Saturday, 17 November 2018

A delayed goodbye to St Helena by visiting bishops

From left, Bishops Stephen, Dale and Allan on
a school visit with Archbishop Thabo.
From an unseasonably windy day on the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, Archbishop Thabo wraps up his daily blog account of his visit to the Diocese with Bishop Stephen Diseko and Bishop Allan Kannemeyer: 

Friday November 16 

On my last scheduled full day on St Helena, I walked once again – alone this time – up and down  Jacob's Ladder to look out over Jamestown and surrounds. The wind didn't exactly blow me up, but it got windy during the day and the talk was of whether the weekly flight will be able to land on Saturday or not. As a frequent traveller, I have flown in cantankerous and inclement weather before but only time will tell...

After breakfast we had Morning Prayer, followed by an official visit to the Governor's office at the Castle in Jamestown. Governor Lisa Honan gave our team an audience and shared her journey and vision, as well as her love for the the island.

We then went to the Prince Andrew School, where the primary and secondary school children of the island were all together. The Secretary of Education was present too. Mrs Penny Bowers is the head teacher of the school. They convened a great assembly, the first where all the learners congregated in one hall to worship with us. We sung, read a text, and Bishop Dale and Fr Musgrave of the Roman Catholic Church did a sermon demonstration.

I taught the school Miriam Makeba's “Click Song” and we danced together. I shared briefly my education story, as in my book, Faith & Courage, stressing its importance and relating how some in Africa still struggle to attend school. A young Afrikaans boy came up to me after assembly, asked me, “Waarvandan kom die biskop” and gave me a high five. It took me on an emotional journey home. He was touched too and I glad that he stepped out to greet me.

After school, I went to the Saints FM and SAMS local radio stations to share our experiences of the island. Leigh and Cyril at the respective stations were such a joy.

We had our last meal and lunch with our ecumenical partners and said our thanks and good byes. We were meant to have a boat trip to see whales but it was cancelled due to the wind and very choppy seas. This meant we had our only nap of the week today!

Tonight we will have our last meal with the Diocesan Council and clergy, then come back to the hotel and pack. Tomorrow weather permitting and God willing we shall depart. I have my boarding pass at hand. Thank you all for carrying us and the Saints in your prayers. I now pen off my reflections. Do visit st Helena to retreat, recoup and reflect.

LATE NOTE FROM BISHOPSCOURT: As we prepared the Archbishop's blog post for publication, news came that the weekly Saturday flight had been cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. The party is now expected to return on Tuesday, resulting in a number of cancelled engagements, including the Archbishop's participation in London in preparation for the Lambeth Conference.

More notes on slavery:

Slaves were transported to and from St Helena before the trade was abolished in the British empire. After its abolition, a British naval brig, the Waterwitch, was deployed to suppress the trade, and a naval court was set up on the island to try slavers captured by the navy. 


Notice of a sales of slaves.



An account of what happened to freed slaves.


A memorial to the crew of the Waterwitch.

Homily preached at the Consecration and Installation of Dale Arthur Bowers MBE as 16th Bishop of St Helena


Bishop Dale and Archbishop Thabo
(Photo: What The Saints Did Next’)
Homily by the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, PhD, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa at the Cathedral of St Paul on Sunday, 11th November 2018:

Readings: 1 Kings 17:8-16; Ps 146; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mk 12:38-44

May I speak in the name of God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Your Excellency Mrs Lisa Honan and Mr Dave Honan, Members of the Legislative Council, ecumenical partners, my brother Bishops,  other distinguished guests, esteemed clergy of this Diocese, and People of God, sisters and brothers all:

Friday, 16 November 2018

St Helena's graves show the pain of war

Archbishop Thabo at the graves of Dinuzulu's infant sons.
Archbishop Thabo continues his account of a visit to the Diocese of St Helena:

Thursday November 15 - later in the morning

After climbing Jacob's Ladder together with our visiting party, I joined Bishop Dale and the Canon for Morning Prayer. Then our episcopal team joined Dale and me for another Bishops' peer training session.

We concluded the session on the issue of Church governance and the Bishop's role as the main liturgist in the Diocese. We addressed the question of how scripture, self-knowledge and your response to God's mission enables you as a bishop to create structures in the Diocese that breathe life and release others for mission.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Bishops climb Jacob's Ladder - and visit oldest St Helena resident


Bishop Stephen Diseko reaches the top.


Thursday November 15 – Morning

Today all four of us visitors – including Bishop Steve, Bishop Allan and Fr Mcebisi - made the early morning climb, 699 steps up Jacob's Ladder!

See more photos below... 

Wednesday November 14

We continued with our Bishops' peer training today, devoting a session to the Bishop in scripture as we shared our experiences.

Then we visited Plantation House, the official residence of the Governor of the island, for a special tour in which we learned a lot of history and background. St Helena being a British Overseas Territory, it has its own Legislative Council and a governor who represents the British monarch. We were glad the current governor has opened the residence for the public to visit.

Also at Plantation House, we met the oldest resident of St Helena, Jonathan the Tortoise, who at an estimated 186 years is also reputed to be the world's oldest known living terrestrial animal. Then we went to visit Longwood House, the house in which Napoleon Bonaparte lived from 1815 to his death in 1821 after the British had defeated him and sent him into exile. There we refreshed our knowledge about the ravages of war in history.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Of Dinuzulu, Boer prisoners and the slave trade - Blogging from the South Atlantic

Travelling inland on St Helena (Photo: Archbishop Thabo)

Visiting the Diocese of St Helena with Bishop Stephen Diseko of Matlosane, Dean of the Province, and Bishop Allan Kannemeyer of Pretoria, for the consecration and installation of Bishop Dale Bowers, Archbishop Thabo writes: 

Tuesday November 13:

After Morning Prayer at St James' Church in Jamestown, we started our Bishops' peer training at St James' Vicarage with Bishop Dale, touching on the bishop as a person and caring for oneself.

The three of us - Bishops Stephen and Allan and I - shared our own varied experiences, which was very fruitful for all of us.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Women destined for God’s purpose - Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

An address to the 2018 Provincial Conference of the Anglican Women’s Fellowship:

Theme: Women destined for God’s purpose


President of the AWF, Mrs Lucille Henniker, 
Members of your Provincial Executive Committee, 
Bishop Dan, your  Liaison Bishop, 
Your host bishop, Bishop Ebenezer, and
Delegates to this Provincial Conference, 

Thank you so much for inviting me to this conference today, and thank you also to the visitors and guests here present. Let me acknowledge past Presidents Overmeyer and Titus as well as clergy who are here as chaplains.