People and Places, April 2017

The Cathedral is delighted to welcome Deacon Bertha Gowera, who is doing the fourth year of her Bachelor in Theology at the College of the Transfiguration. This year she is required to spend two seven-week blocks on a “parish placement”, which is what brings her to the Cathedral. She is a Zimbabwean, married to a teacher, and herself worked as a teacher before studying for the ordained ministry.

Luke, Cameron
Cameron Luke

The Dean announced another new appointment on 26 March, that of a Director of Music to succeed AJ Bethke who leaves after Easter. Cameron Luke will be coming to us from Cheltenham in England, where he has been Director of Music at All Saints’ Church for ten years. He already has experience of working outside the UK, having been Kantor (organist) at a church in Nesbyen, Norway, before he went up to Worcester College Oxford to study music. Unfortunately the date of his arrival in Grahamstown cannot yet be announced, as it is dependent on how long it takes the South African authorities to grant him a work visa. In the meantime the Cathedral music will be in the hands of a team of organists and pianists, the Choir School Committee, and the choir intern Kepa (Kutlwano Kepadisa) and marimba intern Asakhe Cuntsulana.

Shrove Tuesday fell on 28 February this year, and Sally Terry and her wonderful team of volunteers of all ages produced a record number of 840 pancakes. Due to the generosity of many who had contributed to the ingredients, the money raised from their sale was almost all profit. The sum raised for the Bishop’s Lent Appeal was a whopping R7,931. In addition to this, the evening was a tremendous social success, with many of the customers sitting down to eat and chat together.

IMG-20170228-WA0011 IMG-20170228-WA0010

The solemn evening Eucharist which marked the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday was unexpectedly held by candle-light, due to a serious power-cut which in the centre of town lasted well into the next day. The result was beautiful and memorable. As members of the choir sang plainsong in Latin and Greek (Kyrie Eleison), we felt united with the church throughout the ages. And then we were brought right into the here and now with African Amens and the Prayer for Africa.

The Annual Vestry meeting saw the re-election of all Churchwardens and Parish Councillors with the exception of Lunga Dongwana, who as a Deacon is now an ex officio member of the Council. We congratulate them, and wish God’s blessing on the important roles they fulfil in the parish. They are: Churchwardens Ronaldo Burger and Ian Meiklejohn, Alternate Churchwarden Paul Walters, and PCC members Jane Bradshaw, Rose Spannenberg, Cathy Euijen, Rodney Bridger and Patrick Pringle. Sister Carol CR represents the Sisters. The Cathedral Student Ministry and ANSOC are also entitled to send reps. When the Dean admitted the Wardens and Councillors on 12 March, he also licensed the Revd Luthando Madiba on behalf of the Bishop. Luthando received a ‘General Licence’ rather than being licensed to the Cathedral, in view of the nature of his work as Media Officer, which involves travelling all around the Diocese.

Our sympathy to the Dongwana family, on the death of Yoliswa’s brother Mpilo Ian Ngxilo, to Sub-Dean Mzi whose aunt Muriel Bam has died, and to Thelma Neville on the loss of her beloved sister-in-law Molly Thorndyke, who died in East London.

On Saturday morning 18 March Andrew and Heather Tracey were attacked in their home by two young men, who hit Andrew and tied them both up. We give thanks to God that their injuries were not serious, and that one of the perpetrators was immediately arrested by Hi-Tech, who also recovered Andrew’s precious laptop. Released from hospital after a few hours’ observation, Andrew was able to go home to Heather the same afternoon, and the two of them attended the 09:30 service at the Cathedral the very next day. We pray for their complete recovery from the trauma of the event.

The CSM students enjoyed a double feature movie night recently, and raised R220 towards their forthcoming camp next term. The Sunday night  “God and the F____ word” series has been well received, with plenty of opportunity for engaging and discussing the input in small groups in the context of the services. A Bible Study group for students plans to meet every second week in term time. The Young Adults “Connect Group” is finally starting at the end of March, rather later than planned due to various unexpected delays – not least that Anna Talbot was part of an overseas music tour with the KZN youth orchestra!

The annual Masicule concert presented by the National Arts Festival and directed by Gareth Walwyn, featured school choirs and singing ensembles from across the city, in a packed Monument Theatre. Among them were the choirs of Nombulelo High School, the combined choir of DSG and St Andrew’s College and Kingswood College Senior Choir, as well as their Band. Kepa conducted the Kingswood choir. Most of the junior members of the Cathedral Choir took part in either the VGHS Choir or the Leopard’s Voice (Graeme College small choir). In addition some VGHS members of the Cathedral choir sang in an a capella group called #_Official. Their choice of ‘Chandelier’ (definitely not church music!) was enthusiastically received, and they must be congratulated on arranging the music themselves.

It is proving hard to let go of our well-beloved Cathedral Director of Music AJ Bethke. As proof of the affection and esteem in which he is held by the parish and the wider community in Grahamstown, a whole series of farewell events have been organised. Some of these will be described in the next issue of People and Places, but to begin proceedings he gave a recital on the organ of Kingswood College, consisting entirely of the works of J S Bach, on the occasion of that composer’s 332nd birthday. It is too easy to take the talents of an organist for granted, when the music is a background to movement or prayer in a service. But in the context of a recital we were given a glimpse of what is involved – playing one tune with the right hand, another with the left, and yet another with the FEET! Next came AJ’s last Evensong conducting the full Cathedral Choir with the Juniors, on 26 March, at which Pat Terry paid tribute to him for the contribution he has made to the choir and Cathedral.

AJ Bethke with Heather and Andrew Tracey

Andrew Tracey organised a grand Farewell Concert in the Cathedral on 27 March. To open proceedings, AJ was honoured with a breathtaking fanfare on kudu horns, after which Paul Walters spoke movingly on behalf of the Cathedral community. Kepa, the choir intern, also gave a word of thanks. A number of choirs took part: the Cathedral Choir of course, conducted by AJ himself, the Pro Carmine Singers, University Madrigal Singers and the Rhodes Chamber Choir. All of these include members of the Cathedral Choir. The St Michael’s Marimbas performed, and AJ gave us another wonderful Bach Fugue on the organ. There were solos by soprano Jo-nette Le Kay, with guitar and recorder accompaniment. Poets from among the congregation offered items; Chris Mann performed ‘the Jesus of the Holy Land, a psalm for today’. And what would such an occasion be without one of Pat Terry’s delightfully witty parodies? He and Charles Antrobus treated us to a responsorial psalm which resonated with choir members in particular – e.g. “Some have mouths and open not/ eyes have they and look not. They have ears and listen not/ music they have and read not”. The finale consisted of all the choirs together, with singers from Graeme College, singing a Brazilian song and a final “Hamba kakuhle!”

Hamba kakuhle!
Hamba kakuhle!

People and Places is compiled by Maggy Clarke, Please send items of news to her at:, or as comments to this blog.

People and Places, March 2017

A warm welcome to all students, new and returning. We give thanks for a peaceful and amicable start to the Rhodes and Cape Midland College terms. The Cathedral Student Ministry has resumed, and the first series of addresses at the 7 o’clock Student Services on Sunday evenings has begun. This has the cheeky title: “God and the F…. word”, e.g. “FEEL like this is where I belong, a home from home.”

Student Core Team

We ask God’s blessing on the Core Team, pictured here. Back (left to right): Anelisa Kelemi (worship), Ayanda Dabengwa (tea) Kepa (Kutlwano Kepadisa, worship), Ayabulela Matolweni (Advertising), Odi Lehasa (secretary). Front (left to right): Zenande Landu (Advertising), Nomvelo Masango (Fundraising), Rosa Msweli (chairperson), Rev. Dr. Claire Nye Hunter. Absent: Theo Duxbury, Zikhona Mtwa.


For the second year running, the Makana Choir School has appointed a student intern to assist with the training and mentoring of the young choristers. Kutlwano Kepadisa, always known as Kepa (see above), is a third-year student who took part in a conducting course which AJ Bethke ran last year. Happily, Anelisa Kelemi, last year’s intern, is still around to assist as well. This is a great blessing as we face the prospect of a possible interregnum when AJ leaves after Easter, before the post of Cathedral Director of Music is filled.

It was a pleasure to welcome back for another visit former Cathedral music director and organist Barbara and Wilf Stout. Although they must have been glad to escape the Scottish winter for a few weeks, they were not exactly on holiday, as they were kept busy emptying their Grahamstown house so that it can be let or sold. They succeeded in this task, and left town on 21 February, but they have assured us that they will come back and see us again. Another welcome overseas visitor was Cathy and Patrick Pringle’s daughter Janet, with her partner Mark, from India. Patience Osadebe, a visiting academic from Nigeria, and widow of a Canon of the Anglican Church, has been worshipping with us while she is working at Rhodes Pharmacy Department for a month.

After six years studying at Rhodes, Faith Magwenzi has handed in her Masters thesis, and departed to take up a post in Johannesburg. We wish God’s blessing on her move, and in her new job.

Deepest sympathy to Alfonso and Raquel Michaels, on the sudden death of their twelve-year-old daughter Alanah. She apparently died as the result of a diabetic episode (type 1 diabetes). We also pray for Siphokazi Njokweni, whose aunt died on 27 December, and remember with thanksgiving the life of former organist at this Cathedral, Ivan Kilian.

Andrew Tracey
Andrew Tracey

Andrew Tracey was admitted to hospital in Port Elizabeth recently after an episode which left him temporarily unable to speak. We give thanks that he was soon able to speak (and sing) again, and was fit enough to be discharged a few days later. We pray for his full recovery, and for Audrey Holmes, who has been having severe pain in her knee since falling at home in St Luke’s.

On 23 February AJ Bethke gave an organ recital, this time not on the Cathedral organ, but on the newly restored instrument in Commemoration Methodist Church. As that organ was designed and

Commemoration Church Organ
Commemoration Church Organ

built in the Romantic period, AJ’s choices of music were mainly in that style, featuring composers such Guilmant and Mendelssohn, and ending with the ever-popular Toccata from Widor’s 5th Symphony. What a treat!

The Cathedral bells have been silent recently due to a sad lack of ringers. By contrast on the afternoon of Saturday 25 February, all ten of them were to be heard, courtesy of a band of ringers from England. They were taking part in a tour which included peals on all the ringable bells in New Zealand and Australia before proceeding to South Africa and Zimbabwe. The peal was streamed live on the internet, so Colin Lewis, who was instrumental in the restoration of Grahamstown Cathedral’s bells, and who inspired a wonderful revival of enthusiasm for bell-ringing here, was able to listen to them from his home in Wales. He wrote: click here.

Grahamstown Cathedral bells
Grahamstown Cathedral bells

The majority of South Africans feel deeply concerned for the state of our beloved country, whether we think of education, finances, or the quality of governance. United Prayer for South Africa (Up4SA), a country-wide initiative of Christians from many denominations, organised prayer services to take place simultaneously all over the country on the afternoon of Sunday 26 February. The Cathedral hosted the Grahamstown service, which was attended by a relatively small but diverse group of Christians.

Later the same evening there was a Choral Evensong with a difference, celebrating the life and works of George Herbert, an English poet-priest who died in 1632. Some of his devotional poems were read, and others sung because they are favourite hymns, like “Teach me, my God and King”. One, “The Call”, was sung as an anthem by the choir to a setting by AJ Bethke. If any of those present wondered why some members of the choir went bare-foot, the explanation is that they had been finding it difficult to remember the rule “black (or brown) shoes in the sanctuary”. An ingenious new amendment to the rule was introduced on 26 February: “black (or brown) shoes – or nothing on your feet….” Even some of the adults were caught out.

People and Places is compiled by Maggy Clarke, Please send items of news to her at:, or as comments to this blog.


People and Places, February 2017

On 29 January the Cathedral was packed for our annual Back to School service at 09:30, with most of the congregation being high school learners in uniform from a number of Grahamstown schools. What a joy to participate in this act of worship, almost entirely led by young people, and with the participation of school choirs and the juniors of the Cathedral Choir. The sermon was given by the Revd David Stansbury, Chaplain at St Andrew’s College.

Congratulations to the newest member of our clergy team. Lunga Dongwana was ordained as a self-supporting transitional Deacon on 10 December in Bernard Mizeki Church, Scenery Park. We pray God’s blessing on this new phase in his already fruitful ministry at the Cathedral.

Lulibo2In one exciting week in December we welcomed not one but two new babies, children of priests at the Cathedral. On the 6th Lusanda and Luthando Madiba were blessed with their first-born daughter, Lulibo. Samila DyantyiAnd then on the 10th Samila Dyantyi was born to Sub-Dean Mzi and Lilitha, a brother for Sambesiwe. Congratulations and blessings on them all.

Celia Jameson
Celia Jameson

Celia Jameson, beloved physician in this town and member of the Cathedral choir, sadly died on 20 December. Her long illness had not prevented her from carrying on with her practice almost until the end. Despite the usual tendency for large numbers of Grahamstown people to go away for Christmas, Celia’s funeral in the Cathedral on the morning of Christmas Eve was exceptionally well attended, and there was even a choir. Our sympathy goes to her husband Peter Rose and the family. News also reached us of the death of a former Cathedral member who was living in Cape Town, Roger Adams, and Peter Clarke, brother of the late Canon Bob Clarke, died in the British Virgin Islands on 29 November. Dorrie Nuttall, wife of a  former Dean of Grahamstown Michael Nuttall, later Bishop of Natal, died at the beginning of November. One of the residents of St Luke’s, Hazel Maclean, died at the end of January. Prayers are asked for their families.

Services over Christmas included a second Carol Service, with the adults of the Choir, on 18 December, and the lively and popular Crib Service on the afternoon of 24 December. Once again Nicola Hunter had assembled an ad hoc orchestra from among her friends to accompany the carols.Crib service This time there were some adult actors in the impromptu Nativity Tableau, and a real live baby. The parts of Joseph and Mary were played by Sylvester and Christeice Appollis, with baby Arabella as Jesus.

Christmas 2016 was an occasion for several family gatherings. Paul and June Walters hosted their four sons, plus three daughters-in-law and all the grandchildren, for a belated celebration of their 45th wedding anniversary. Geoff and Margie Antrobus gathered a grand assembly of over thirty relatives in Kenton, at the home of Geoff’s mother Sheila. This included their daughter Helen Pfister and her husband and children from New Zealand. Maggy Clarke has fewer relatives but all nine of them had a family holiday together at Mdumbi in the Transkei, to celebrate her 70th birthday.

The Vandereyken family all went home to Belgium for a family Christmas, but are back again for the new school term. We give thanks for the Bridge the Gap students who completed their courses with Oasis Grahamstown, and pray for the new intake now being recruited to take this one-year course for unemployed young people. It equips them with computer skills, readies them for the work-place, and for some may lead to the chance to train as teachers.

A Christmas circular received from former Cathedral assistant priest Andy Kruger and his wife Heather brings the news that Heather is studying Astrophysics at Princeton University in the USA. Andy has been appointed to Trinity Episcopal Church, Cranford, not far from New York, but is still awaiting the granting of his Religious Worker Visa.

In the New Year the Royal School of Church Music held a Summer School for choristers at St Martin’s School Rosettenville, Johannesburg. Three members of the Cathedral choir attended: juniors Liyema Bobotyani and Liqhame Beja, and Maggy Clarke. This was a special experience, singing with a different group and learning new music, under the enthusiastic leadership of a young Director from the UK, Jonathan Lee.

Liqhame, Maggy and Liyema at St Martin's Rosettenville
Liqhame, Maggy and Liyema at St Martin’s Rosettenville

Revd Claire’s younger sister, Judith Duk, was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy on 20 January. Thankfully the op went well and she is making a remarkable recovery. Claire took a week’s compassionate leave to drive to Cape Town in order to offer support and practical help (including lifting her Grade 1 and Grade 3 children to and from school!)

Congratulations are in order for a number of Cathedral people for a wide variety of achievements. Timothy Stephen, our verger, was admitted as a member of the Bernard Mizeki Guild at St Augustine’s Church. The Deputy Chair of the Cathedral Student Ministry, Odi Lehasa, was crowned “Miss Commonwealth South Africa”! Sally Matthews and her son Noah (9), were the first mother-and-son duo to achieve 50 Parkruns in Grahamstown. Special congratulations go to our 2016 Matrics, among them Thandiwe Gabavana, Zintle Mvula and Sivu Citywa who are going on to study at NMMU, while Yondela Kalipa is going to UCT to study socio-informatics. Anda Ntlali hopes to work this year before studying further. Ilse de Vos has been accepted to study Medicine at Wits. Two members of the Cathedral Choir at Graeme College, Sange Loliwe and Kamva Ntapu, wrote Matric. Sange received three As and Kamva one. Well done to them all, and every good wish for the future.

Congratulations to Khonzi Somandi, now in the 3rd year of his BSc at Rhodes. He has written a song which he sings with Lutho Zono, and which can be heard on YouTube: “Dear Black Child”. Lutho, who was a member of the Cathedral Choir while at VP, and went on to Kingswood College, is registering for a BA in law at Rhodes this year.

We pray for a peaceful start to the university year, and blessings on all returning and new students and members of staff at Rhodes.

People and Places is compiled by Maggy Clarke, Please send items of news to her at:, or as comments to this blog.

People and Places, December 2016

The Rhodes term ended with exams taking place in less than ideal circumstances, as the #feesmustfall protests continue to roll around the country. Regular prayer meetings have continued to be held here, and we give thanks that the exams did take place, with most students opting to write in November rather than taking up the offer of deferring their exams to January. We said farewell to a number of students, and wish them God’s richest blessings in the next phase of their lives.

Congratulations to Jeanette Hodgson and Heather Tracey, who both celebrated their 80th birthdays on the same day, 6 November. Congratulations also to Sylvester and Christeice Appollis on the birth of Arabella, a granddaughter for Katie! And to Jane Bradshaw who welcomes a new grandson.

Jane has been suffering from the after-effects of an injury to her shin, and we pray for her complete recovery. Prayers are also asked for Celia Jameson, who has undergone another operation. Sadly she has now given up her practice. Chris Walwyn and Clive Whitford have both had operations, and we pray for them as they recuperate.

Wayne and Marian Jayes
Wayne and Marian Jayes

In November we had to say a sad goodbye to Marian and Wayne Jayes, who have returned to live in the house they own on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Over the seven years they lived in Grahamstown their contribution to the life of the Cathedral has been immense, and we owe a great debt of gratitude to them. Wayne has been a Churchwarden and Treasurer, and managed the Cathedral website and Facebook page among many other things, and Marian’s involvements have included being Treasurer of the Makana Choir School and convening the St George’s Fair over the last four years. While he was at school, their son Jonathan was a server among other involvements. He has now just completed his second year at UCT. May God bless them in the next phase of their ministry.

At a ceremony at St Augustine’s Church Grahamstown on 6 November a number of women were admitted as members of the Mothers’ Union by Mzi Dyantyi our Sub-Dean and Archdeacon. From the Cathedral these included his wife Lilitha, as well as Khayakazi Balekini and Lungiswa Sandi.

When Christmas approaches choirs tune up, and there is a feast of choral events, both services and concerts. Some singers take part in three or four different choirs, like Charles Antrobus! Before November was even over or Advent begun, carol concerts had been given by the University Madrigal Singers (an Advent concert in Rhodes Chapel), and the Pro Carmine Choir in Christ Church. Both involved adults from the Cathedral Choir. Because the Junior Choristers of Makana Choir School are not available in the school holidays, before they left the Cathedral hosted a Festival of Carols on 20 November, at which the carols sung included some composed by AJ Bethke. One of them also featured additional words specially written by Pat Terry. Other local composers whose work was aired were the junior choristers, who composed a carol for the occasion, and sang it conducted by Anelisa Kelemi. Indivile Vili, one of our new choristers, also wrote a work which was sung at the morning Sung Eucharist on 6 November. We give thanks for the creativity of Cathedral people of all ages.

The Community of the Resurrection of Our Lord hosted their Fellowship Day in honour of the birth date of their founder, Mother Cecile, on 19 November. It was good to be with friends from near and far including Larry Collett and Rita Macrae. English visitor Sue Hennessy gave a fascinating talk on a walking trip she and a friend took through the foothills of the Himalayas. The pictures she projected were really beautiful, but for most of us listening the journey sounded too uncomfortable!

Warm congratulations to Nceba January, on being accepted to study for his Master’s degree. And to Dean Andrew, who is now back at work having spent his three-month Sabbatical preparing the proposal for his PhD. This has been accepted by NMMU, so he can start work in earnest on his thesis. His subject of study centres around Conflict and Transformation, with the #feesmustfall campaign at Rhodes as his case study.

All best wishes for a blessed and wonder-filled Christmas!

People and Places is compiled by Maggy Clarke, Please send items of news to her at:, or as comments to this blog.

People and Places, November 2016

nov-fairCongratulations to Marian Jayes and all the many people involved in the St George’s Fair. Despite drizzly weather, parishioners and public came together to enjoy everything on offer from pancakes to knitwear, from cabbages to cakes and white elephants to face-painting – and much more! Over R26,000 was raised. Well done!

nov-rowanGrahamstown Cathedral was privileged to be on the itinerary of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, during his visit to South Africa. His current title (as a member of the UK’s House of Lords) is “Baron Williams of Oystermouth”. A special service of Choral Evensong took place on a Tuesday evening, 25 October, at which the distinguished visitor preached. His address, which started with him quoting a recent headline: “Why is everyone so angry?” was brilliant and topical, addressing the feelings at the root of the student unrest at Rhodes and elsewhere in South Africa. He spoke entirely off the cuff, which resulted in disappointment for members of the congregation who requested a copy of his sermon. Members of the Cathedral Choir were encouraged to hear him say to them at the door “You are a good choir” – high praise indeed from one who has heard so many great choirs, and a Welshman to boot.

nov-choir-concertThat was just the beginning of a memorable musical week. Next came the Cathedral Choir’s annual concert, this year entitled “A Light to Lighten all Nations”, and then there was the moving evening Sung Eucharist for All Souls on 30 October, which included AJ Bethke’s beautiful “Little Requiem”.

Four new choristers were admitted to the choir and vested in their robes at Cathedral services during October, having served their period of probation. Congratulations to Indivile Vili (VG), Liyema Bobotyani (VP), and Liqhame Beja and Lelami Ngoqo (Graeme College). We give thanks for their talents and dedication, and pray for blessings on them as they sing to the glory of the Lord.

The finances of Eluxolweni, home to the former street children who attend the Cathedral, have been under severe pressure recently. Jane Bradshaw testified at the morning service on Sunday 30 October that the situation had become so bad that one month the staff were only able to receive one third of their salaries, and the next month none at all. At that point in answer to fervent prayers, there appeared within three days three very large donations, one from a private donor in England in response to a phone call from Jane of R90,000, and another of £2,500. Bubbling with excitement at the way the Lord had provided, Jane explained that these sums would ensure that Eluxolweni’s debts would be paid, and their expenses covered, right up to the end of January.

Congratulations to Yoliswa Dongwana and the marimba band of Amasango Career School on winning the Arts Exhibition Competition, an annual provincial event hosted by the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape. The band competed with other groups at the first cluster level which took place in the Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage area in August, and the finals took place in the Orient Theatre in East London on 23 September. This is the second time in three years that this band, started by Penny Whitford, came first in this competition.

The Rhodes University Chamber Choir, conducted like the Cathedral Choir by AJ Bethke, greatly enjoyed their visit to Cape Town for the semi-finals of “Varsity Sing”, the KykNet competition. The choirs which progressed from this round to the finals were NMMU and Stellenbosch, and Stellenbosch emerged the eventual winner, but it was a credit to RUCC that they did so well against choirs which were generally twice their size.

One of our Cathedral student group, Anna Talbot, has been named Student Volunteer of the Year by Rhodes University Community Engagement. Congratulations to her on this recognition of her hard work and dedication in starting and running a Cub Pack at St Mary’s School. Her citation mentioned her ability to liaise with school staff, the national scout movement and the RUCE office, and the fact that she had trained volunteers to take over in 2017.

On 30 October we said farewell to our eight College of the Transfiguration students, who had done their pastoral practice for 2016 at the Cathedral. Some are continuing their studies, others returning to their Dioceses for ordination. We wish them well in their ministry ahead.

Chris Mann and Julia Skeen gave a repeat performance in the Cathedral of “Anxiety and Grace” which combines Chris’s words and music with Julia’s visual art. This work was offered during the 2016 Festival, and has been “on tour” in KwaZulu-Natal.

Prayers and sympathy to Peter Breetzke, whose brother Raymond died suddenly of a heart attack in Cape Town last month.

We pray for our parish secretary Chris Walwyn, undergoing surgery at the beginning of November. While Chris is on sick leave, we are grateful to parishioner Lou-Anne Liebenberg for volunteering to assist in the office. Chris has announced that he will be retiring as parish secretary at the end of the year. His contribution in the office has been enormously appreciated.

Prayers and good wishes go to all students and matrics writing their exams under trying circumstances at this time.

People and Places is compiled by Maggy Clarke, Please send items of news to her at:, or as comments to this blog.

People and Places, October 2016

Sunday 25 September saw the launch of the Christians@Rhodes Mission “Break the Mould”, with a service held in the Cathedral. During the week, various lunch time and evening talks were given by a variety of speakers from different churches and Christian organisations. Claire Nye Hunter led an evening seminar entitled “Was St. Paul a sexist?” – an impression that might be gained from his writings such as “Women be silent”, “I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man”, “Wives submit to your husbands”, “Women cover your heads when prophesying” etc. Focusing on the text “Women be silent”, she led the students in a guided exercise following recognised principles of interpretation and discovering the principle that Paul was teaching. Judging by the comments and feedback, it was a liberating, eye opening and well received message!

The universities of this country have been the subject of much earnest prayer at this time of unrest over very high student fees, which make the cost of tertiary education almost impossible for the vast majority of students. Both Dean Andrew and Claire have been (and continue to be) a prayerful, pastoral and peacekeeping presence on Rhodes campus. Pray that a peaceful and constructive way forward will be found.

On 4 September we welcomed Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali for a splendid Archdeaconry Confirmation, at which Lou-Anne and her son Lyndon Liebenberg, and Cebolenkosi Mkhize, were also received into membership of the Anglican Church. Members of the Cathedral family confirmed were: Sive Bavuma, Rutendo Chisina, Tyla Fourie, Zenande Landu, Zukisa Manana, Siphokazi Matini, Tebogo Matshana, Mandilakhe Ncwadi, Anele Nonyathi, Saki Sigqubo, Nkosinathi Sododo, Zanele Twaku, and Onelani Williams. Takundanashe (Taku) Chinogwenya was unwell and so missed the service, but fortunately was able to be confirmed at DSG on 10 October. Another member of the Cathedral family who was confirmed at DSG that day was Hlumela Kondile, daughter of Zoleka Maqwili. Our prayers for them all as they take this next step in their Christian journey.

An even larger event took place in Grahamstown over the weekend of 27-28 August, when representatives from all over the Diocese gathered in Joza for the annual Diocesan Family Weekend. The committee which organised this was chaired by our Sub-Dean and Archdeacon, Mzi Dyantyi. Congratulations to him and his team on the success of this weekend of fun, fellowship and fund-raising, which culminated in a huge service in the Joza Indoor Sports Centre and raised a record-breaking sum.

Individuals and families can also feel at home in the Cathedral celebrating their personal milestones. Dr Gilimamba Mahlati and Dr Vuyokazi Mahlati have been married for thirty years, and they decided to make our Cathedral the setting for a wonderful service of thanksgiving and renewal of marriage vows on 10 September. We wish them every blessing in their continued life together.

cross-of-nailsThe Amasango Career School joins the Cathedral in being the recipient of a Coventry Cross of Nails. During the second World War the ancient cathedral in Coventry, England, was bombed, and so severely damaged that it was never rebuilt, but instead a new cathedral was erected next door to the ruin. Some of the medieval nails from the destroyed cathedral were used to make a cross, which has become the symbol of the Community of the Cross of Nails, a network of church organisations which share a common commitment to work and pray for peace, forgiveness and reconciliation. Many churches all over the world belong to this network and display replicas of the Cross of Nails. Ours is in the Lady Chapel on the right of the altar. More recently the Cross of Nails community founded ICONS (International Cross of Nails Schools), an organisation to provide resources for youngsters to explore issues of justice, peace and reconciliation. The Amasango Cross of Nails was presented to the school on 12 August by Sarah Hills, Coventry Cathedral’s Canon for Reconciliation Ministry, who was visiting South Africa.

Marian Walwyn, former Churchwarden at the Cathedral and married to our parish secretary Chris, was delighted to be honoured by Oatlands School. She taught there for 14 years, until her retirement in 2008. For the first time the school decided to establish four Houses, and they are named after the school’s first four headmistresses: Mesdames Newby, Baines, Lloyd – and Walwyn! Walwyn House colour is red. Marian is said to be “extremely chuffed and not a little humbled” at this well-deserved honour. Prayers are asked for Chris, who is to undergo an operation in November.

Congratulations to Cwayita Bam, part of the Bishop’s family, who has been elected Head Day-girl at DSG for 2017. Lutho Zono, the Kingswood Head Girl and former Cathedral chorister who was mentioned in last month’s People and Places as assisting the Student Core Group at the Seniors’ Tea, was honoured by being the recipient of the school’s prestigious Neil Aggett award for outstanding community engagement. She received this on the occasion of the annual Neil Aggett lecture, this year given by the outgoing Public Protector, Adv. Thuli Madonsela.

Patrick and Cathy Pringle recently enjoyed a visit of their daughter Janet, from India, and spent some time travelling with her and visiting the family farm. Maggy Clarke went to Cape Town to join her daughter Beccy Stones and family, to attend the national rounds of the Hubert van der Spuy competition for junior school instrumentalists, in which her grandson Alexander played his violin. Although he did not get through to the final, it was a good chance to hear the wonderful playing of the finalists, and to enjoy the beach at Table View with the grandchildren.

Claire Nye Hunter, together with others from our Diocese, joined 1500 Anglicans from across the Province at the “Anglicans Ablaze” Conference held in Cape Town from 5-8 October. The keynote speakers all gave very challenging and contextually relevant talks within the broader theme of “Intentional Discipleship”.

choir-campAJ Bethke took 17 of the junior choristers to Hogsback over the weekend of 30 September to 2 October. He was ably assisted by Sally Terry and Anelisa Kelemi. They had fun, did a lot of singing, and led the music at the morning service in St Patrick’s Church on the Sunday. The last time this camp was held was in 2014, and it is hoped it will continue to be held every two years.

People and Places, September 2016

On 4 and 11 August AJ Bethke and the Rhodes University Chamber Choir appeared on TV (Kyknet), singing in the Eastern Cape heat of the “Varsity Sing” competition. At the end of the second programme their supporters were overjoyed to hear that they had gone through to the next round. (To hear one of their songs, click here.) “Reality” TV being what it is, the programmes had actually been recorded weeks in advance, and the choir members were all sworn to keep their success a secret! The following evening there was a chance for Grahamstown to hear the RUCC in the flesh, when they repeated their moving anti-rape programme “Light from Darkness”. Their beautiful singing was matched with poems and testimonies. We wished them well as they set out at the end of August for their annual Choir Tour, which this time took them to Namibia.

Rhodes Choir singing in the "Light from Darkness" Concert
Rhodes Choir singing in the “Light from Darkness” Concert

Congratulations to the marimba band of Amasango Career School, on coming first in the marimba section of the schools’ arts competition held recently in Uitenhage. This qualifies them to go through to the Provincial competition in East London. Congratulations also to Ilse de Vos, now in Matric at VG, on obtaining a Silver in the English Olympiad. Bayanda Mthetho, one of our junior choristers, was a member of the Graeme College Grade 7 team, which won the Eastern Cape semi-finals of the Astroquiz competition on 22 July. Not only that, but he also reached the final round of the Grd 7 district Mental Maths competition. Kaede Bridger and Tristyn Burger each won the ‘best speaker’ award for their respective grades in a competition between VG and Graeme College. Congratulations to them, and to their proud parents Rodney and Mandy Bridger, and Ronaldo and Michelle Burger. Much hard work was rewarded when Nceba January received his B Com. Honours from Regent Business School in Durban. Well done!

Student Ministry Core Group and friends entertained the Seniors
Student Ministry Core Group and friends entertained the Seniors

The Seniors’ Tea held on 13 August was for the first time organised by the Cathedral Student Ministry team, with contributions of food from members of the parish. The Core Team of students plus friends were kindly and efficient waitrons. Among the ”friends” was Lutho Zono, who was a member of the Cathedral choir when she was in junior school. She is now in Matric at Kingswood. There was even live entertainment: Kutlwano Kepala and Anelisa Kelemi (both RUCC members) sang a duet, and Anelisa followed up with a solo, a song in Xhosa about a bird. Right on cue a pigeon which had strayed into the Hall flew up to perch on a beam, and coo an accompaniment. The seniors were encouraged to keep their brains active with a two-part quiz. First they were tested on their knowledge of the Anglican Prayer Book services by the students, and then Claire Nye Hunter brought out her recorder and piped snatches from hymn tunes. The tricky part was the teams had to recall the first lines of the hymns, when they might only be given a few bars from the chorus.

Millie Armitage cut Thelma Neville’s 100th Birthday cake.


Thelma Neville very much regretted that severe pain from a pinched nerve in her back prevented her attending the tea, but she kindly sent a cake in honour of her 100th birthday, which was cut on her behalf by Millie Armitage.

Jeanette Hodgson gives thanks for a successful operation to deal with a haematoma, which happily has cured her numbness. Paul Pillay is recovering well from back surgery. Marian Jayes travelled to KwaZulu-Natal to be with her mother, who was having an operation on her foot. Richard Brooks has also had an operation, and is back at work. He has now stepped down as Chancellor of the Diocese of Grahamstown, after many years of faithful voluntary service as one of the diocesan lawyers.

Our prayers are with the Mvula family, after the death of Wellington Mvula, for many years a faithful member of the 07:30 congregation. We give thanks for his life and witness. Our sympathies go also to Mama Noncedo Ntlali and family following the death of her cousin, Jola Ndlame.

Margie and Geoff Antrobus went to Cape Town to be with their son Richard and daughter-in-law Megan at the time of the birth of their daughter Emily Jade on 29 August. Congratulations and best wishes to all the family.

People and Places, August 2016

Thelma at 100 – photo by Chris Walwyn

A highlight of July for the Cathedral family fell on the 22nd, when Thelma Neville turned 100. Congratulations poured in. The Bishop visited her on the day, the Archbishop sent messages, and Her Majesty the Queen did not forget her. On the following day Thelma enjoyed a splendid celebration at the Monument for about 60 guests, and fulfilled her ambition to dance at her 100th birthday party! We give thanks for the life and witness of this feisty journalist, and send her congratulations and best wishes.

IMG_6494The second half of the Festival saw the Cathedral hosting a Lucernarium on the Wednesday evening. This lovely candlelit service, which featured on Spiritfest for the first time last year, drew a larger group of worshippers this year, to the extent that the candles ran out. Penny Whitford’s group of young marimba players gave two concerts, and the tours of the bell tower continued to be popular. On the final Sunday of the Festival the choir of the Diocesan School for Girls led the singing, and the preacher was the Revd Gary Griffiths-Smith, Chaplain of St Andrew’s College. Meanwhile Spiritfest was also going on at Commemoration Methodist Church, which hosted an organ recital, choral concert, and a special Festival Service with their Bishop, Andile Mbete as preacher. The Spiritfest Winter School took place in St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. Chris and Julia Mann presented a programme there entitled “Anxiety and Grace”, and AJ

Chris and Julia Mann present “Anxiety and Grace”

Bethke launched his book “Celebrating the Seasons”, selling all the copies he had available. Some of the book sales took place in the Cathedral, where Cathy Pringle and friends ran a most successful stall selling books, cards and other items. An Open Mic session took place in the Chapter House (“Cathedral Coffee Shop”) with Grahamstown poet Harry Owen as MC. Those who visited the Cory Room could enjoy the work of a number of Christian artists at the “40 Stones” exhibition, which was dominated by a huge loom. Visitors were invited to contribute to the art work by weaving in colourful strips of cloth and braid. It was explained that the loom represented a person’s life, and the inter-weaving by different people the way we all affect one another and contribute to the pattern. Grocott’s Mail and other publications gave Spiritfest excellent coverage, and Peter Stockwell had a photo published in the Cape Argus with his by-line.

Among the Festival guests, Mary-Clare Tracey Craigen with her husband Ian and three daughters came all the way from New Zealand. The happy Tracey family reunion combined celebrations of Andrew’s recent 80th birthday, Andrew and Heather’s 50th wedding anniversary, and Ian and Mary-Clare’s 25th wedding anniversary. Both Rachel and Nicola Hunter came home from Stellenbosch for the vacation, and the Festival. They were at home when the beloved family dog “Scruffy” died at a ripe old age (16½!) and the family were able to console one another. Visitors to the Festival were not all on holiday. Richard Antrobus came with his wife Megan, not only to visit his parents Margie and Geoff, but also as a performer with the return of his popular mime show “Suggestion Box”.

John Murray missed the Festival because the wonderful opportunity came up of going on a pilgrimage to Ireland and the Scottish island of Iona. This included a memorable visit to the Corrymeela Community in Ireland, a centre of reconciliation in the midst of that island with its painfully divided past.

After the Festival was over AJ Bethke travelled to two successive conferences, one in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the second (with no break in between) in California. Jet-lag apart, these were a great success. He was no sooner back in Grahamstown than he was involved in the Big Hymn Sing, which took place for the third time in the Cathedral, on 24 July. Both the Cathedral Choir and the Rhodes Choir took part, alongside the senior and junior choirs of VG, Graeme College and Kingswood College. Anelisa Kelemi, a former junior chorister who is now studying at Rhodes and assisting as an intern with the Cathedral Choir, conducted them in their individual piece, “Indodana”, in front of a packed Cathedral. Fans of AJ and the Rhodes Choir can catch them during the season of “Varsity Sing”, a new competition for university choirs, which is airing on Kyknet on Thursdays at 8.30 pm between July and the beginning of October.

Prayers are asked for Lorraine Mullins, who has been in hospital, and for Jeanette Hodgson.

Chantel Tesnar has succeeded Anet Peter as Cathedral Office Administrator, and we welcome her to the parish office.

The Cathedral Student Services during August are focussing on “Women’s Month”, with a special sermon series: (1) “Will I ever be good enough? God’s perspective on self esteem”; (2) “Celebrating our diversity as the people of God”; (3) “Where was God when Tamar was raped?” (4) “Patriarchy and Paul – was Paul a sexist?” It is wonderful to see students inviting their friends and taking ownership of this ministry.

We wish Dean Andrew Hunter every blessing during his sabbatical from August to October. At the beginning of the year he registered at NNMU for a PhD, and he will use his sabbatical to immerse himself in his research on “Conflict resolution” .

People and Places is compiled by Maggy Clarke, Please send items of news to her at:, or as comments to this blog.

People and Places, July 2016

The National Arts Festival began on 30 June, and with it Spiritfest, which had its official opening that day in the “Cathedral Coffee Shop” (otherwise known as the Chapter House).

Penny Whitford and AJ Bethke, Spiritfest's Honoured Guests.
Penny Whitford and AJ Bethke, Spiritfest’s Honoured Guests.

This year Spiritfest had two Honoured Guests, Penny Whitford and AJ Bethke. Both these musicians have made an invaluable contribution to the artistic and spiritual life of the town, the Cathedral as a whole and Spiritfest in particular. Sadly, both are stepping down. Penny is retiring after over ten years training and directing the St Michael’s Marimbas, and AJ has given notice that he will be moving on after Easter next year. Their Citations can be read here. Many congratulations to them on this well-deserved award.

Rhodes Vice-Chancellor Sizwe Mabizela listens as Dean Andrew Hunter reads his Citation.

Another award was given at the Choral Evensong on the first Friday evening of the Festival. Dean Andrew Hunter has inaugurated the Dean’s Award, to acknowledge any individual, not necessarily a member of the Cathedral or the Anglican Church, who has made a significant contribution to the life of the community. The recipient for 2016, and the first ever to receive the Award, was the Vice Chancellor of Rhodes University, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, for his ethical, values-based leadership during tumultuous times in the life of the university and community (full text of Citation here.) The Choral Evensong featured the Cathedral Choir, both adults and juniors, conducted by Andrew-John Bethke, and the music reflected the work of South African composers and hymn-writers. Among the composers was Owen Franklin, a retired Anglican priest now living in Johannesburg, who was present in the congregation, as well as AJ himself.

AJ Bethke conducts the Gate Quartet and Cathedral Chamber Singers.

On the following morning AJ’s work was showcased at a concert in the Cathedral with the Gate Quartet, (which includes Hayley Jackson), and a select choir, about half of whom were adult members of the Cathedral Choir. They sang AJ’s “Chamber Eucharist” as a concert piece, followed by his First String Quartet which had been premiered the previous month. And on the Sunday morning the Chamber Eucharist was repeated in the context for which it was written, during the 09:30 service. Both of these lovely works draw on many different musical traditions from Africa and beyond. At his organ recital on the first Friday of the Festival, AJ gave us “three Frenchman and a Brit.”

Bayanda Mthetho, one of the junior choristers, played the piano in the Junior section of the National Grahamstown Music Competition. He is among a number of Cathedral Choir juniors who receive a grant from our Choir School to pay for instrumental training.

As winter chill began to bite, Duma Myemane was one of three local women who felt deeply concerned about children who had to go to school without jackets. Through their campaign, “Tag a child Winter”, 60 pupils from six local primary schools received cosy wind-breakers.

Eleanor Barker, a devoted member of the Cathedral congregation over many years, who has been resident in Brookshaw Home, died in June. We give thanks for her life. She was an accomplished needlewoman, and a tapestry by her hangs in the Cory Room.

Andrew Tracey and Peter Breetzke have both had operations recently. We give thanks that they are doing well. Jeanette Eve was about to celebrate her birthday when she had to be rushed to hospital, but she recovered in time to be able to go to KwaZulu Natal as planned to stay with her daughter. Rose Buchner had a nasty fall, but is on the mend. We pray for Malixole, husband of Nompumelelo Magwa-Bobotyani, who has been in hospital. Bishop Ebenezer went to Gauteng for surgery to his jaw to implant tooth replacements, and we pray for the success of this operation.

Gill Meyer’s daughter was married recently in the St Andrew’s College Chapel. We congratulate the happy couple and pray for blessings on their life together.

Br JohnAfter eighteen years at Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery, Brother John Forbis OHC is returning home to the United States. He was among the pioneering first three Brothers to come to Hillandale, along with the then Prior Timothy Jolley and the late Brother Andrew Colquhoun. We wish him every blessing in the next phase of his ministry.

People and Places is compiled by Maggy Clarke, Please send items of news to her at:, or as comments to this blog.

People and Places, June 2016

On Pentecost Sunday, 15 May, the

May Bill
Canon Dr Bill Domeris

Cathedral celebrated the “Church’s Birthday”. Canon Bill Domeris, the Chancellor of the Diocese, was the preacher. Later that day the Bishop and Mama Noncedo, and Archdeaconry clergy, together with members of the parish, joined the

Dr Claire cutting the Church's Birthday Cake
Dr Claire cutting the Church’s Birthday Cake

Hunter family in a celebration lunch to congratulate Claire on the award of her PhD.


The previous week the Hunters hosted the Revd Lori and Bill Boehning from the USA. Lori, who studied with Claire at Fuller Theological Seminary in California, is a Presbyterian minister who is taking a sabbatical in South Africa, to explore some of the changes that have taken place in this country since 1994.

On Trinity Sunday, 22 May, the Dean and LuthanMay Baptismdo Madiba baptised adult candidates and a number of boys from Eluxolweni: Azole Kewuti, Lihle Nogemane, Anele Nonyathe, Vuyisa Pondoyi, Sigqibo Saki, Leroy Trollip, Zanele Twaku and John van Heerden. We welcome them into the family of the Church of God, and the Cathedral family in particular.

The Cathedral parish welcomes a group of College of the Transfiguration students who have come to assist and gain ministerial experience. They are: Aphiwe Flatela, Nobuhle Hlatshwayo, Lindokuhle Khanyile, the Revd Freeman Khomo, Thamsanqa Makwasa, Sipokazi Matini, Lethwa Ndwandwe, Sibonginkosi Sibeko and Nomkhosi Zulu.

Theo Tshazi, who was on our COTT module last year, suffered a tragic loss when shortly after his marriage to Zikhona Tshazi, they and others were involved in a horrific car accident. Zikhona, Theo’s sister and the driver who was a Lay Minister, all died. Theo was treated in hospital, but has been discharged. We ask God’s blessing and comfort on him at this terrible time. We pray for Ross Marriner on the death of his mother, and for Thabisa Yili on the death of her brother, as well as Mzi Dyantyi whose aunt has died, and the Bishop’s family following the sudden death of his nephew. Siphokazi Njokweni is mourning her niece Lindeka, and we pray for her as well as Lindeka’s two children who will be coming to live here with Siphokazi.

Clive Whitford has been suffering quite severe back pain. Although he has been controlling this with painkillers, we pray that the doctors will find a way to deal with the cause. Beth Denton underwent plastic surgery to deal with a troublesome scar on her forehead, and we give thanks that she is making a good recovery.

The Synod of the Diocese of Grahamstown took place in May at St Alban’s East London, and the Cathedral was represented by the clergy plus elected representatives Wayne Jayes and Rose Spannenberg. Geoff Antrobus attended his last Synod as a Trustee of the Diocese, a position he has held for 25 years.

Barbara & gorse
Barbara Stout in the Scottish spring

Pat and Sally Terry have returned from an enjoyable six weeks in the UK, which included visits to Sally’s family in England and Scotland, and staying with Barbara and Wilf Stout in their home in the west of Scotland. Barbara hardly had time to change the sheets before Maggy Clarke arrived as their next house guest. She was touring England, Ireland and Scotland seeing old friends and beautiful places. These included Durham, where Maggy and Bob Clarke had met as students, and funnily enough Barbara and Wilf had also met as students at the same time, although the two couples had to wait until they came to Grahamstown to get to know each other. Chris and Julia Mann are back in South Africa after spending some months at the side of his sister Jackie Shipster in England following her stroke. She has now been transferred to a rehabilitation unit.

Congratulations to AJ Bethke on the premiere of his first String Quartet on 26 May. The performance of this work by the newly formed local GATE Quartet, which includes John and Gail Jackson’s daughter Hayley, was warmly received by an enthusiastic audience. Anyone who missed this performance must make a note that the Bethke 1st Quartet will be played again in the Festival on 2 July (see the Spiritfest programme).

Ashton Coltman, who until recently was a member of the Cathedral choir, was privileged to be one of five Grahamstown matric pupils selected to take part in the Model International Criminal Court trials in Krzyzowa, Poland. A number of current members of the Cathedral Choir from Graeme College came back with awards from the Port Rex Lions Eisteddfod in East London. Congratulations to: Lelethu Cekiso, Sange Loliwe, Kamva Ntapu, Hlumelo Kulati, Sixolile Lamani and Xolisa Foley.

Congratulations and good wishes for every blessing to Rachel Hunter on her 21st birthday. Her parents Andrew and Claire went down to the Western Cape for the celebrations on the last weekend in May.