|Where is it?|
|What is it like there?|
|The Anglican Church in Mthatha|
|Life in the Diocese|
The Eastern Cape Province was created in 1994 from former Xhosa homelands of the Transkei and Ciskei with what was previously part of the Cape Province.
What’s it like there?
With an area of 170,000 square kilometres (the size of Florida) and a rugged coast line on the Indian Ocean interspersed with sandy beaches the Eastern Cape has varied topography and climate. South Africa is a country of contrasts.
It was able to stage a Football (Soccer) World Cup with large stadiums, and plenty of hotel accommodations for the tens of thousands of visitors, yet many of its people are still counted among the world’s poorest.
The Eastern Cape is the poorest of all the Provinces, and the diocese of Mthatha is the poorest part of that province. Yet if you read the accounts of the people from Huron who have visited Mthatha they all speak of the hope and even joy expressed by the people of Mthatha. And especially the gratitude because people a world away care about what happens to them. Please take the time to read the accounts by Bishop Terry, Jane Moffat and others of their visits, and keep your handkerchief handy.
The Eastern Cape Has a population of 6.5 million people and includes two large industrial cities, Port Elizabeth and East London. But around Mthatha most of the people scratch a living from subsistence farming, keeping afew cows or goats and growing maize or sorghum in the poor soil.
84% of the people in the Eastern Cape speak Xhosa as their first language, with 10% speaking Afrikaans and 4% English. The ethnic make-up is 87% black, 7% mixed race, 5% white and less than 1% Asian.
More than half the people in the Eastern Cape have little or no education, with more than a million never having been to school. About 10% of the population complete High School and less than 1% complete College or University. Education is not free, and assisting with the purchase of school books and supplies is one way of connecting with the people of Mthatha.
Estimates of the percentage of people who are HIV positive run as high as 50%. There are not enough hospitals or health clinics to cope with all the sick, and yet those that are there tell amazing stories of hope and resilience. Check out the work of the African Medical Mission founded by Dr. Chris McConnachie and continued by his widow, Jenny. ( http://ammsa.org ) Read about Itipini, a community of almost 3,000 people created out of a garbage dump.
Bishop Callaway was consecrated in Edinburgh in 1873 as the first bishop of the diocese. After a couple of false starts, he settled on a place on the Mthatha River as his base, and a town soon sprang up around his mission station.
The first cathedral was dedicated on the 24th June 1876, made of iron and wood, it could seat 250 people. The present stone built cathedral was completed at the turn of the 20th century. Bishop Sitembele was consecrated the tenth bishop of the diocese in 2000, and continues as the bishop of the new diocese of Mthatha to the present.
There are a total of 69 parishes in the diocese, many of them multi-point, however the diocese will shortly be split with the formation of a new diocese called Mbashe.
For more information, please contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org - The Companion Diocese Relationship Committee