C O N T E N T S
i) Early History of Matatiele – pp 1-3
ii) Building of Holy Trinity Church in 1932, to 1952 (Fr E. Hoade ofm) – pp 3a-28
iii) Fr Manus Campbell Ofm 1984-1997 – pp 29-56
iv) The Sisters in Matatiele:
a.Precious Blood Sisters, 1929-1937 – p 57
b.Holy Cross Sisters, 1938-1975 – pp 58-59
Holy Cross A-H
c.Sisters of Mary Immaculate, 1997 present – pp. 60-61a
v) Outstations – pp. 61-70
vi) Resident Priest, 1932-1998 – p.71
vii) Photos – pp. 72-82
viii) Sources – p. 83
ix) Archivist’s Summary – p. 84
x) Planned Giving Brochure – 1962 – At Back
History of Holy Trinity Church, Matatiele
1932 – 1998
i) Early History
In the nineteenth century the whole region between the Umzimkulu and Umzimvubu rivers, called Nomansland (the present-day East Griqualand) had been laid waste during the Zulu invasions.
In 1844 Governor Maitland had entrusted all the land to King Faku, who conceded in 1850 that he was not interested in Nomansland, which being at the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains, was cold.
Then in 1861 Governer Wodehouse assigned Nomansland to the Griquas, who were then living in West Griqualand near Phillopolis in the Free State. About 4000 Griquas set out for Nomansland, crossing over the Drakensberg ana through Basotoland (now Lesotho) and years later settled in Matatiele for a while, before making their capital at Kokstad.
The Griqua district extended from the Kenegha river and included the whole of the present Matatiele district. Adam Kok III ruled over 36,000 subjects, the majority of them being Sotho and Hlubi people and in the end he was cajoled into handing over the reins to White magistrates.
Umzimkulu, Kokstad and Matatiele comprised the three district of the Griqua Kingdom. In 1874 Matatiele was founded as the seat of a magistracy. The name Matatiele is an interesting one, as it is connected with the waterfowl which were then plentiful in the many vleis around the present town.
When the White people came, they hunted the ducks which flew away (matatiele) and these words were telescoped to become Matatiele. King Edward High School in Matatiele has a duck on their school crest.
The unrest in 1880 brought hard times for the White settlers and officials, so a garrison of the Cape Mounted Rifles was then stationed at Matatiele. As the fertile lands between Kokstad and the Drakensberg were gradually settled by White farmers, Matatiele became a commercial and agricultural centre. Three roads lead from Matatiele towards Lesotho, another road leads towards to Kokstad via Cedarville is 76 km.
Matatiele is therefore in a very accessible position.
First Catholic in Matatiele
Probably the first Catholic to come to the Matatiele district was Mr O’Reilly, who was Adam Kok’s Magistrate for the Matatiele district as early as the 1860’s.
Mr O’Reilly at first lived on the farm now known as Martin Liefeldt , where he established his residency. Later he moved some distance away from Matatiele on the Mt Fletcher road, living at a place in Magadla’s location called Mdeni. At the time there were no Africans in the area and the surrounding land was given by Adam Kok to Mr O’Reilly. He married an African wife, and his Coloured descendents are now living at Mdeni, Hardenberg , Matatiele and Kokstad.
As mentioned above, the Griqua farms soon passed to the Europeans, many of them being sold for as little as a few bottles of brandy. European traders also moved in and both Kokstad and Matatiele became thriving European towns.
Matatiele an Outstation of Kokstad
Matatiele, unlike Kokstad, had few Catholics in the early days and was served as an outstation of Kokstad until about 1952.
Fr Howlett OMI who was resident priest in Kokstad in the early 1900’s , visited Matatiele twice a year and said Mass at Resthaven, as Mrs Webb , a Catholic lived there. Other Catholics in Matatiele at the time were Mr and Mrs JJ Sorour,Mr and Mrs Isaac Sorour and Mrs Ledger. Mr JJ Sorour built his business house and residence on High Street in 1912 and brought his family to live in Matatiele in 1914.
Later additions to the Catholic population were:
Mr Leggett and children
Mr & Mrs Fred Basil
Mr & Mrs Jimmy Basil
Mr . A Basil
Mr & Mrs A B Sorour
Mr Fred Sorour
Miss Doris Freemantle
Mr R Shehab
Mr R Chemaly
Mr George Kerdachi
Fr Kelly of Kokstad
When Fr Howlett died, Fr Kelly took over the care of the Matatiele Catholics.
Matatiele under Maria Linden and Hardenberg
Later the priests of Maria Linden took over the care of the Matatiele Catholics. First of all Fr Florian Rauch in 1925, then Fr Grimm, both of whom were Mariannhill Fathers.
Fr Rauch started saying Mass for the Matatiele Catholics in 1925 at the home of Mr & Mrs JJ Sorour and also at the Town Offices which were near the present bowling greens. Fr Rauch in particular was instrumental in the building of the church.
While he was stationed at Maria Linden he used to come once a month on horseback and even when he was transferred to Hardenberg in 1929, he continued this practice until he was replaced in Hardenberg by Fr Kaufer.
Mr Garner the Magistrate
Going back a few years, it is interesting to note that Mr Garner, father of Archbishop J C Garner of Pretoria, was either assiastant Magistrate or Magistrate in Matatiele about 1921-1924.
These are the early years of Matatiele. The following section will deal with fund-raising to build the church and the actual building of the church as well as events thereafter.
Building the Church and the Matatiele Parish until 1952
(Fr Eymard Hoade ofm)
Raising Funds for the church
Fr Rauch went overseas in 1930 to raise funds for the church, while in Matatiele the Catholics, especially Mr & Mrs JJ Sorour worked hard at fund-raising events. This worthy couple have been remembered by generations for Catholics for their generosity.
So successful was the fund-raising that between Fr Rauch and the local community , that by 1931, L1200 was raised towards the building of the church and Mariazell mission paid for the cost of the site, which was $450, and plans for starting to build the church were begun.
Fr Kaufer takes charge of Hardenberg
Fr Florian’s place was taken by Fr Kaufer, who applied to the Matatiele Municipality for permission to build. This application was made in July 1931. Fr Florian turned the first sod on the 6th November 1931.
Fund-Raising Efforts by the Matatiele Catholics, 1929-1931
Below and on the following four pages are articles on the various fund-raising efforts, which show a great deal of hard work and dedication on the part of Fr Kaufer and the congregation:-
Tenders for building the new church – June 1932
Below is a copy of the newspaper cutting (Matatiele Mail).
The new building 83ft. Long x 43ft . wide x 30 ft wide with a tower 42 ft. high, was planned to accommodate about 400 people. It was much larger than the church originally planned in 1931 and now faced Main Street instead of the original direction on High Street.
The comment following this was: This change was fortunate, as otherwise the cold South wind would blow directly into the main door of the church.
Permission to Build – 6th September 1932
The Matatiele town council granted this permission and the tender of C Steyn and Co had already been accepted by Bishop Fleischer on the 7th July. On the 2nd September the contract was signed at the residence of Mr JJ Sorour. Then on Sunday 4th September the site was blessed and the first sod turned by Fr Rauch, as mentioned previously, assisted by Fr Otto Grimm.
Matatiele Elevated to rank of Mission , 1932
Bishop Fleischer of Mariannhill gave the new Mission the name of SS TRINITAS and it was decided that the church should have the same name.
Fr Otto Grimm First Resident Priest
Fr Grimm was appointed Rector of Matatiele at the same time as Matatiele was elevated to the rank of Mission.
Interim use of School for Sunda Masses
There were two Masses on Sundays, one for Whites and Coloureds at 8 am.and the second for the Africans at 10 a.m.
During the week Masses were said early in the school to give time for preparation as a kindergarten for White children.
By this time were several Coloured families living in town. Among them were:
Mrs Grace Kyd
Mrs Beatrice Lloyd
Mr & Mrs Robert Slaughter and family
Mr & Mrs Tommy Gabagas and family
Mr & Mrs Fred George Uys and family
Mrs Mary Theron and family
Mr & Mrs John Laurence O’Reilly and family.
Fr Grimm arrives to take up duties
On his arrival Fr Grimm was presented with an address of welcome, as follows:
Dear Fr Grimm,
We, the Catholics of Matatiele wish to extend to you a most cordial and hearty welcome into our midst.
We trust that your stay with us will be a pleasant and happy one, attendant with blessings in abundance.
Though few in numbers, we hope to uphold the Catholic church here by our energetic efforts and earnest endeavours to further Catholic interests in our little town.
We hope that you will spend many, many years with us as our Parish Priest of Matatiele. Wishing you God’s blessings and repeating our expressions of welcome,
We remain, dear Rev.Fr Grimm,
The Catholics of Matatiele.
Cuttings from matatiele Mail
On page 12 there are two cuttings, one mentioning the raising of Matatiele to Mission status and the other regarding the party held for Fr Grimm.
Progress in Building the Church
I reproduce below a newspaper cutting marking the progress of the church in the somewhat flowery language of the time.
Laying the foundation stone, 13th November 1932
Bishop Fleischer laid the foundation of the Matatiele church with all due solemnity and by March 1933 the building was already 12 feet high. I include a cutting for this auspicious occasion:
Matatiele in 1881
Fr Grimm received a contribution of L1 towards the church building from Mr James John Kelly of East London, who made some interesting comments on the little town way back in 1881. I reproduce a cutting from the Matatiele Mail, which makes fascinating reading. (I apologise for the faint impression, but it can still be read).
Dance in Aid of Church Funds, 2nd February 1933
The Catholics of Matatiele were very energetic in their fund-raising events, as in the dance described below:-
Church Building – 15th March 1933
Meanwhile, the erection of the church was proceeding and I show a photograph below, together with a description and comments on the financial position of funds brought in to date:
Opening of the Church, Grand Cabaret & Celebratory Luncheon, October 1933
Pages 18-21 deal with advertisements and articles on the abovementioned topics. They were sent to Fr Eymard Hoade, parish priest of Matatiele at the time, in 1954 by Fr Florian Rauch who had at one time been in Matatiele. We owe such people who have a concern for history a great debt of gratitude – in this case details regarding the building of the Holy Trinity church.
Fr Eymard Hoade also deserves our gratitude for compiling a large part of the Matatiele chronicle.
The two articles on page 22 are not connected with the opening of the church, but are of archival value and as such have been included.
First Annual Returns – 1932-1933
The following statistics were shown during the above period:
Blacks 15 -Fr Eymard seemed to think this figure was inaccurate
For 1934-1935 the figures were:
Fr Eymard found the large number of Whites and Coloured in a small town somewhat surprising, but after 1935 the numbers of White Catholics decreased, as many Lebanese people, the Basels, Sorours and Kerdacis moved to Durban, and by 1943, there were only 27 Whites.
Then there was an increase, as several families moved to town:
Figures for African Catholics in 1947
There was a remarkable increase in the African Catholics population and by 1947 there were over one thousand people.
This increase was caused by the fact that the Matatiele priests began to visit outstations formerly taken care of by Hardenberg and Kokstad.
Fr Otto Ruegg – New Priest, 1934.
To return to the thirties, Fr Grimm was transferred from Matatiele in 1934, to be replaced by Fr Ruegg. He was the last Mariannhill Father.
Bavarian Franciscans arrive in 1935
The Kokstad Prefecture was taken over by the Franciscans in 1935 and at the end of the year Fr Ruegg was replaced.
Fr Guido Nuernberger OFM – 1935
Fr Guido rolled up his Franciscan sleeves and set to work immediately. The church tower was still incomplete, he added 16 feet and finished it off. He also completed the repayment of a debt of L380 which had been lent by Mariannhill – here Fr Eymard added a note of his own – (at 5% per annum!) For the building of the church.
He then had the new presbytery built, which was according to plans laid down by Mgr Kurtz the Prefect Apostolic of Kokstad.
For some reason in was unsatisfactory and had to be rebuilt in 1953. Fr Guido also greatly improved the church grounds and put in paved walks.
School & Church in Location
Fr Guido also applied for the obtained the lease of a site for a school and church in the Matatiele. On the site he built a school/church measuring 20 x 40 feet. The school was not a success and closed down after a short time. The site remained in church control.
A New Altar for the church – 1943
Fr Guido replaced the main altar with a beautiful marble one costing L110 and two marble side-altars were added at a cost of L54.15.0. Also a marble throne and two marble pillars were added.
1939-1945. The War Intervenes.
Just as things in Matatiele were beginning to get underway and start developing, the War disrupted everything. Some of the Bavarian friars went to concentration camps for the duration of the War, however, Fr Guido was able to reamain in Matatiele, but not allowed out of town. No financial support came from Europe and the African mission struggled to exist.
The end of the War did not bring an improvement to the Bavarian friars either in manpower or financially, so they had to appeal tot he Irish province for help in 1946. Fr Guido then left on a journey to America, but did not return to Matatiele as resident priest. (He later died in a car accident in Texas in 1959).
Fr Celestine Mass Ofm – 1946
He replaced Fr Guido and established outstations in various areas (see under Outstations)
During this time, if Mass was to be said at an outstation during the week, there was no Mass in Matatiele.
Backtracking to Fr Celestine’s life in the war years.
In an addendum by Fr Manus, it is mentioned that Fr Celestine was interned in a camp near Germiston, where the rules were very lax and he was allowed out to say Mass in neighboring churches.
During this time he met Kathleen Quigley, a well-known artist who was born in Crete of Irish parents and at one time lived with her father who was a railways official in De Aar.
She learned her skill in making stained glass from an expert called Clarke, and in addition painted in oils and on enamel.
Kathleen Quigley became famous for her work on Queen Mary’s Dolls’House, House, which was exhibited all over the world. This lady had a reputation of being a kindly person who always spoke well of everyone. Fr Celestine asked her to do some stained glass windows for the church in Matatiele, paying her out of parish funds without consulting the parishioners, which caused friction in the upper ranks.
Fr Celestine was of an independent nature and there was serious friction between him and some parishioners. Conciliatory meetings were held, with Fr Puerstinger in Kokstad and in an attempt to resolve the situation, Fr Benedict O’Leary from Bizana was put in Matatiele to care for the White parishioners in Matatiele with Fr Celestin in charge of the Black people. The situation was intolerable and Fr Celestine left for Germany, where he died in 1956.
The magnificent stained glass windows above the altar remain as a tribute to him.
However, this section is chronologically out of place and I return to daily life in 1946 under Fr Celestine.
Some Items of Interest 1946-1947
The Legion of Mary was established in 1946, with a senior and a junior praesidium.
In October the Rosary was said every evening at 7.30.
A dance for the Coloured people was held in the Coronation Hall to raise funds.
New church pews were ordered, being financed by private contributions, the dance, and a jumble sale.
Catholic newspapers sold at the time were ‘CatholicTimes, Messenger’ and ‘Youth and Family’.
St Patrick’s Day, 1947. It was announced that in spite of Lent, there would be no fast or abstinence. ‘Great times’.
Fr Celestine thanked Fr Rauch for the set of vestments which the latter sent him.
New Pews arrived , 8th June 1947
They were presumably not yet paid for, so the arrangement was that a family could buy a pew/part of one and the family name would be affixed to the top of the pew on a small plaque.
Thus all the principal families in congregation availed themselves of this arrangement in the front pews of the church.
Fr. Eymard, when he arrived, did not like this idea and prised the plaques off the benches. The plaques have disappeared and in 1995 the marks of the tacks could still be seen on the benches.
Southern Cross mentioned
The first mention of the Catholic newspaper the Southern Cross.
Arrival of Fr Benedict O’Leary ofm
Fr Benedict seems to have arrived in September 1948. Fr Celestine did his last baptisms on the 24th November – after that either Fr Benedict or Fr Hanno Probst did the baptisms.
Statue of our lady of Fatima arrived, December 1948.
This statue was on the way to Mariazell and was escorted from the church gates to the church and a vigil was kept on Friday night. On Saturday the statue was taken to Mariazell.
After the 10 am. Mass there was Benediction.
First (Mentioned) Parish Mission
Fr.Antonine Kelly gave the parish mission from Palm Sunday to Holy Thursday.
Stations of the Cross Erected
Fr Celestine erected a new set of Stations in the church. The pictures for the stations were given by Fr Lucas, acting Superio of the Kokstad Vicariate . The marble frames for the stations had already been procured by Fr Guido.
Fr Benedict O’Leary took care of the White Catholics of Matatiele. When he became priest-in-charge, Fr Hanno Probst came to Matatiele as his Assistant. From 1947 to 1987 two priests were stationed in Matatiele.
Fr Hanno returned to Germany, later going to Bolivia. His place as Assistant Priest was taken by Fr Kieran McCrann of the Irish province.
While in charge of Matatiele, Fr Benedict carried out some much-needed repairs to the church. The cracks in the walls were repaired and the intererior was repainted. He also ezrected the two windows with the Franciscan Arm one on either side of the stained-glass windows behind the altar.
Assumption of our Lady Declared a Dogma- 1st November 1950
A Triduum was held in Matatiele in preparation for this special feast.
Building Fund Established, July 1951
At the suggestion of Bishop McBride, a building fund was established to finance the extensions to the presbytery.
Plans Submitted to the Municipality
The plans were for the Parish Hall adjacent to the presbytery, but contained specifications for a covered way from the house tothe extension. (The covered way was never built.)
Possibly this idea was put on hold for a while, because in 1953 plans were submitted by the same builder, Mr G.C Menne, and approved on the 25th June 1953 for the restructuring of the presbytery.
During the building operations, the roof was raised, and the upstairs balcony removed to make space for two rooms. The door leading out to Main Street was built up and a side doo made instead. The staircase and bathroom were demolished and a new staircase made with a new bathroom upstairs.
Parish Hall Built
Possibly the hall was built shortly after. At the time it was not the hall, but the clergy’s recreation room, as their so-called loung was always used as an office. There was a small dining-room, but no kitchen, as food was brought from the Convent.
Fr Benedict Returned to Ireland 1951
By the time the building additions/alterations took place, Fr Benedict had left, so the plans were drawn up and the actual building took place while his successor, Fr Eymard Hoade was resident priest in Matatiele. Fr Benedict died in Ireland in 1956, accidentally asphyxiated in an hotel fire. Fr Celestine also died in 1956 in Germany, of a brain tumour.
Fr Eymard Hoade Becomes Rector of Matatiele, 1951
Parish of Matatiele Canonically erected, August 1951
When the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy of the Union of South Africa was established on 11th January 1951, the Parish of Matatiele was canonically erected in August 1951, a milestone in the history of Holy Trinity church. The borders of the parish were fixed as follows:-
On the North by the fence separating Matatiele Municipal property from the Native (African) locations and by the fences separating White Farmland from Native areas; on the West by the fence separating Dengwane (Magadla’s location) from Khoapa’s location and by the Kenegha river and the bordeer of Mt Frere; on the East by the Umzimvubu river.
Fr Valerian Gavin Becomes Assistant priest 1952
Fr Kieran McCrann, assistant priest in Matatiele was appointed parish priest of Lusikisiki, so his place was taken by Fr Valerian Gavin.
This was the last entry made in the Matatiele chronicle by Fr Eymard Hoade. From 1952-1984 the pages remained empty.
Fr Manus Campbell ofm
Matatiele church History from 1984-1997
In 1984 with the general staff change in the Kokstad Diocese, Fr Manus Campbell was transferred from Bizana to Matatiele, where he became the third Parish priest. Before 1951 there had been Rectors of Priests-in-charge. Fr Manus had been in Bizana for about 23 years.
Fr Manus Campbell Ofm – Parish priest in Matatiele 1984- present (1998)
Fr Ernest Manasse remained there as Curate until 1986. His successor, Fr Fergal Grannell was there until 1987 and was not replaced when he left.
Masses in Matatiele
In 1984 there were two Masses on Sundays, the first in English and the second either in English or Xhosa, but the readings were always in Sesotho or Xhosa.
Parish Statistics in 1984
There were about 14 White families in Matatiele itself, with a few people on the farms. 106 Coloured families, nearly all in Matatiele and about 3,000 Black people in the tribal areas.
Renovation of Presbytery completed – November 1984
Fr Egbert O’Dea initiated the renovation of the presbytery, which was finished under Fr Manus with the laying of the wall-to-wall carpeting and changes made to the rooms in the presbytery.
Wedding of Kevin Davids and Janice Williams
Fr Ernest conducted the wedding of this couple
Christmas Crib 1994
Lights were put up round the grotto by Basil Williams and others. The crib in Matatiele is the same design as the one in Bizana, being made by Bro.Flannan.
Franciscans in Southern Africa – Changes Envisaged
This year there are movements afoot to change the status of the Franciscans in Southern Africa. For some time we have been in a loose federation consisting of the Kokstad Diocese, Volksrust Prefecture (later to become Dundee Diocese), the Vaal Triangle, including St John Vianney Seminary, and the Friars in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia).
Fr Bob Mitchell, a Canadian, was sent by the General Curia to explore the possibilities of making a Vice-Province. He had meetings with all the Friars and then he returned to Rome with his findings. The result was, he returned this year to bring metters to the conclusion. One of the meetings was on the 4th February.
New Vandyck Runner for Centre Aisle
The purchase of this runner had been envisaged some years before. A while later runners were bought for the side aisles and one for the front.
Ash Wednesday 1985
Fr Manus had a busy day, with three Masses at Matatiele (6.30 am, 5.15pm) in Xhosa and 6 p.m in English. During the day he said two Masses at outstations.
Talk Given to White Catechism Instructors.
In February Ken Smith and his wife, of Durban, spoke to the White catechism instructors. He was emloyed as a lay helper in catechetics in the Durban Archdiocese and was president of the Lay Council in South Africa .
A pair of silverplated candlesticks were boughts with donations from members of the congregation in memory of Fr Eymard, and engraved in Pietermaritzburg.
Good attendance at this Mass, as evidenced by the fact that 860 palm leaves brought by Des Williams were insufficient for the crowd that attended.
In contrast the numbers at Maundy Thursday Mass were low, with no demand for Holy Hour afterwards. The church was packed on Good Friday evening at Matatiele.
Franciscans 12th April 1985
As it had been hoped, the Franciscan Federation was raised to the status of a Vicariate or Vice-Province at a ceremony in Besters, by the General of the Order, Fr John Vaughan. He was welcomed at a meal in Kokstad the following day.
23rd April Fr Ernest’s 65 Birthday
The occasion was celebrated by going to Durban with Fr Manus to buy his a word-processor-cum-typewriter.
Carpet tiles laid on the side altars.
Church in the Location
As this church had not been used for services for some time, it was given to the local Child Welfare as a creche and playschool. It was blessed by Fr Manus on the 9th July. Mrs Lesefa was put in charge, being paid R70 per month, being subsidised by the local Social Welfare. Initially there were only 9 pupils, but the figure rose to 14; the fee was R8 a month but only a few people paid.
Heavy Snow in Matatiele
There was some excitement among the younger residents when the snow fell, but it thawed later in the afternoon. I reproduce a photo taken on this occasion.
Acies of the Legion of Mary, was held for the Curia, which consisted of members from Matatiele and Hardenberg parishes. Bishop Napier attended, as he was doing Confirmation the following day.
Bishop Napier confirmed 21 people that Sunday.
State of Emergency in Transkei
During the 1980’s and early 1990’s there was much political unrest in South Africa and the homelands, of which Transkei was one. In 1985 there was a state of emergency in Transkei and in addition a curfew was imposed from 10p.m to 5.am. This stopped many sodality meeting in Matatiele parish, as it was the custome for people to arrive the night before a meeting, have a vigil and meeting the following day.
In some areas the curfew was strictly enforced, whereas in other areas vigilance was much lighter.
Fr Manus took Fr Ernest to Nazareth House in Durban for a doctor’s check-up, following a bypass operation in 1984. Fr Manus returned the same day to find the house had been broken into and R300 stolen. The culprits were traced and punished, one of whom unfortunately was a local Catholic youth.
50th Anniversary of arrival of the Bavarian Friars
A celebration was held in Kokstad to mark the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Bavarian Friars to take over the Prefecture of Mt Currie. Of the original Bavarian friars, Frs Gerhard, Canisius and Severin were there. Fr Canisius spoke of the hardship of ministering in an area where all the languages were foreign. He even had to get a Sr Anastasia to translate his weekly sermon into English.
Many other congratulatory speeches were made, especially by the local superior, and the feelings was that Sr Anastasia’s services are still required. There was lunch at the Mt Currie Motel. About 50 were present, including Precious Blood and Holy Cross sisters. Some Friars from the Reef came, and naturally a load of students from the Kraal, who can always be relied upon to turn up for any celebration. No-one, however, came from the Dundee area.
23rd December 1986
Bomb in Amanzimtoti, South Coast
More Political Unrest
APLA (African People’s Liberation Army) made many attacks on lonely farms, so the Police put up many roadblocks. All cars travelling from the Transkei were searched and anyone without a travel document was turne back.
In retaliation all the businesses in Matatiele were boycotted. Then the business people in Matatiele blockaded the roads and allowed no traders too pass through on the way to Maluti in Lesotho. They maintained that the boycott was only pratially political, but mainly an excuse for the outside traders to exploit the situation. Some traders were charging R4 for the loaf of bread and other goods were sold at exorbitant rates. After a few days the boycott and blockades ended.
About the same time the missions in our neighbouring diocese were blockaded by people wishing to maintain their monopoly on boys going to circumcision schools. Fr Makhoro and others had started a so-called Christian circumcision school to get the boys away from Pagan practices. People were prevented from attending Mass; at times shots were fired, and a catechist was murdered in Shepherd’s Hope.
Fr Makhoro was even jailed for some days on a trumped-up charge. The trouble even spread as far as Hardenberg. After some months peace was restored, but the trouble persisted for years.
Chris Hani Assassinated in Boksburg
The subsequent unrest hastened the new elections.
Society wedding in Matatiele
Peter Neave, son of Munny neave (Nee Sorour) married Sally Busby, daughter of a former Mayor of Matatiele.
Confirmation – 19th December
Sr Senan came from Kokstad a few times to assist in the preparation and she was very thorough. Fr Bruno as Adminstrator of the Diocese came and confirmed 20 people, mostly children.
Midnight Mass was crowded, about 100 people received Holy Communion – but…… the altar boys did not turn up.
Bishop-Elect William Slattery came to take over the Kokstad Diocese and Fr Bruno moved up to the Presbytery.
6th – January
Death of Fr Eymard Hoade
He had been in a nursing home near Mullingar and was bedridden. He was well-remembered by the Matatiele parishioners.
On the 8th January a Requiem Mass was held for Fr Eymard and the church was full.
10th -14th January 1994
Provincial Chapter at La Verna
Most of the Matatiele area were delegates. The main discussion point was the Mission Vision Statement. At the Chapter, Fr Bill was re-elected Definitor.
Visitator – Fr Thomas Nairn came to see Matatiele and later sat in at a catechism examination at one of the outstations.
Dedication Day – 7th November
At Mass the parishioners renewed their pledges. Later there was a parish picnic at Pigeon Rock.
Parish Council Meeting
This was held to discuss the results of the pledge campaign, which was disappointing. Over 200 dedication papers were distributed, with only 21 pledges being returned-of those, only 11 pledged a sum of money, and of those, 6 were already part of the planned giving campaign.
Public Address System
A technician from Dick Pedlar’s installed a public address system in the church. The cost was R5000, which was entirely paid for from overseas; it did not cost the parish a cent.
At a meeting with the Provincial, it was determined that Fr Bruno should be Gurdian in Kokstad, while Fr Larry O’Shea should be administrator of the Cathedral and Parish priest.
5th September Golden Jubilee or Profession
Fr Egbert O’Dea celebrated his Golden Jubilee in Kokstad with Fr Edmund Dougan and his confreres. Also concelebrating was Fr Bernhard Riegel, a Comboni Father from Mt Frere, who celebrated his Silver Jubilee of ordination.
Sadly, Fr Edmund died the following January.
I include a picture of the concelebrated Mass below.
A busy day! Very well-attended morning Mass, then one in Xhosa at 5.15, followed by an English Mass at 6 o’clock. In between were Masses at three outstations, one of which had a gratifyingly large number waiting when Fr Manus arrived. He also managed to squeeze in some sick calls.
Fr William Slattery Ordained Bishop
This was a big day for the diocese, which took place at the Kokstad showgrounds. 28 Bishops attended, also the Anglican Bishop of Umzimvubu, Geoffrey Davies and 150 priests. The weather turned cold and misty, with a sharp wind, but remained dry. Archbishop Hurley and Bishop Brooks of Umtata were the main preachers.
World Women’s Day of Prayer
This annual day of prayer was held again in the Catholic church in Matatiele. About 50 ladies turned up, and Maureen Sorour and Anne Kok did most of the work.
First Free Elections in South Africa
As at most other polling stations throughout the country there were long queues at the three polling stations in Matatiele. The Transkei stations were a complete mess, so thousands of people came to Matatiele to vote, even though they really belonged to the Eastern Province. (Matatiele is part of KwaZulu/Natal). They thereby boosted the anc vote in Natal, but the IFP won there anyway. A Fr Rowlands O.P from Switzerland was one of the international observers, staying at Hardenberg.
Inauguration of the new President
Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as President of South Africa.
The weather turned very cold and even the fishpond froze over. Records show that 1994 was the coldest winter in 30 years.
St Anne’s Sodality Meeting
Their tri-monthly meeting was snowed out and very few people made it for the function.
Funeral of Monica Setsubi
Record crowd, even packing the gallery for the funeral of Monica, eldest daughter of Emmanuel and Agnes Setsubi. Fr Bernard Seseyane of Taung, Lesotho, where she had been Principal of the Catholic school, came to represent the Bishop of Kimberley. After Mass in the church, the function at Khoapa cemetery was done by Fr David Barnard.
Poor Clare Convent, Kokstad
An Inaugural Mass was celebrated at the Convent on the 21st November.
Party for Old Parishioners
This was the first party held for them and about 18 came the food and taped music were good.
Matric Exam Results
In the last racially separated Matric exam in South Africa, 98% of the White pupils passed and 42% of Black pupils.
New Year’s Eve Dance – 31st December
Parish dance in the Town Hall, with a pleasant crowd. About R4000 was realised.
A few thousand people invaded the commonage beyond the golf course and claimed sites for occupation. This at the instigation of the Eastern Province (former Transkei) supporters who want Matatiele incorporated into the Eastern Province. An announcement was made on the Transkei Radio that sites were available free. However, some ANC officials did charge amounts ranging from R5 to R300. according to the nalvete of the clients.
After a few days, the Mayor , Libby Sorour, got a court injunction from Pietermaritzburg and the so-called squatters were dispersed.
Peeved by their failure, the squatters association called for the boycott of the businesses in Matatiele. In reprisal the businessmen in Matatiele blockaded the roads from Cedarville to Maluti, thereby choking off all commerce with the small shops in the district, which usually made a fortune during a boycott by charging excessive prices. On the 13th January the boycott was called off and the blockade lifted. (Matatiele Chronicle).
Fr Bernardine’s Near-Accident
As Fr Bernardine was driving out of the hospital, a drunken driver nearly collided with him. Fr Bernardine stopped his car and the driver punched him in the face, necessitating six stitches. Fortunately the driver was later arrested and fined R4000 – his business in Matatiele went bankrupt the following year. Fr Bernardine stopped driving after this incident because of his age, over 80, and failing eyesight.
The Standard Bank in High Street, Matatiele, was robbed of 1.5 million Rands.
Fr Alexis King, former secretary of the Irish province came on a short visit.
Fr Matthias McSweeney was buried in Kokstad after Requiem Mass in Mayville. He had served in Tabankulu for many years.
Catholic Nurses Guild
The recently formed branch of this Guild met in the parish hall for the first time – about 25 nurses attended.
Matatiele Health Forum
The inaugural meeting of this Forum took place at Tsokolele. The Catholic priest was an ex-officio member and the president was Dr VanDen Berg, a Catholic. This organisation seemed to have little or no direction and was poorly attended, sometimes one person turning up. After about a year it ceased to function.
Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland)
He came to South Africa as a guest of the ANC, giving many interviews and taking part in radio phone-ins.
Church Choir Competition
In this competition, held in Kokstad for all choirs in the whole diocese, Matatiele choir won.
Bishop Slattery on a visit
The Bishop came to Matatiele on a parish visit and the winning choir sang the second Mass. Cyril Setsubi gave the Bishop R15, 000 for the diocesan priesthood.
On page 54 is a picture of the winning choir, standing outside the church with their conductor.
The Matatiele Choir Rejoice
15th September 1995
Pope’s Visit to South Africa
Motto of the crowd at the Mass that was celebrated in Germiston: John Paul II, we Love You!
Ministers’Fraternal held here. About 30 present. Bishop Mazwi of the Moravians presided.
Mattresses from the jail
The jail had 150 sisal mattresses which they did not want as they found they could be pulled apart and made into ropes. One prisoner hanged himself that way. Fr Manus, who was Chaplain, was invited to apply for them. He took them away and distributed most of them around the outstations. A number were given to Kokstad for a youth meeting. The jail replaced the mattresses with sponge ones, as it is not so easy to hang oneself with a sponge.
Bishop Slattery confirmed 23 people at first Mass and 50 at the second.
Visit of Papal Nuncio
The Nuncio, Ambrose De Paoli, came here to meet the Umtata Diocese priests from the Mariazell area to discuss candidate for the Bishop, as Bishop Andrew Brooks of Umtata Diocese had resigned.
The Matatiele presbytery wsa considered the most convenient meeting place, ass they usually had their deanery meetings here. This meeting was not very successful, as no Bishop was chosen until 1997.
The General Visitator, Fr Martin, from Holland, came on visitation in preparation for Chapter.
Legion of Mary
For the first time in years, the Bishop attended the Acies of the Legion of Mary. They gave the Bishop a present of R100 and two cakes. The Bishop preached for 25 minutes in seSotho and five in Xhosa.
A retreat for all Catholic teachers in the district wsa held in Hardenberg, with about 60 people turning up.
The Franciscan Postulancy was transferred from Gingindlovu to the old convent in Kokstad and blessed – 7th April.
Church leaders course
A short course for church leaders ws given at Maria Telgte. Only one person from Matatiele went Pius Kolman.
Mass at Santa Again
The priest returned to the Santa (South African National Tuberculosis) hospital after a break of some months because of nursing staff strikes. Most patients had been transferred to other hospitals, but others died.
Big Society Wedding
A Nigerian doctor practising in Cape Town married Philadelfia Ntabeni. There many Nigerians present. There was no nuptial Mass because neither party ever came to Church, though both were nominal Catholics.
The comet seen fo the first time from Matatiele just over the Drakensberg mountain to the west.
This was the last entry in the Matatiele Chronicle.
The Sisters at Matatiele
Precious Blood Sisters, 1929-1937
Bishop Fleischer had opened a convent at Matatiele on the 13th February 1929; the Precious Blood Sisters, assisted by some Assisi nuns, started with a Kindergarten for White children and when this did not prosper , a school for Coloured children was launched. (From Transkei for Christ by Marcel Dischl CMM).
Mother Provincial, Sr Germelina Haberkorn CPS, visited the sisters in Matatiele in 1929 and again visited in May 1931.
On the 21st October 1937, Srs Theodata Auer and Osmana Furst returned to Mariannhill, never to return to Matatiele, as there was no possibility of meaningful presence and ministry. The Holy Cross Sisters took over the Convent as well as the school. (From CPS Convent Chronicle, Matatiele).
Sisters Stationed at the Matatiele Convent
(From Personal Particulars of the Sisters)
Sr M Josepha Banneyer – Kindergarten
Sr M Edmundine Schneider – 1932 School
Sr M Cassiana Hemling – 8/10/32 – Take over school for Coloured Children
Sr M Edmundine Schneider – 3/3/29 – Domestic duties
Sr M Theodota Seyfried – 1934 – 36 School
Sr M Osmana Furst 1934 – 36 Kitchen
Sr M Eleonoris Hertweck 1936-37 School
Then from Chronicle South African Province 1885-1984
Centenary Edition: (Precious Blood Sisters):
Matatiele 1929-1937 2 sisters. Duties: Primary school, home nursing, instruction of African candidates in various manual works, housekeeping for mission staff.
I am grateful for these details from the CP Sisters.
From Wordless witness , a book on the activities of the Holy Cross Sisters in the Transkei and East Griqualand.
Close to the southern highlands of the Lesotho border, lies the town of Matatiele, East Griqualand , the Mission forming part of the Kokstad diocese…
For many years the Catholic mission in the town was an outpost of Kokstad and was served by visiting priests from Kokstad until 1922. Mass was said in the homes of some of the Catholic, one of whom, Mr J.J Sorour, set about collecting funds for the building of a church.
In 1923 the Transkei became part of the Prefecture of Mariannhill and in 1928 a convent was built, the site for it and the church being bought by the Matatiele mission. The first resident priest arrived in Matatiele in 1932 and the church was built in 1933. The Sisters of the Precious Blood settled into the Convent in the town.
In 1935 the Mt Currie prefecture was erected and Matatiele was henceforth to be served by the Franciscan priests of that prefecture. As a result of the changeover from Mariannhill to Franciscan, the Precious Blood sisters also left the mission and were replaced by three Holy Cross sisters in 1938.
It was intended to run a school for White pupils with primary classes, commercial classes for senior girls and music lessons. However, the Convent was not centrally enough was not a viable proposition. Fortunately, one Sister was teaching Coloured children in an empty store room lent by the Sorour family. It was decided to develop this project and at the beginning of 1939 the foundation of a new Coloured primary school was laid.
This little private school endured until 1974. There was a small Coloured population in the town , about 300 in 1953, and there was an Anglican mission school as well. Besides, there were few opportunities for Coloured people in the area, so many people moved away to seek progress elsewhere.
The sisters of the Holy Cross came to Matatiele in 1938 to replace the Precious Blood sisters. They concentrated on work among the Coloured people. In 1939 they built the school in Station Road. Since then they have done invaluable work in educating growing numbers of Catholic Coloured children.
At present (date uncertain) there are nearly eighty Catholic children in the school. As it is private, the school gets no Government grant and so the cost of running it is borne completely by the Holy Cross congregation.
Although the Convent chronicle makes no mention of it, it is probably that the closure was due to the absorption of the mission school into the larger State school. Besides, the delcine in personnel meant that sick and ageing sisters could not be replaced.
Period Between Departure of the Holy Cross sisters In 1975 and the arrival of
The Sisters of Mary Immaculate – 1997
Taken From Matatiele Priest’ Chronicle.
The Bishop (Napier) came today to look at the Sisters’ creache in North Street, which was unused since the new state primary school was opened in Jagger Street. The sisters had offered it to the Bishop at the moninal price, but the foundations were so bad that the building had to be condemned.
Later. The sisters had the building razed and retained owenership until a good offer was made. The site is now in an area reserved for light industrial business, so can’t be used for church, school, sport or residential purposes.
Before the building was demolished, Fr Manus dismantled the cupboards and made bookshelves for the office and church.
The school building beside the Convent was used on request by various sodalities and groups from the northern part of the Umtata diocese because it was the most central place to meet.
The only problem was that they rarely requested a booking in time and so, often clashed.
In August six church groups all arrived at the same time. Fortunately the weather ws fine and some groups could meet on the lawn. Ann Wright, Philip Ngcobo and Sr Winnie came to address the Secular Franciscan Order and stayed the weekend.
The Tertiaries came in good numbers from Lugada, Polile and Mvenyane.
The Holy Cross sisters celebrated 100 years in Kokstad, but the Matatatiele sisters left in 1975.
1991 (?) The school classroom was rented at a nominal fee to the Coloure Dept.of Education and some classes were held there until the new Coloured Primary school was completed opposite the Coloured township in Jagger Street. The building containing the former creche (North Street) was also rented for the same purposes, but owned by the Holy Cross sisters.
Sisters of Mary Immaculate
Mostof the information below was kindly sent to me by Sr Angela of Matatiele, with the exception of the entry under the 14th December 1996 which I have put in quotation marks –
this appeared in the Matatiele priest’s chronicle. (Fr Manus).
14th December 1996
The Sisters of Mary Immaculate came to view the convent, which was being painted plastered and refurbished at the Diocese’s expense. The Mother General and the Provincial from Zambia were included in the group.
Arrival of the Sisters
Three Sisters from the Order arrived in Matatiele on the 10th February, 1997, their names being:
Sr Angela Banas
Sr Helena Kolcz
Sr Magdalene Fortuin
Prior to her arrival in Matatiele, Sr Angela was stationed at Mahobe Mission in the Umzimkulu diocese. Sr Magdalene has since been transferred to Mahobe mission.
Work of the Sisters at Matatiele
Sr Angela describes the Sisters’ duties as general pastoral work under the following headings:
‘helping, guiding different groups in the parish
of Matatiele and Cedarville; catechetical work, prayer groups, visiting the sick in hospital and at home; assisting the poor.’
Background to this order
The full title of the Congregation is: The Little Servant Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary Conceived Immaculate (LSMI) . It was founded in Poland in 1850 by the Servant of God, Edmund Bojanowski, who will be beatified next year.
The address of the Mother House is as follows:
Stara Wies 460,
36-201 Stara Wies k Brzozowa
First Sisters in South Africa
The first sisters of this congregation started work in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg in 1947, where they worked with underprivileged children.
I am extremely grateful to Sr Angela for this valuable information and wish her and Sr Helena many blessings in their work. Ad multos annos!
O u t s t a t i o n s
The first mention of Matatiele’s outstations was in 1938, by the Directory, which stated that the following outstations were visited by pastors from Matatiele:
Sigoga’s Both had day-school
In 1946, when Fr Celestine Mass OFM became pastor of Matatiele, he established additional outstations at
(All three of these were in Mgubo’s Location)
In 1951, under Fr Eymard Hoade, when the borders of the new parish of Matatiele were established, Khoapa’s was transferred to Hardenberg as it was midway between Hardenberg and Matatiele and Nomkolokoto was transferred to Mt Frere.
No Records of Matatiele kept between 1952-1983
Fr Manus Campbess- 1984-1998 (present)
He established several new outstations, among them being:
Ash Wednesday Mass – the attendance was good at Lugada. (20th February 1985)
12th March 1985. Members of the Secular Franciscan, especially from Lugada visited the Bubesi area to try and revive the faith among the lapsed. They reported much interest and good successes, but there was no visible effect in Mass attendance afterwards.
Palm Sunday, 31st March. Attendance was very good at Lugada.
Good Friday, 4th April. Mass at Lugada at 11 am. About 50 people received Holy Communion , but no-one was able to do the readings of the Passion.
This outstation had a church building which was wellconstructed with bricks and cement.
Sunday 1st February, Mass Lugada – 1.30pm.
Sr Callista and Mrs Morapedi went to Lugada to give a talk on Renew.
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday Masses at Lugada.
This outstation had a church built with bricks and cement
Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday – Masses at Polile were well-attended.
10th January. Johannes Nyakeni was buried today. He was about 90 years of age and one of the pioneers at Polile, the oldest in Matatiele parish.
1st May (Workers Day) Political unrest, military roadblocks everywhere. Three shops and some houses were torched in Polile and it was said that ANC Comrades were responsible.
It turned out that this was a frame-up and the matter was just personal jealousy, as there were too many shops in Polile.
Ash Wednesday – a crowd of people were waiting for Fr Manus when he arrived.
12th May – Ascension Thursday. There was Mass at Polile because the SFO had their tri-monthly meeting and about 84 people received Holy Communion.
This was an old outstation and in 1985 it had not been visited in years, so Fr Manus went there on the 30th April. Most of the people had left there, but just a few old people remained and it was for their sake that Mass was said there.
However, many other people came from the valley below and 27 received Holy Communion .
There was quite a bit of excitement on that particular visit. As Fr Manus and helpers were on the 40-minute walk down the hill, they see that fire had escaped from the cooking hut and had spread rapidly towards the church – then the thatched roof of the church caught alight. By the time Fr Manus and the others reached the church, it had been gutted. People who were there managed to salvage all the furnishings.
From then onwards, Mass was held in the kitchen building after a partition was removed inside. This building fortunately had a corrugated iron roof.
Once again, it was the dry season and a veld (bush) fire started at the top of the hill at Rasheni. Fr Manus had to rush there (it took him 30 minutes to do so) to remove his vehicle out of danger of the fire. On page 64 I reproduce a picture taken on that occasion.
The funeral of Elina Njiva took place at Rasheni and it meant that only one Catholic family now lived up the hill.
The new site for the church at Lunda was fenced and a gate was purchased for R96.
Official permission was sought to occupied the site, but in the meantime a building 8m x 4m was erected and Mass was said there for the first time on the 29th December 1985. %0 people received Communion, there was one baptism and 2 marriages.
Work began at building the outstation church at Lunda.
Then on the 29th March came the news that Bro Bosco O’Doherty had died in Kokstad. He had made the benches for the new church at Lunda.
The church at Lunda was completed. The builder, Sipho Radebe from Port Shepstone was paid R5000 plus a bonus of R600. His labourers got R10 per day plus a bonus of R70 at the end of the job (The going rate at the time was R7 per day).
First Mass said in the new church at Lunda. There was full congregation with 96 people receiving Holy Communion.
Bishop Napier blessed the new church at Lunda, named St Joseph’s and there he confirmed 46 people.
Etyiweni, a form Cedarville outstation, was visited by Fr Manus on his arrival in Matatiele – the first visit in years, and only 6 people from Etyiweni attended. The rest were brought from Plantation, also a former Cedarville outstation.
The church was a mud building which had been built jointly by Fr Reginald Gunn and Rev Maqhashalala. The Anglican church put up the church and Catholics supplied all the furniture, benches, altar and a church bell. Fr Manus recognised the benches and altar as once having been in the old church in Cedarville.
The rainy season and torrential rains. An effort was made to get to Maweni, but the bridge was down. The remainder of the journey was made on foot.
Below is a picture of the broken bridge, impassible for vehicular traffic.
the church at Maweni wsa rebuilt, this time with cement blocks. The …. was still to be put in, as well as the plastering inside and outside needing to be done, but it wsa usable for Mass.
This was a sturdy buiding, made of bricks and cement.
Violent weather that summer. A hailstorm devastated the Bubesi/Bethesda region. The roof of the sacristy ws blown right off, and sheets of zinc were recovered a long way off.
Also a sturdy building made a bricks and cement.
This was also an outstation formerly served from Cedarville. It was on the Riversdale farm, where permission had been obtained to use the little Anglican church known as St Martin-in-the fields. Fr Manus was now serving it from Matatiele.
Prior to this date Mass had been said in a nearly school which had been renovated by Fr Comumbanus. This place is very near the Umzimvubu River and New Amalfi is quite close. For that reason it had been served at one time by the resident priest of Hlangwini.
Meadowbrook also used to be visited from Cedarville. In 1986 an attempt was made to have Mass at Meadowbrook farm school, but not enough people came to warrant the visit.
Presumably Fr Manus did not go again, as there was no further mention of Meadowbrook in the chronicle.
1986 – July
Sunnyside farm was visited for the first time. There was a good crowd of people, but hardly any Communions.
The mud church at Mvenyane was about to collapse, so it was decided to rebuild it with cement blocks. The new walls were just inside the old walls, as the church was too wide. That meant that the church could be used most of the time during building operations. Sand was brought by the Datsun pick-up from the banks of the Mvenyane river, but crushed stone was delivered by Peters brothers from the Matatiele quarry.
Mass was said for the first time in the newly constructed church at Plantation, Mvenyane.
1991 – August
Fr Manus went as usual to the High School at Mvenyane, but found all the classrooms locked because of theft and vandalism by the locals. Also the teachers went home for the week-end, so there was no venue for Mass. Efforts were made later on to have a classroom opened for Mass, but without success, so Mass there was discontinued.
Fr Manus said Mass at Mvenyane, but only 15 people received Holy Communion . He felt it was difficult to get people at outstations to come to Mass on Christmas Day because of relatives returning from work, and among other things, it is dangerous to leave the home untended because the relatives steal to get drink.
The outstation had a church, but made of mud-bricks only.
1991 – September
One whole side of the roof at Palane was blown off in a storm. Some of the sheets of corrugated iron were re-usable, but others had to be bought.
1996 – January
Palane was one outstation that could not be visited for Mass because the roads had turned to quagmires.
Mr Magayiyana was buried in Palane, which means that there is no longer any man attending the church there, only woman.
Another church which was built of mud-bricks.
1990 – October
It snowed heavily for the third time that year, making the road to Zitaphile impassible. Again in 1996 there was a remark in the chronicle about not being able to reach Zitaphile because the roads had turned to quagmires.
1991 – April
A very small church was built unofficially to assist the old and sick there to run services by themselves.
1987 – 1st February
Sunday Mass at the High school, Mt Hargreaves for the pupils at 3.30 pm. This was also a Cedarville Mass centre.
1988 – October
There was a good crowd at Mt Hargreaves high school in spite of the unrest. Some pupils were in jail because they burnt down the minister’s house.
Heavy rains over several days made the usual road to Springdale impassible, so Springdale farm had to be visited by going round by the Swartberg road.
1996 – September
At Dlodlweni there was a record blessing of 14 headstones, 12 at one site and 2 elsewhere. They belonged to the Myakayaka family. A choir from Katlehong (Lesotho), the Cecilians, came for the occasion, as many of the choir-members are related to the family. Below is a picture of the blessing of the headstones.
1996 – October
A well-known church leader, Elliot Mrawu, was buried at Esidakeni.
There was much trouble in the Transkei at this time because the SADF (South African Defence Force) had raided a house, supposedly APLA, in Umtata and shot a number of youths there.
1996 – August
Funeral of Vuthela at Sijoka. At that time it was very common for members of Inkatha or ANC to throw rivals off moving trains. So the violence on the Reef (Fransvaal) had reached even here.
Resident Priests at Matatiele
Fr Otto Grimm CMM 1932 – 1934
Fr Otto Ruegg CMM 1934 – 1935
Fr Guido Nuernberger OFM 1935 – 1946
Fr Celestine Mass OFM 1946 – 1948
Fr Benedict O’Leary OFM 1948 – 1951
Assistant: Fr Hanno Probst OFM 1948 – 1950
Assistant: Fr Kieran Mc Crann OFM 1950 – 1952
Fr Eymard Hoade OFM – 1951 – 1983
Assistant: Fr Valerian Gavin OFM – 1952 – 1956
Assistant: Fr Reginald Gunn OFM – 1956 – 1958
Assistant: Fr Egbert O’Dea OFM – 1959 – 1960
Assistant: Fr Manus Campbell OFM – 1960 – 1961
Assistant: Fr Cosmas (Harry) Houlihan OFM – 1962 – 1971
Assistant: Fr Niall Hardiman OFM – 1971 – 1983
Fr Egbert O’Dea OfM – 1983 -1984
Assistant: Fr Ernest Masasse OFM – 1984 – 1986
Fr Manus Campbell OFM – 1984 – 1998
Assistant: Fr Fergall Grannell OFM – 1986 – 1987
***Fr Florian Rauch had much todo with the Matatiele parishioners, fund-raising and building Holy Trinity Church, but was resident there.