In honour of a saintly man

St Bernard Mizeki Men's Guild from the Grahamstown Diocese met at Joza for an annual conference last weekend.

The guild forms as part of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa, formerly known as the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (CPSA). It is named after Bernard Mizeki (1861–18 June 1896) who is believed to be a hero of faith in Africa.

This is mostly because during his long years of mission work in Mashonaland (Zimbabwe) Mizeki lived in the kraal of Mangwende Mungati where he taught and spread the gospel. Today, Bernard Mizeki College stands close to where he lived, and Mangwende's kraal, above the village, is crowned with a large cross to commemorate him.

The men's guild launched a book relating its history and it is compiled by Sonwabo Tshabe entitled Imbali kaBernard Mizeki (The History of Bernard Mizeki). "In 2006 the council asked me to collect information about the guild and compile a book about it," said Tshabe. He said he asked all the archdeaconries within the diocese to send in photos and reports of events that happened since the establishment of the guild. The oldest report he received was of a conference held in Cradock on February 12, 1955 which he believes was around the time the guild was established. Tshabe also said not all the archdeaconries in the diocese assisted him with enough material so the book took three years to finish. The Grahamstown Diocese consists of six archdeaconries including Albany, Queenstown, King William's Town, Aliwal North, East London and Alice. "One of the challenges I got was trying to get photos, some of the archdeaconries did not send them in," stated Tshabe.

The guild is planning to have different additions to the book as it continues to develop. Tshabe says his favourite section is the page with a photograph of the council of 2003 as well as some pictures sent in by the various archdeaconries. He also offered gratitude to Emanuel Ngubo who contributed to the compilation of the book. Although the book is not available at book shops, one can order it through the treasury of the diocese. Contact Thobela Mgatyelwa on 0835948534.

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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED... Sonwabo Tshabe, the proud editor of a book about the Bernard Mizeki Men's Guide. Photo: Steven Lang
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED... Sonwabo Tshabe, the proud editor of a book about the Bernard Mizeki Men's Guide. Photo: Steven Lang

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