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.

14 replies on “Bishop Patrick Matolengwe dies, aged 82”

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

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)

Rest in peace Tata Bishop Matolengwe, Ugqatsho ulifezile. Xolani family yakhe, utata uyokuphumla. Sinani ngelixesha libuhlungu kangaka. Thuthuzelekani

Enkosi mfundisi ngobomi benzolo namava. May your soul rest in peace. Our sincere condolences to the Matolengwe family. May God bless you and strengthen you. The good Bishop is safe in our Father’s arms now. Stay in peace.

We were blessed to know the family while they were in Milwaukee. They are wonderful people. God speed and prayers for the family!

“Bro Pat” as we used to call you. you will never be forgotten, you are loved and missed. I miss your smile and your humbleness. You were really servant of God. Umakoti wakho Nomawethu Guma. Johannesburg

Sadly, I just learned of Bishop Patricks’ death.

I had the privilege of knowing and working with Patrick in the late 1980’s. He received my life vows as a Monk in 1988. He and Sapho were very important to me during a difficult time in my life. My ministry today in due to a large part of his pastoral advice and counsel.

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