Bishop Patrick Matolengwe dies, aged 82

From left, Bishops Bethlehem Nopece, Ebenezer Ntlali and Patrick Matolengwe with former President Kgalema Motlanthe at a service celebrating Bishop Patrick’s ministry and 80th birthday. (Photo: Graaff-Reinet Advertiser)

The Right Revd Dr Patrick Monwabisi Matolengwe, a former Bishop Suffragan of Cape Town, a former Dean of Milwaukee in the United States, a former senior official of the SA Council of Churches, and an assistant bishop in a number of dioceses, has died in Johannesburg.

He died peacefully at the Helen Joseph Hospital, said a notice from the Provincial Executive Office at Bishopscourt.

“He died surrounded by his wife, Sapho, and children. The funeral will be held in his home town, Graaff-Reinet, at a date to be announced once family has finalized the arrangements,” the notice added.

Bishop Matolengwe was born in Graaff-Reinet, trained as a teacher at Lovedale and then turned to the ministry. He served in both rural and urban areas, notably at Nyanga in Cape Town.

His ministry in Cape Town coincided with the crises caused by the apartheid government when it tried to enforce the pass laws by repeatedly destroying people’s homes in informal settlements and forcibly removing the wives and children of migrant workers to the Eastern Cape.

He served as Bishop Suffragan of Cape Town in the time of Archbishops Philip Russell and Desmond Tutu, and in 1988 moved to Milwaukee in Wisconsin. There he was first appointed Dean of All Saints Cathedral and then Assisting Bishop in the diocese of Milwaukee.

He continued his theological studies in the United States, earning a Master’s degree in Theological Studies at Nashotah House seminary in 1992 and a Doctor of Ministry degree at the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio in 1996. Nashotah House also conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa).

After returning home, he led the work of the South African Council of Churches in co-ordinating its work with that of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

After retiring he served in the Parish of St. Phillip’s, Graaff-Reinet, and as Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman. Latterly, he has assisted at the parish of Christ the King in Sophiatown.

This report was updated after first publication with the detail of Bishop Matolengwe’s educational qualifications in the U.S., which were kindly supplied by his family.

9 Responses to Bishop Patrick Matolengwe dies, aged 82

  • Rest in peace mhlekazi

    T l Ramakgele

  • Fare thee well, thy faithful servant of the lord, you have fought a good fight, you have finished the course and you have kept the faith

  • March on gallant warrior, march on! May you now enter into the rest of your God whom you served with much faith. To mamSapho and family, our deepest condolences.

  • Lala ngoxolo tatomkhulu uqhatso ulufezile.. kwi family yakwa Matholengwe ndithi tutwini my deepest condolences

  • Only comprehensible to God,death is a mystry.Grant unto him eternal rest oh God and let thy perpetual light shine upon him.

  • Sincere condolences to Sis Sapho and family..may Bro Pat’s soul finds eternal peace & rest!!!

  • My deepest condolences to all my family…
    Gaan jou mis oompie

  • We were inspired by your courage and compassion over here in Milwaukee. My thoughts and prayers are with Sapho and your family. Fr. Don Hands. (now of Savannah, Georgia)

  • Sincere condolences to the Matolengwe family.

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