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Festive Beginning for New Archbishop of Cape Town

Posted on: April 1, 2008 2:29 PM
The new Archbishop blesses the city of Cape Town
The new Archbishop blesses the city of Cape Town
Photo Credit: ACNS
Related Categories: Southern Africa

By Canon Jim Rosenthal

In a four-hour liturgy, amidst clouds of incense, sprinkling of baptismal water, anointing, seven processions and a colourful array of copes and mitres, the Most Revd Thabo Cecil Makgoba, 47, was installed as the 12th Archbishop of Cape Town on 30 March, in the majestic Cathedral of St George the Martyr, Cape Town. President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, greeted the new Archbishop warmly during the service, as well as many other civic and government leaders. Rich symbolism was evident in every aspect of the specially designed liturgy, under the direction of the Revd Bruce Jenneker.

Archbishop Thabo shared the occasion with all present by including a unique "Rededication of the People of God". The congregation consisted of faithful from all the dioceses of the Province as well as the cathedral. At the first sight of the new Archbishop, the hundreds in an adjoining marquee were greeted with bell ringing, ululation and thunderous applause. Musicians came from the Dioceses of False Bay and Saldanha Bay as well as the cathedral.

York's Archbishop Sentamu represented the Archbishop of Canterbury at the liturgy and was seated with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Archbishop Sentamu blessed the new primate during the seating in the Episcopal throne. The primates of the Congo, Tanzania, and the Indian Ocean, who is also the chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA), joined in the celebration and the Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary of the Anglican Communion presented Archbishop Thabo with a Compass Rose symbol on behalf of the wider Communion.

The Bishop of Iowa (USA) represented the Primate of the Episcopal Church USA and the Revd James Callaway of Trinity Church, Wall Street was present in the procession,

In his "Charge" mid-way through the service, the new Archbishop said, "I am inviting all of you to join me in rededicating ourselves to be “Sekgo sa Metse” – “Called and Sent”, Spirit-filled channels of peace with justice, and yeast for forgiveness and reconciliation, in whatever ways God calls us in this new chapter of our lives. He also said, ‘People of God, dare to share this vision with me. Take the risk of answering Jesus’ invitation to be called, and to be sent. Don’t be afraid to be “Sekgo sa Metse” He who calls us will strengthen and empower us to fulfil the tasks to which he calls us".

For the Full text of the “Charge” please visit:

Eucharist at St George's Cathedral,
Cape Town
Photo Credit: ACNS

Multiple languages, representing the constituencies of the multi-nation province were used in prayers and hymns. Portuguese was heard alongside English, Xhosa, Sotho, Tswana, and Afrikaans. Music included everything from the Lumko Marimba Mass to works by Schubert with orchestra and soloists. As the massed choir sang Elgar's Ecce sacerdos magnus, "Expressions of Loyalty" to the new primate and metropolitan were offered by the Dean of the cathedral, the Very Revd Rowan Smith, the Dean of the Province, Bishop David Beetge, and other clergy, office holders, laity and a warm embrace from two young children.

The Erub Choir sang "Laudate" before official greetings continued. At one point in the service Archbishop Desmond Tutu anointed the new archbishop assisted by the Bishop of Lebombo (Mozambique) and the Bishop of St Mark the Evangelist. Archbishop Tutu, in a moving moment in the Eucharist, anointed Mrs Lungile Makgoba, Nyakallo Makgoba and Paballo Makgoba, the Archbishop's family.

Archbishop Thabo was joined at the altar by the Cathedral and Province Deans, the Executive Officer and the Archdeacon of Athlone for the Eucharistic Prayer. Trumpets and the haunting sounds of the Kudo Horn were heard at various points in the celebration.

In his remarks, the President of the Republic of South Africa reminded the newly installed "arch", as he is affectionately called here, that they shared the same name! The president announced the traditional African "goat" would be his gift to the archbishop's family. The President said that since his youth, Thabo Makgoba had "dedicated his life to serving his country first as an activist and a faithful worker".

Also attending the celebration were members of the Lambeth Conference 2008 Design Group, of which the new Archbishop is a member. Several countries are represented in the group including, USA, Ireland, England, Hong Kong, Polynesia, Malawi, and Australia.

The festivities ended with the traditional blessings of a new archbishop for his diocese, the city and the nation, from the cathedral steps.

Archbishop Thabo was elected Archbishop in September 2007, the youngest person to be elected to the office of archbishop and metropolitan in the impressive history of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa. He was consecrated bishop in 2002 as Suffragan for Grahamstown. He holds a Master of Education in Applied Psychology from the University of Witwatersrand.