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Grizelda Cjiekella Lecholo

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 28 AUGUST

UPDATED: 28/08/2019

28 August 1879, Cornerstone of the new St Cyprians Church on Jones Street laid by Charles Warren.
28 August 2015, Northern Cape MEC of Education, Grizelda Cjiekella-Lecholo, dies suddenly.

DID YOU KNOW

St Cyprian’s Church in Jones Street (now Phakamile Mabija Road) was the predecessor to the current St Cyprian’s Cathedral on Dutoitspan Road and was used from 1880 until 1908.

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St Cyprians Church

The first Anglican church services in Kimberley were held in tents during 1870/71. Dr JW Matthews, author of Incwadi Yami, wrote:

“On entering I beheld a full-robed clergyman officiating at one end of a billiard-table, which served for his reading desk, whilst a large and attentive crowd sat around the other end, some on rude benches which were fixed along the walls, others perched upon gin cases, buckets reversed, or any other make-shift that came to hand. The congregation behaved with suitable decorum, but I confess it was not easy to keep the mind from wandering to the incongruity of the surroundings. ..When the parson was praying or the people singing, it was not particularly edifying to be interrupted by the lively chaff and occasional bursts of blasphemy, which we could plainly hear through the canvas party-walls, which separated us from the adjoining bar and its half tipsy occupants.”

This first rector, or priest, was Father John Rickards, who served from 1871 to 1876, and he was followed by Fr Neville Borton, 1876-1877, and then Fr Charles Bulmer Maude, 1877-1881, the incumbent when the prefabricated wood and iron St Cyprian’s building was erected on Jones Street.

Between the canvas tent and the prefab St Cyprian’s, the congregation met in the Oddfellows Hall on Market Square, a metal roofed building.

The prefab church was imported from England and the foundation stone was laid by Charles Warren (later General Sir Charles Warren) on 28 August 1879.

The building was nearing completion when a strong wind (whirlwind) blew it to pieces on the ground. It was rebuilt and dedicated by Bishop Webb on Low Sunday 1880, regular services being held from there onwards. Father Maude was instituted Rector of Kimberley at the same time. (Low Sunday is normally the first Sunday after Easter, therefore quite probably dedicated on 4 April 1880).

Father Maude, due to a combination of stress and overwork, visited England for a rest at this time, and Father John Darragh, assistant priest, organized a bazaar that raised some £2200 which assisted tremendously in paying off some of the debt from the original erection and subsequent rebuild.
Father Maude recalled the church (although he may actually be relating to the Oddfellows Hall):

“We have a canvas house for our sitting room and a wooden one for our bedroom. The floors are made of brick dried in the sun, but the legs of beds or tables make holes in them… The church floor is of mud and so is very dusty. It is a low building with an iron roof and when it rains we have to give up the service as we cannot be heard!”

In 1898 a fire destroyed a major part of the church building, the building being repaired when the Anglo-Boer War began in 1899. The Boer shelling of Kimberley during the siege (14 October 1899 to 15 February 1900) saw the church being hit by a Krupp 75mm shell on 14 November 1899. Winifred Heberden wrote in her diary that day:

“Between 1 and 2 p.m. a hot bombardment began, and shells fell again all round the hotel. One fell in the Market Square, and one in Hill and Paddon’s Store yard, covering a native baby, asleep on a blanket, with dust. One went through St Cyprian’s Church, making a tremendous noise.”

The building survived despite a small fire starting. The organ, bought in circa 1881, was more damaged by the water used by the fire brigade than by the actual shelling. In 1908 there was another fire, in the roof directly above the organ, but once more, damage was minimal other than the water spread over the organ.

In 1901, Bishop Gaul, a former Rector of the church, admonished (chided) the congregation for worshipping in a tin shanty and plans for a more elaborate building were begun.

This resulted in the foundation stone of the current Cathedral in Dutoitspan Road being laid on 5 March 1907 and the completed Nave dedicated on 13 May 1908.

The materials of the old building were then sold on public auction.

After Father Charles Maude, Rectors that served St Cyprian’s Church until the Cathedral was used were Canon C.O. Miles, 1881-1882; Fr W.J.F Hanbury, 1882-1884, assisted by Fr J.T. Darragh; Canon W.T. Gaul M.A. 1884-1895, afterwards Bishop of Mashonaland; The Ven Fr W.A Holbech, 1895-1902, afterwards Bishop of St Helena; Canon Arthur S. Valpy (from Winchester Cathedral), 1902 (Acting); The Ven Fr H.A. Douglas-Hamilton, 1903-1905; and Canon Thomas Claude Robson, April 1905 until the move to Dutoitspan Road.

Maude Street in Kimberley North is named after Father Maude.

28 August 1879, Cornerstone of the new St Cyprians Church on Jones Street laid by Charles Warren.
28 August 2015, Northern Cape MEC of Education, Grizelda Cjiekella-Lecholo (pictured), dies suddenly.

DID YOU KNOW

Grizelda Boniwe Cjiekella-Lecholo, known affectionately as ‘Zaza’, was the MEC (Member of the Executive Council) for Education in the Northern Cape Province when she died in a private Kimberley Hospital in the early hours of Friday 28 August 2015.

She was born into a family of Xhosa background in Upington on 14 April 1970, the daughter of John and Susan Cjiekella, and grew up in Pabalello Township. She attended Vela Langa Lower Primary School and then proceeded to Lukhanyiso Higher Primary School, finishing her secondary schooling at Paballelo Senior Secondary School where she matriculated.

Cjiekella then enrolled at the University of the Western Cape. Her studies were interrupted by involvement in the struggle, but afterwards completed the following courses at the University of the Free State: Research and Management, Law Making and Oversight, Strategic Planning, Capacity Building in Committees and House proceedings and Local Government (MFMA) Integrated Performance Management Act.

Cjiekella’s involvement in politics dated from her school days when she was a “vibrant and outspoken” SRC member. In 1986 she was elected branch chairperson of the ANC Youth Congress in Upington, a role she fulfilled until 1988. Up to 1990 she was a member of the Civic Organisation; becoming branch chairperson of the ANC Women’s Congress in Upington (1988-1989). Her position in African National Congress structures was consolidated in her becoming ANC Branch Executive Deputy Chairperson (1990-1994), ANC Regional Deputy Chairperson (1995-1996), ANC Acting Regional Chairperson (1996-1997), ANC Women’s Provincial Secretary (1997-2003), and ANC Women’s League Provincial Deputy Chairperson (2003-2008).

At the time of her death she was the ANC Women’s League Provincial Chairperson as well as a PEC and PWC member.

Cjiekella was deployed to the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature as a Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) in December 2003. The following year she became the Deputy Speaker of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature. She held the position until April 2009 when she was appointed MEC for Education in the Province.

After Northern Cape Premier Hazel Jenkins collapsed, suffering a stroke, in 2012, the Executive Council of the Province appointed Grizelda Cjiekella as Acting Premier for the duration of Premier Jenkins’ incapacity leave.

Her term as Acting Premier ended on 2 April 2013 when Hazel Jenkins officially stepped down from the post of Premier of the Northern Cape and was succeeded by Sylvia Lucas, the Provincial Minister for Environmental Affairs.

Buried in Kimberley’s West End cemetery, she left her husband Olebogeng Lecholo and their families to mourn her passing.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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