People and Places, February 2016

Luthando and Lusanda Madiba
Luthando and Lusanda Madiba

This January the Cathedral welcomes the Revd Luthando Madiba, and his wife Lusanda. Luthando has been appointed as the diocesan Media Officer and Editor of the diocesan magazine Umbuliso, to succeed Maggy Clarke who has retired, and he will be attached to the Cathedral. He trained at COTT from 2010-12, and comes to us from the Diocese of Mthatha, where he was most recently Rector of Ascension Church Ncembu, Ugie. He and Lusanda, who works at Rhodes, were married on 11 December 2015. Congratulations and every blessing on the happy pair! The Revd Claire Nye Hunter is now a full-time member of the Cathedral team, having been part-time for the past six years while lecturing part-time at COTT and completing her thesis.

Christmas brought a number of welcome visitors to family in Grahamstown. Niels and Charis Vandereyken were delighted to host both their mothers for a visit, which ended before Christmas as they wanted to be back in Belgium with their husbands for the festival. Brian Stone came up from Port Elizabeth, and AJ Bethke’s parents, Erica and Anthony, were able to attend all the Christmas services at which their son played. Among these was the second service of Lessons and Carols, on 20 December. A special moment during that service was the singing of a carol written by AJ’s grandfather, “If you listen, you’ll hear”. The congregation joined in the chorus each time, but the verses were sung by AJ with his parents. In the new year, Geoff and Margie Antrobus were thrilled to have a visit from their daughter Shirley Horan from Vancouver, Canada, together with her youngest son, 18-month old Keith.

The Cathedral Choir’s second CD, “Hymns, Psalms and Spiritual Songs” was released just in time for Christmas, and copies can be obtained from AJ @ R50.

DSC02016The Christmas Eve Crib Service with “instant” Nativity tableau is always well worth attending even if you have no children. Plenty of children arrived already dressed as requested as their “favourite Nativity character”, and listened while teenage narrators told the Christmas story in child-friendly language. At appropriate moments in the narrative each character or group was directed to join the tableau while carols were sung. This year’s big surprise was the addition of a 9-piece orchestra of young people, all dressed in Father Christmas hats, and most in shorts. They had been recruited by Nicola Hunter from Grahamstown and beyond, and really made the service go with a swing.

Warm congratulations to our 2015 Matrics. All the VG Matrics passed, which included Zimkita Ngqawana, Zusiphe Nkala and Saneliswe Tyibilika, three of our servers, and Brittany Jonklass who was last year’s Head Chorister. Saneliswe received three distinctions and is now at Pretoria University beginning her B Comm Financial Studies degree. At DSG Nicola Hunter and Ruth-Anne Graham each achieved eight distinctions in the IEB exams! We wish Nicola well as she begins her medical studies at Stellenbosch, and Ruth-Anne who has gone to the UK to spend a gap year working at a private school.

Congratulations to Marian Walwyn and the Revd Monwabisi Peters, who have both successfully completed their Bachelor of Education Honours degrees. We also congratulate Monwabisi on his appointment to St Andrew’s Prep, as Chaplain and Xhosa teacher. He continues to be attached to the Cathedral.

Ann Greybe left South Africa in early January to return to a post in Scotland. It has been good having her and David here, and we wish them well. David will be following her in April. Moving in the opposite direction, we welcome Sue Skipper who has arrived back from the UK to join her husband Michael, both in Grahamstown and in the Cathedral choir.

Although we said farewell to her at the end of 2015, the good news is that Namso Nyamela is staying on in Grahamstown, having been appointed as an intern in the Geography Department at Rhodes. We look forward to seeing more of her.

Katie Appollis, Fiona Coyne and Maggy Clarke all had spells in hospital, but give thanks that they are discharged and on the mend. Colleen Rippon thanks for everyone’s prayers during her recent illness. Her recovery was slow, but it seems she is over it.

Our sympathy and prayers go out to Sivu Citwa, one of our young servers, whose sister Lunga died in an accident.

Maggy Clarke and David Foulkes represented the Cathedral choir at the annual Royal Schools of Church Music Summer School in early January, together with David’s wife Margie. Although the Foulkes both sing in the St Paul’s choir in their home town Port Alfred, David has also made the journey to Grahamstown for practices and Cathedral choir services on many occasions. This year’s Summer School took place at a German school, Hermannsburg, in the Natal Midlands, a remote and beautiful setting. The course was directed by Noël Tredinnick, from All Souls’ Langham Place in London, whose leadership was inspiring both musically and spiritually. The organist was none other than Christopher Cockburn, for many years organist at this Cathedral, who now directs the music at St John’s Pinetown. Maggy was joined by her Johannesburg daughter Beccy Stones with her three children, who all sing in the choir at St Martin-in-the-Veld.

On 24 January the Cathedral hosted Dr Sarah Hills, Canon for Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral, as our preacher. The Cross of Nails which can be seen in the Lady Chapel signifies our membership of the world-wide Community of the Cross of Nails.

The 2016 school year was blessed at the annual “Back to School” service on 31 January, at which the Cathedral was packed with pupils from local schools including Nombulelo, VG, VP, Graeme, St Andrew’s, Kingswood and DSG, together with teachers and parents. Different schools and the Cathedral Choir contributed musical items, and the Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, gave an inspiring address. We pray that the commitment of all present, to ensure quality education for all, will bear fruit in the year ahead.

“People and Places” is compiled by Maggy Clarke. Contributions can be sent to her at, or as comments to this blog.