A journey to ourselves
For the second time in less than a decade, the Diocese of Zululand was blessed with a visit of the Archbishop of Cape Town.
The Most Revd Dr Thabo Cecil Makgoba landed from a meeting in Johannesburg at 18h00 on Wednesday 12 May 2010 at King Shaka International Airport which had been officially opened the previous weekend. Bishop Dino, Dean Lewis and the Provincial Executive Officer (PEO), who had arrived earlier, literally flew into the arms of the Archbishop as he was surveying the unfamiliar surroundings of a new Airport. As tall as King Shaka probably was, the Archbishop looked every inch suited to explore the land which was once the terrain of King Shaka’s almost mythical existence.
After a short skip from the Airport the Archbishop received a thunderous welcome at the Cathedral Hall from members of Chapter, Canons Emeritti and their spouses:
“Ziyamaz’umelusi, Ziyamaz’ubaba wazo”(They know their shepherd, they know their father). Indeed. We were also blessed with the presence of Bishop Lawrence Zulu. There was an impromptu programme of music, dance and jokes. There was also a rendition from a soulful band which had been invited especially for the occasion. We then partook of the sumptuous supper which had been prepared by Eshowe ladies under the leadership of the Bishop’s wife.
In his comments thereafter, the Archbishop revealed his bias towards the Youth. Though their music had somehow lacked in harmony, nevertheless it had had a strong message: Let’s start giving (to the less fortunate).
The next morning (13 May) the Archbishop, the Bishop, the PEO, the Dean, the Bishop’s wife and the Dean’s wife all packed into the Bishop’s car for what was to be two days of adventure into Zululand, a journey into ourselves.
First stop: KwaNzimela Centre. The Archbishop expressed his great appreciation and affirmation of the ministry of Clergy & Spouses as leaders in Parish life. He also challenged us to make an introspection (a journey into ourselves): what do we need to let go as a Diocese in order to achieve great things for God?
The Archbishop then led the celebration of the Feast of Ascension in the Church of the Good Shepherd which was an apt reminder of the days when the whole Diocese was able to gather on that day for the Family Day. After lunch the Archbishop took us through the Vision, Mission and Goals of the Province. We were being given the first taste of the things which will be discussed at Provincial Synod in September. We were being afforded a journey in into ourselves three months before the rest of the Province.
At evening our entourage entered the gates of KwaKhethomthandayo Royal Residence. We were led into His Majesty’s presence by izinduna and Palace servants. Though Evensong was set for six o’ clock, it was only two hours later that we were able to start.
The King consulted the Archbishop on various topics and issues on his mind. At the end of that consultation the Archbishop presented the King with an autographed Bible. The King returned the favour by giving the Archbishop a huge isiqabetho. We then had Evensong at which the Archbishop preached.
The King expressed disquiet at the lack (as he saw it) of the Social Responsibility Profile in the Diocese of Zululand. Later in the Vestry the Archbishop strongly urged us to share with the King the wonderful results of the survey which had been done by Hope Africa in 2009 in the Diocese. The Bishop made a prayer for the King who was going on a journey to Morocco later that evening. The Bishop also prayed for MaDlamini, Queen of KwaKhethomthandayo who was clearly not well.
Dawn on the 14th found us quietly snuggled at Nongoma Inn, courtesy of Mr Mlungisi Nzuza, who was however unable to join us for breakfast as he had taken ill the previous day and was in hospital.
After a healthy breakfast we drove to St Augustine’s Nquthu. Half a kilometre from the venue we were met by drum majorettes, graduates from Circumcision School, women in traditional gear (Sotho & Zulu), and a convoy of cars as well as galloping horses.
Unfortunately, in the midst of the ululation and dancing one lady collapsed and died. Mrs Elex Manyathi (KaSithomo) will forever be a stark reminder of the visit of the Archbishop to Nquthu. Kindly, the Archbishop offered a coffin to her family for her funeral.
The Church was full to capacity and the celebration of the Feast of St Matthias was ably led by the Archbishop. It was a true reflection of the scene from the Book of Revelation: people from every race and language gathered before God’s throne. At the end of the service Inkosi Molefe officially inducted the Archbishop as a full member of the clan (blanket , hat and staff). In the meal that followed it was obvious that Nquthu Archdeaconry had put their best foot forward for the Archbishop. The Archbishop also had time to view a slide show which outlined future developments of St Augustine’s Mission.
Evening found us at Ulundi Holiday Inn where we were being hosted by the Traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu Nation, the Prince of KwaPhindangene, Inkosi MG Buthelezi and his wife, Princess Irene.
The Archbishop marveled at the mixture of political and religious leadership present there and encouraged the continuation of that co-operation for the good of all South Africans. In turn Inkosi Buthelezi expressed deep admiration for receiving non-prejudicial ministrations from the Church at present which is a lot different from what pertained in the past.
After a mouth-watering meal the Archbishop presented Inkosi Buthelezi with a personally inscribed Bible. In his characteristic generosity Inkosi Buthelezi went to his treasure trove and kept on digging out gifts for the Archbishop.
Saturday evening (15th) was to be Cathedral’s turn to wow the Archbishop. The evening began with a Traditional Evensong during which the Archbishop preached a moving sermon looking back at the history of the Church in our country, especially at the critical role she played in bringing about an end to racial discrimination. He decried the absence of that voice in tackling the huge issues that are still before us, especially the remnants of racial division which continue to plague our life as Church and Society.
At the Cathedral Hall the Archbishop also gave members of the Cathedral a glimpse of the Vision Mission and Goals of the Province. He further gave an emotional account of his visit to the earthquake-devastated Haiti. The evening was filled with music. What with women in traditional song and dance, the three tenors and the piano tinkling melodiously throughout the night. The ladies of the Cathedral were not about to be outdone by entertainers of previous venues, especially in the food category.
Sunday (16th May) dawned dark and wet, but it soon changed to be a bright sunny day. By the time the Archbishop’s convoy arrived at Mandleni Camp, people were milling around the grounds and there were no vacant seats inside the Hall.
The first procession entered the Hall to rapturous music: “The Church’s One Foundation…” By the time the Archbishop’s procession entered the Hall the music had become angelic. This indeed was to be the celebration of the 140th Anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Zululand.
It was a day we were going to say thank you to God for the thirteen Bishops who had fait