120th Anniversary of the Church at Keilands 1895-2015


           Keilands 404          bakitha & Keilands 027           bakitha & Keilands 069                    Keilands 021

Keilands is a farm in the Stutterheim Magisterial District on the right side of the Kei River. It was bought in 1886 by Fr. Alfred Weld S.J. (Jesuit Superior) In 1888 Bro Theodore Nigg began building a small chapel-he could not complete the building as he died on 10 August 1891. In 1894 the foundation of the church was laid by Fr. Kerr. The church was blessed on 09 September 1895 by Fr. Gillet. In 1894 seven Dominican Sisters were sent from King William’s Town and they started teaching children in a newly opened school. Jesuit fathers Horning and Bick made contact with Chief Saliwa with the intention of opening a school among his people and in 1895 a modest start was made with about 10  children. The people, however, were opposed to the establishment of a Christian Mission and School, fearing interference with their customs. Later they were willing to grant site to the school, but insisted on getting a trained teacher. The son of the chief, Peter Gidini who had been converted in June 1896 was a great help in these negotiations.

Keilands 024                 Keilands 033                                Keilands 028                                                Keilands 027

In 1897 Bishop McSherry came to Keilands for the first time, also paying courtesy visit to the old chief. When the Bishop came again in 1899, the Christians of Saliwa made a procession across the river to Keilands and twelve of them were confirmed. In 1900 Fr. Apel took possession of Zigudu and in that year a school was started. The Jesuits were withdrawn from the Cape and transferred to Zimbabwe. In 1908 Keilands was handed over to the Trappists of Mariannhill. The new missionaries had their first experience of the vicious climate of the Kei valley when a violent storm removed the church roof. The Trappists started three schools and Fr. Huss taught the people proper farm skills. He experienced many problems. His concern was the notoriously bad road from Keilands to Dohne Railway station and long periods of drought. There are factors that made the mission work at Keilands difficult: bad roads and inclemency of climate.

Keilands 294                                       Keilands 206                                                         Keilands 296

The mission was taken over by the Pallotine Fathers in 1928 July 01 with Fr. Rackl as the first Pallotine priest in charge there. In 1929 he obtained a welcome assistant in Fr. Ruebsamen. At the end of 1929 schools were conducted at Saliwa, Nciba, Zigudu, Sabalele, Matakane and Nonquthu. A lot of priest and brothers did work there, to mention a few, Frs Peter Graeff, Gross, Wergen, Anton Vay, and also brothers Stephen and Michael Phako.  Regardless of all the difficulties in that mission but it is important to mention that the only congregation of sisters in this diocese was born there. When Keilands celebrated its 75 years Jubilee in February 1961, the foundation stone was laid, the constitution for the Congregati Matris Didini Amoris (CDMA) – Congregation on The Mother of Divine Love was completed and submitted to the Bishop and to the Roman Authorities. We are so proud as the Diocese to see this congregation still active in our diocese and working in some important branches of the church’s foundations like Catechism.


Keilands 406              Keilands 390                 Keilands 391                 Keilands 439

On this speci d the community of Keilands and neighboring parishes. He challenged us to look at the stones that are building the church which are still there and useful after 120 years of the church’s existence, he therefore, reminded us that we are also the stones that build the church of Christ. We should always try to work hand in hand for the growth of the Kingdom of God. We should join our hands for the mission of the church to continue. People were singing nicely and joyfully. The church was packed even the gallery itself was full. There was a lot of nice food served after mass.

bakitha & Keilands 028        bakitha & Keilands 064             bakitha & Keilands 043        Keilands 426

Fr. Tulani thanked the Bishop for taking his time to celebrate with the Keilands community and everyone who took part in that celebration. He thanked in a special way the church of Carthcart both english and xhosa speaking communities for all their generosity for the success of this special celebration. The Mother General of the CDMA Sisters, Sr. Pascalina Ndata also was given a chance to say a few words as their congregation is the child of Keilands. She expressed their joy as the congregation to see that place still existing, she also mentioned that on this very year of Consecrated Life they are praying in special way for vocations and she is very much convinced that they will get some as she made this prayer from where their roots are. “Thanks so very much Fr. Tulani for the good works you are doing at this place, the last time i came here the place was like the forest, even the church was not in a good condition but now i can see even the windows are replaced and there is life if we look around this place.” These were the words of the Bishop to the priest in charge. Congrats Keilands Community and God Bless!!!


Keilands 015                                                                      bakitha & Keilands 034                                                             bakitha & Keilands 036                                                                                                      bakitha & Keilands 050                                                                            bakitha & Keilands 085



Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me!!! Sacred Heart and Outreach Program

Our Diocesan Sacred Heart Sodality as always embarked on their mission at the beginning of last month following their constitution. One of their objectives is to take Christ’s love and concern to all people especially those in need, the poor and the oppressed, it is of this reason that members of the sodality in the diocese of Queenstown ensures that each year they are involved in the outreach program. This program we are told rotates among the three deaneries. The council together with their spiritual adviser sit in a meeting at the beginning of each year and plan as to which deanery will be visited. This year was the council mandated the Eastern Deanery to choose a place for such a mission. The deanery committee decided on the home for the abused and abandoned children in Butterworth called Siyakhana. The home takes about fifty children between the age of three months and seventeen years.


20150808_122556        20150808_132716          20150808_132430         20150808_132528

At the beginning of the year the deanery committee was sent to assess the situation there as well as to identify the things that the home needs for children and also for the home itself to be what it should. The manager told the team that they are not fussy, they are accept any donation. The team that was sent there noticed that there were no floor mats, there was also one television set which the staff claimed that children always fight over it.


20150808_132701         20150808_132435           20150808_123930       20150808_123943


The 8th August 2015 was the big day at the home as members of the Sacred Heart painted the yard of the home navy as they were on their full uniform. They bought 50 inch  flat screen television set, floor mats, second hand clothing, a cake for the children’s celebration as well as drinks. A sum of R300 was also given out for the electricity. You can imagine how touching was this celebration. Thinking of those young stars with innocent faces. Truth be told, all those children need their mothers by their sides but they are denied of that chance. We thank the Sacred Heart Sodality for being so considerate.We understand that it is not that they have it all but the love of Christ in their hearts make them not to rest till they contribute in some other people’s lives.


20150808_132735 Special thanks goes to Rev. Fr. Sivuyile Wani for his dedication as the spiritual adviser of the Sacred Heart in our diocese, Ms Ntombi Gijana the president of the sodality and her executive for the good work they are doing we so thank the Almighty God. Keep on touching more lives and more people through your good works will not see you but the works of Jesus Christ through you. Facts of this story were provided by Ms Siphokazi P. Bongweni the Diocesan secretary of the sodality and pictures by Fr. Wani.


Edited and published by Fr. Thembela 0723024959


The Need for Prayer!!!

As we continue reflecting on the Consecrated Life, it comes to my mind every second day that there is a special need for prayer for vocations. Let us reflect on Matthew 9:35-38, “Jesus made a tour through all the villages and towns, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness. and when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers  are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to His harvest'”. People of God lets take it on our shoulders to push Christ’s agenda about the Heavenly Kingdom. In or outside the Consecrated Life but we need to do something. Together we can always recite a prayer: Loving God, you call all who believe in you to grow perfect in love by following in the footsteps of Christ your Son. Call from among us more men and women who will serve you as religious. By their way of life, may they provide a convincing sign of your Kingdom for the Church and the whole world. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen!!! 

Have a great afternoon zithandwa zikaThixo, God bless!!!

Fr. Thembela 0723024959


Priests of Queenstown Diocese and Women’s Month

Gender Based Wrkshop n Sacred Heart 001   Gender Based Wrkshop n Sacred Heart 006

Priests of our Diocese decided on starting a women’s month on a high note with a training. This was three day training course on Addressing Family Violence. There were three major topics that were addressed, namely, Gender sensitization, Link between gender based violence and HIV/AIDS as well as Models of preventing and dealing with family violence. The training started on Tuesday the 4th August to the 6th. The facilitators were Mrs Brenda Snyders and Mrs Nosakhele Mpushe. They took their time in explaining this to the priests. They gave a clear picture of what is happening in family violence though some other things are seen as normal things.

The main aim of the training was to make the priests aware of the gender issues and gender based violence with the focus on understanding the environment that we work in or with. With the first section priests were helped to understand what gender and gender violence is, how people are conditioned into specific gender roles and also causes and effects of violence. Also they were helped to see how it affects children. There were interesting discussions and what made it to be even more interesting was the fact that it was addressed by women. They helped the priests to realize the need of addressing such in different ways, for example, in their homilies, talks in different sodalities and so on.

Gender Based Wrkshop n Sacred Heart 005

The second part addressed how violence against woman increase their risk of and vulnerability of HIV infection. Also there was emphasis on the Domestic Violence Act and how it gives women protection from domestic violence by creating obligations on law enforcement bodies. Here it was clear that in most cases women are taken as servants in their houses. They are hardly appreciated in all they do, to get a thank you from their husbands is something like a bonus. They always agree to do things even those that they do not want to do. Women who experience domestic violence, live in an abnormal and confusing situation as the person who she loves and the society says she should depend on is the person who is hurting and harming her. She is always worried as to what will happen next.

 Gender Based Wrkshop n Sacred Heart 004

I found it so helpful especially to priests as they live alone they hardly know about these things. People are so much afraid at times even to go to the office and share with the priest about such issues. This will really help the priests explore common responses or rather models to gender based violence in the communities they are serving. Priests decided that there should be some on-going workshops for the laity to understand these things and share them with their families, friends and the community they live in so as to fight this. Direct and indirect approach should be used to do such. An indirect approach is found to be very good to gender based violence and often allows men and women to discuss openly. Brother priests do not grow tired of doing what is right. Keep it up and let us try and implement this in our parishes and help the people of God do away with the slavery they are living in but in a very polite and indirect manner.

  Gender Based Wrkshop n Sacred Heart 002 Gender Based Wrkshop n Sacred Heart 003


Today friends and family let us reflect in our calling. In whom do we place our trust? People put their trust in many things or souls, are we trusting in ourselves, in material things or in Jesus Christ? We all have a temptation to put ourselves at the center, to believe that we are the axis of the universe, to believe that we alone build our lives or to think that our life can only be happy if built on possessions, money, or power. But we all that it is not so.

Certainly, possessions, money and power can give a momentary thrill, the illusion of being happy, but they end up possessing us and making us always want to have more, never satisfied. We need to be very serious and strong about our calling. Whether you are the father or mother of the family, that is your calling, a religious person in consecrated life or not but you are in your calling. Know what fills you up. Know what desires do you you have that should be fulfilled by God Himself instead of what your mind thinks and body wishes for.

Take time in your prayer corner and have a direct communication with our loving father who will not even judge you. Ask Him to be with you in all your doings and though the Holy Spirit realize the importance of our calling. Look into your heart and ask yourself, where do I  really put my trust in? How many times have I let the Spirit of the Lord down by choosing my ways than following the Lords commands?  Enjoy your lunch!!!

Love and care

Fr. Thembela 0723024959