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Southern Africa elects Grahamstown bishop Thabo Makgoba as Primate


Bishop Thabo Makgoba of the Diocese of Grahamstown was elected as Archbishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) at an Elective Assembly in Cape Town September 25.

Makgoba will suceed Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane who has served as ACSA’s Primate since 1996 and is set to retire December 31. He will be “collated” as Archbishop on January 1, 2008, and enthroned in St. George’s Cathedral, Cape Town, towards the end of March 2008.

At 47, Makgoba is the youngest bishop ever to be elected to the office of Archbishop and Metropolitan in the Anglican Church in Southern Africa.

“Watch this space. The archbishop does not work alone,” Makgoba said following his election, according to reports. “I will look at where the church is at and the context it is working in.”

Makgoba, who has served as bishop of the Grahamstown diocese since February 2004, was elected on the second ballot out of a field of three candidates.

The other candidates were Pretoria Bishop Johannes Seoka and the Rev. Barney Pityana, principal of the University of South Africa.

Following in the footsteps of his two predecessors -- Ndungane and Desmond Tutu -- Makgoba said he had “very big shoes and miters” to fill.

The Archbishop-elect is married to Lungi and they have a 12-year-old son, Nyakallo, and an eight-year-old daughter, Paballo.

The ACSA is the oldest Anglican Province in Africa. According to the Anglican Communion Office, British Anglicans met for worship in Cape Town after 1806, and appointed their first bishop in 1847. The 24 dioceses of the Province extend beyond the Republic of South Africa and include the islands of St. Helena and Tristan da Cunha, Mozambique (Lebombo and Niassa), the Republic of Namibia, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Kingdom of Swaziland and Angola.


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