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.

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