Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Sharpeville and Namibia

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre, and the 20th anniversary of Namibian independence.

Someone sent me a newsletter from the Anglican Diocese of Namibia, and here are some excerpts from it

Theological Education

To address the chronic shortage of clergy in the diocese, the diocese has put together a group of 53 candidates to prepare them for ordained ministry. All are registered with Theological Education by Extension College of Southern Africa (TEEC). 6 are registered for Diploma in Theology and Ministry, 6 of them are registered for junior certificate in Theology (called AWARD) and 41 are registered for Certificate of Competency in Theology. This group is under tutorship of The Rt Rev Petrus Hilukiluah, our retired Suffragan bishop, The Very Rev Jeremy Lucas, our Associate Dean and Rector of the Cathedral, and The Ven Lukas K. Katenda, Diocesan Secretary & Treasurer. Progress on this program is recorded for last year with many passed their exams and assignments above average. The assignments and exams are marked in South Africa. This year they are doing their second year and have been dispatched to various parishes for their practical lessons.

Because of the shortage of clergy in the Diocese, we now rely heavily on our retired clergy to run parishes. But age is age. We must make sure that we are not abusing our retired clergy who deserved a restful retirement after decades of service to the church and the community. We owe a big thank you to our retired bishops, The Rt. Rev Shihala Hamupembe who serves as the Director of St Mary’s Center replacing Mrs. Canner Kalimba who retired. He first served as Chaplain to the High school during the first two years of his retirement. He is now looking up to the diocese to find a suitable replacement for him. The Rt. Rev Petrus Hilukiluah served as Diocesan Coordinator for HIV and AIDS and later Director of Theological Education Training Program for the Diocese.

Bishop Shihala has indicated that he would like only to act as Mission Director for St Mary’s Mission Center. He is looking forward to his replacement, during this year. The Cathedral Chapter and the Diocesan Standing Committee appointed Mr. Josef Hanghome to become the new Director of St Mary’s Mission. Doing his Certificate in Theology, he has been registered with University of Management doing Certificate in Administration and Secretarial course, as a preparation the daunting task of managing St Mary’s Mission.

Please pray for this young man to be equipped with commitment, dedication and enthusiasm as well as the divine power to dwell on him. Another landmark appointment is that of Mr Lineekela Daniel, who also is doing his Certificate in Theology. Mr Daniel was appointed to become the Manager of Christ the King Conference and Training Center. The Center is in the dilapidating condition and Mr Daniel will make sure the renovations have taken place and maintenance is carried out on a regular basis. He will be supported by a staff of one clear and temporary cooks.

The report is compiled by the Ven Kaluwapa Lukas Katenda
Diocesan Secretary & Treasurer, 24 Februiary 2010

There was much more, and lots of pictures. One thing that shocked me about it was that the only names of people I recognised were those who are retired. Shihala Hamupembe, the retired bishop, I first met when he stayed overnight with us in Windhoek on the way to a youth leadership course in Mindolo, Zambia, and we had to keep his presence secret because the Security Police were looking for him and trying to prevent him from leaving the country — something we knew from the chance overhearing of a conversation on a police radio in a police station. Later, after I had been deported from Namibia, he stayed with us in Durban while on vacation from the seminary he was attending, and we got him to put his youth leadership training to good use by taking our parish youth group on a camp in Zululand.

Another seminary student, Eradius Mwaetako, stayed with us in one of his vacations, and the report said that he too was retired.

It was also interesting to read that 53 Namibian students were enrolled with the TEE College. When I was in Namibia 40 years ago, I was trying to get Namibian students enrolled in Theological Education by Extension courses, but the only project for such a programme, started by the Christian Institute, went through about four directors in as many months, and seemed in imminent danger iof collapse. I talked to some friends, Rich Kraft in Zululand and John Aitchison in Pietermaritzburg, and we decided that if the Christian Institute could spend half a million Rand and not produce a theological course, we could produce a theological course and not spend half a million Rand. So we started on a shoe string, writing course material that was highly illegal, because John Aitchison was banned and later I was too. We called it the Khanya Theological Correspondence Course, and it later combined with two other schemes to form the Theological Education by Extension College (TEEC), and is it was good to see that 53 Namibian students have enrolled in it. I’ve told more of the story of theological education here: Tales from Dystopia III: Theological education in a totalitarian state: Khanya

One thing that struck me as curious about the report, though, is that Bishop Petrus Hilukiluah, whom I also met as a seminary student, seems to have added an h to his name, as has the diocesan bishop. I knew him as Petrus Hilukilua. Is the extra h a special honorific for Namibian bishops? In which case, why doesn’t Shihala Hamupembe spell his name Hamupembeh? Just wondering.

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