stricken areas in KwaZulu-Natal, with all the loss of life and homes, as well as those bereaved and injured in the Easter Day attacks in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. The fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, chilled all those around the world who value historic places of worship. We give thanks that despite all the destruction nobody was killed or seriously injured, and the walls and towers were saved – and even the organ.
On Freedom Day this year, 27 April, the destination for State President Cyril Ramaphosa was right here in Makhanda, where he spoke at the Miki Yili Stadium. Grocott’s Mail described as a “highlight of the day” the singing of the Kwantu Community Choir, conducted by none other than Kutlwano ‘Kepa’ Kepadisa. The President seemed to agree, as he danced and sang alongside them, and even took a turn at conducting. Kepa reported that he exclaimed “I really would love to join your choir.” Bayanda Mthetho was on the keyboard, and Asakhe Cuntsulana played the drum.
Stop press news! Just making it into April, Lumnene Ukhanyo Madiba arrived on the last day of the month, to the great joy of his parents Luthando and Lusanda, and Lulibo who is now a Big Sister! We pray God’s special blessings on this brand-new addition to the Cathedral family.
People and Places, April 2019
The month of March was a busy one at the Cathedral. The Mothers’ Union began the month with a fund-raiser in St George’s Hall, which was a great success.
The College of the Transfiguration has sent us three third-year students to join our ministry team in 2019, Pearl Nzuza and Thami Latha both from the Diocese of Natal, and Jonathan Bukutu, a deacon from Niassa Diocese in Mozambique. We welcomed them on 3 March, and at the same service five new Probationers joined the Choir.
Shrove Tuesday fell on 5 March, and the annual Pancake Pandemonium took place in St George’s Hall. Congratulations to Sally Terry and her team, who this year raised a record-breaking amount of over R7,000. On the following evening, there was a good attendance at the Ash Wednesday Eucharist, and Kepa’s Kwantu Choir joined the Cathedral Choir in singing the Miserere by Allegri. Kwantu returned to sing at a Sung Eucharist on 24 March, when the juniors choristers were on holiday.
March was a good month for congratulations: Two Cathedral young people were appointed Head Girls of their schools: Liyabona Nqumani of Victoria Girls High School, and Kaede Bridger of Victoria Primary. Prof Chris Mann, one of our Artists-in-Residence, was honoured for a lifetime of distinguished service to English. The gold medal was awarded to the poet by the English Academy of Southern Africa in collaboration with Rhodes University’s Department of Literary Studies, the Institute for the Study of English in Africa, and the National English Literary Museum. Percy Chinganga will be receiving his Doctorate from Rhodes at the coming Graduation, and Dean Andrew has been awarded his Doctorate from Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth. His thesis was on “Conflict resolution and campus protests at Rhodes University, 2015 – 2016” and he will be graduating on 5 April. Very well done to everyone!
On Sunday 10 March the Dean admitted Tandiwe Gabavana as our Youth Intern. The Youth Intern programme includes giving work experience, training in administrative skills, exposure to governance, personal growth and development, and discipleship. We give thanks for Tandiwe, and pray for her in this new role.
On 16 March there was an Ordination of Priests in the Cathedral, and one of our own was among the 19 men and women ordained, Lunga Dongwana. The service was magnificent, with a packed Cathedral and rousing music. By contrast the following afternoon Lunga celebrated the Eucharist for the very first time, at a quiet but manifestly holy service held in the sanctuary of the Cathedral. Christ Church incumbent Vic Graham gave a challenging and inspiring homily addressed specifically to Lunga, but applicable to all present. We pray for Lunga and his family as he begins this new phase of ministry among us.
We had a happy Vestry meeting on 17 March, and ask God’s blessing on our new Parish Council, giving thanks for a team which reflects the diversity of our Cathedral family. Ronaldo Burger is joined as Churchwarden by Lungile Penxa, and the other Councillors are Katie Appollis, Rodney Bridger, Theodore Duxbury, Siyabulela Fobosi and Ian Meiklejohn. In addition, Ayanda Dabengwa represents the Cathedral Student Ministry ex officio. They were installed as church officers on 24 March.
Heather Tracey fell on 9 March, breaking a hip, and spent some time in Mercantile Hospital in Port Elizabeth as she needed two operations, the second a full hip replacement. Please pray for her and Andrew. Our prayers are very much with the people of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi after the devastating cyclone and floods. Our Archbishop has appealed for donations. For details click here. There was the terrible massacre of Muslim worshippers by a gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand. Another tragedy was the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane, with the death of all those on board. They included delegates, and one speaker, on the way to a conference on climate change in Nairobi, Kenya. We pray for all affected, including Dean Andrew and Claire’s friends Bob and Rachel Mash, who attended the conference. Sad news has reached us from Cape Town, where the husband of former Cathedral Choir member Sue Abraham, Trevor, died suddenly following an operation. We pray for Sue, and their family and friends. And prayers are asked for Siyabulela Bam, whose wife Nontando died, also suddenly. He was one of the COTT students attached to the Cathedral in 2017, and was recently ordained priest.
In March we said farewell to two of our senior members, who have moved to be closer to family members. Jenny Reynolds has relocated to Cape Town, and Florence Pswarayi to Harare, Zimbabwe. The closure of the St Luke’s Hospice at the CR Sisters means the end of an era, as the remaining residents all had to find new homes at the end of March. We pray especially for Cathedral parishioners Beth Denton and Ruth Brandt, now at Somerset Place, and for Audrey Holmes who has moved within the building to stay in St Peter’s. May God bless them all as they settle into their new surroundings. We give thanks for the wonderful work which took place at St Luke’s, and pray for the Sisters, and for the nursing staff of St Luke’s who now have to find new employment.
When Lent comes round, many of us choose some luxury to “give up”, such as alcohol or chocolate. Few of us would have considered giving up the “luxury” of water on tap, or electricity available at the flick of a switch. Yet now that we have been forced to do that, for a few hours a day, or a few days, how conscious we are that these are indeed luxuries, which we have too long taken for granted. And we are reminded that for the majority of the world’s citizens, and for huge numbers of people even in our own town, water does not come out of a tap inside the house, and electricity is not available at all. The Grahamstown Residents Association is encouraging people who do have water, to use as little of it as possible, so that people in other, higher, parts of the town may have some too. If we are fortunate enough to have one or more rain-water tanks, we can use some of God’s bountiful gift of rain, instead of drawing all our water from the town supply. In other words, we must do our best to share. May we take to heart the lessons of Lenten load-shedding, and may God bless us with more rain!
People and Places, March 2019
In February the rhythm of Cathedral life resumes in earnest. Students return, and the Marimba group, Junior Church and Student Services all get going, enriching our worship. It is particularly exciting to welcome new students, both at the morning services, and at the 6:30 pm Sunday student services. Several first year Rhodes students have joined Cathedral Student Ministry. The newly elected Chairperson of CSM is Theodore Duxbury. Revd Claire is going to be presenting a series (interactive Bible Study Sermons) on “Love”, entitled “Falling in love with Jesus is the best thing I’ve ever done”. The first Sunday in February saw the Cathedral hosting the annual ecumenical Back to School service, with a special Back to School choir conducted by Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa), which of course included the junior members of the Cathedral Choir. Canon Melany Adonis was the preacher.
The Cathedral Office welcomed a new Parish Secretary, Janine Jegels, who is working alongside her predecessor Lou-Anne Liebenberg, now Parish Administrator. We give thanks for her appointment and pray for her in this new role.
The plight of our town continues to be a cause of concern. Prayers are asked for our new Mayor Mzukisi Mphahlwa and his team as they grapple with water shortages, power cuts, and a municipal workers’ strike on top of the usual problems of potholes and stray livestock on the roads. The water emergency has a number of causes, among them inadequate maintenance of infrastructure, made worse by the continuing drought. The situation hit the national headlines, and to our great relief that splendid organisation Gift of the Givers rolled into town with a convoy of seven big trucks, all bearing water in 5 litre bottles to be distributed to those who had none at all. Not only that, but they kept up the deliveries, and kick-started a process of drilling bore-holes, which are already yielding water to augment that supplied by our sadly low dams. We give thanks for this initiative, and the speed with which this body comes to the rescue in emergencies in this country and around the world, and continue to pray for rain.
Level Four loadshedding by Eskom took the country (and even the State President) by surprise, but even before that we had a Sunday without electricity on 10 February, of which we were forewarned as it was for the purpose of maintenance. We were grateful to John Jackson, who volunteered to play the piano for all three services that day. This also had the result of giving our organists Peter Breetzke and Markus Mostert a day off. The third service of the day was a Choral Evensong which focussed on George Herbert, a poet priest who lived long before the days of electric light. The choir sang a setting of his poem ‘Come my way’ by AJ Bethke, and the hymns were all settings of other George Herbert poems. Paul Walters gave an inspiring homily about this poet whose works he knows so well, using the light of a seven-branch candelabra, an appropriately 17th-century touch.
Prayers are asked for Peter Terry, brother of Pat, for May de Vos’s granddaughter Trevin Kingsley and for Trent Hoskins, cousin of Lou-Anne Liebenberg. We also pray for the family of one of our choristers, Siyolisa Sandi, who were the victims of not one but two robberies on the weekend of 17 February. We give thanks for the miraculous healing of Gill Meyer’s grandson, James, in the UK. He was seriously ill with a mystery condition affecting his eyes. Medical experts are baffled and we are thankful to God!
A group of Grade 4 girls from DSG had the opportunity to go round the Cathedral, and even up the tower, on 21 February, when Basil Mills led them on a tour. Anyone interested in going up the tower should make a note that the Bell Tower Tours, which have proved so popular during the National Arts Festival, will be back on the Spiritfest programme this year.
On Sunday morning, 24 February, four Cathedral young people were admitted as members of the Diocesan Youth Guild: Kutlwano Kepadisa, Thandiwe Gabavana, Mandilakhe Ncwadi and Busisiwe Soxujwa. We give thanks for them, and pray for the Cathedral DYG Branch.
One of the highlights of the Makhanda/ Grahamstown year is Masicule. This year the two concerts took place on 24 and 25 February. Not only was the Monument Theatre almost completely full, but the stage was crammed with almost 700 singers, most of them from our local schools, town and township, private and public, all singing joyfully together. And the official conductor was none other than Kepa, while the official accompanist on keyboard was Bayanda Mthetho, our schoolboy organist! They both acquitted themselves brilliantly. The Cathedral family can be enormously proud of these talented young musicians. In 2018 Kepa was the recipient of the Masicule Gift, a generous cash contribution which went a long way towards paying for the Kwantu Community Choir’s travel to Pretoria for the World Choir Games. And this year it is Bayanda, now in Grade 10, who is receiving the Masicule Gift. This will enable him to receive piano tuition from Liz Campbell, who will be preparing him to take his Associate Diploma in piano. Naturally Kwantu Choir and the juniors of the Cathedral Choir were among the choirs featured, as well as Byrdsongs, and the list of soloists included Cathedral choristers Sixolile Mafani, Alizwa Tom, Lelethu Maboza and Hlomela Tyatya. Nzulu Nzwana, our Head Chorister, conducted one of the songs. What a privilege it was for these singers to be alongside the guest soloist, Vusi ‘the Voice’ Mhlasela, in this wonderful feast of song, and what a joy it was to see and hear this demonstration of what South Africa could and should be like.
People and Places, February 2019
A warm welcome to all those returning to Makhanda/ Grahamstown after their holidays, and to those arriving in the city for the first time.
We welcomed a guest preacher on 2 December, the Revd Dr Mary-Ellen Ashcroft. From the USA, she is a long-time friend of Revd Dr Claire. On 9 December two new members were admitted to the Mothers’ Union of the Cathedral, Nomakwezi Gabavana, the Leader, and Thembi Myolwa.
On the Sunday before Christmas a small choir led the singing in an evening service of lessons (not all biblical) and unusual carols. The next day was Christmas Eve, when the Crib Service attracted parents, grandparents, and many children, who dressed as their favourite Nativity characters and performed an impromptu Nativity play, while a merry band of musicians – Nicola Hunter with family and friends – led the singing, this year conducted by Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa). Many visitors came to the Midnight Mass at which Bishop Ebenezer preached, and to the 8:30 Christmas morning service.
On 26 December a 45-minute radio programme entitled ‘The Bells of St Macartans’ was broadcast on the Irish radio stations Shannonside FM and Northern Sound FM. This was mainly concerned with three Irish Cathedrals dedicated to St Macartan, but also included a segment relating to this Cathedral. The connection was that the Dean of Grahamstown at the time when our first eight bells were installed, Frederick Williams, had grown up in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, within sound of the bells of St Macartan’s Cathedral. Those bells are hung in a circle, and Dean Williams wished to have similar circle of bells in the Cathedral in Grahamstown. The radio programme was produced and presented by Noel Murphy, who visited Grahamstown in May 2018. To listen to a podcast of the programme, which includes the sound of the St Michael’s Marimbas, click here.
The Deanery family welcomed home their student daughters for the vacation. Both have now returned to Stellenbosch. Rachel has completed her BA, but is going to spend 2018 adding Xhosa and Afrikaans to her credits, and taking a correspondence course in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Nicola enjoyed getting down and dirty in a veterinary practice during her vac. Having successfully completed three years of Medicine, she has decided to revert to her original choice of Veterinary Science! Unfortunately she missed the application deadline for Pretoria this year so will spend 2019 in Stellenbosch doing Animal Science in the hopes of transferring to Onderstepoort in 2020.
Glyn Lloyd-Jones was at home with his parents in Kokstad for the holidays, during which time they experienced six break-ins. On one occasion, Glyn was attacked. Thankfully they are all right, though very shaken. The community has rallied round and has made it possible for a security guard to be on duty watching their house. We pray for their ongoing safety and protection.
Our former Director of Music, AJ Bethke, spent Christmas in Cape Town with his parents, along with his little son Caleb (now 2¾). On 6 January Caleb was baptised in Thornton Methodist Church by his grandfather the Revd Tony Bethke, a very special moment.
Our marimba leader Asakhe Cuntsulana’s talents are not only musical. He has now published online a book of poetry: Ikhwezi Eliqaqambileyo. To order a copy, click on the picture of the book.
We rejoice with Lorraine Mullins on the birth of a grandson, and congratulate Millicent Armitage on her 93rd birthday. Millie and her daughter Gill have been much concerned with the mysterious illness of Gill’s baby grandson James Caloni in the UK. We continue to pray for his healing. Jane Bradshaw had an unpleasant experience at the end of a lovely holiday. In Cape Town airport she slipped on some steps and injured a tendon in her ankle quite seriously. Regulations at the airport denied her the use of a wheelchair – because she had not booked it in advance! We thank God that she is well on the way to recovery. Prayers are asked for Siyolisa Sandi, a chorister whose uncle has died.
Exciting news is that thanks to renewed generosity by the donors who sponsored him last years, Bayanda Mthetho, our Grade 10 organist, has his organ lessons sponsored for the whole of 2019! Congratulations to another of our choristers, Kuhle Pama, who has been elected as a Prefect at Mary Waters School. We also congratulate Liyabona Nqumani, on being chosen as Head Girl of VG for 2019, and a number of our choristers who have received Colours at Graeme College: Xolisa Foley, Nzulu Nzwana and Bayanda Mthetho for Choir, with Bayanda also receiving Cultural Colours.
Congratulations to all those who passed Matric. Victoria Girls High was one of the schools which achieved a 100% pass rate. Among the successful students were two former members of the Makana Choir School, Sine Nqumba who is going to study at NMU, and Avile Sonyamba who hopes to follow in her father’s footsteps in the SAPS. Onwaba Mafuya is going to UWC, and Tyla Fourie to UCT. From DSG, Hlumela Maqwili is also heading to UCT, and her mother Zoleka is looking forward to a three-month sabbatical during which she will concentrate on her studies.
We give thanks for the safe return of Mandilakhe Ncwadi from initiation school, and pray for God’s blessings on him in his adult life.
Lorraine Cassim has returned after an extended holiday to visit family and friends in the UK, where she has a daughter and a son, as well as the Western Cape and Port Elizabeth. Highlights of her time overseas included seeing the ‘Nutcracker’ ballet in Birmingham, and in Cape Town a visit to Robben Island and the Two Oceans Oceanarium. Maggy Clarke joined her daughter Beccy Stones and family for a week camping in Mozambique. The highlight was a boat trip to go snorkelling around a coral reef, where the fish were spectacular. In January Beth Denton enjoyed a visit from her son and daughter-in-law from the USA.
On 20 January the Dean awarded citations to three long-standing volunteers at the Cathedral who had recently stepped down from their duties, Andrew Tracey (left), Penny Whitford and Clive Whitford. Read the citations here: Andrew Tracey; Penny Whitford; Clive Whitford. Congratulations and many heartfelt thanks to these wonderful people who have given so much in the service of the Lord!
With amazement and delight the Dean has now announced that Cameron Luke, who was previously appointed as the Cathedral Director of Music, is able to come after all and take up the post. We look forward to his arrival in February, and pray for him and the choir as he takes up his duties.
The drought in this city as well as elsewhere in the country is reaching crisis proportions, and often results in disastrous fires. Lynette Marais was in Pringle Bay at the time of the fire in that area. Told to evacuate their homes, the residents of that village then found that the only road out was impassable because of the fire! We thank God that they, and Lynette, were able to return home safely. Closer to home, the Antrobus family farm dam ran dry, and they had to fetch water in a tank from Dog Dam to keep their cattle alive. The month of January ended with a well-attended ecumenical lunch-time prayer service in the Cathedral on Wednesday the 30th. We asked God not only for rain, but for repentance, healing and unity, and also for blessings on all those in the municipality and further afield whose job is to ensure that we continue to receive water in our pipes; and for us all, that we may value and conserve this vital resource. And as this article was completed on 31 January – it was raining. May God be praised!