Sixth woman bishop for Africa

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The House of Bishops of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa has appointed the Rev. Canon Vincentia Kgabe as bishop of Lesotho — making her the third woman dioesan bishop in Africa and the sixth woman bishop in Africa.

In a 19 Sept 2021 statement, the provincial executive officer the Rev. Dr. Makhosi Nzimande stated the electoral college of bishops met earlier that day and had translated the Rt. Rev. Brian Marajh of the Diocese of George to the Diocese of Kimberley & Kuruman. “They also elected the Rev Canon Dr Vicentia Kgabe, Rector of the College of the Transfiguration, as Bishop of Lesotho,” Dr. Nzimande wrote.

Bishop-elect Kgabe will become the third woman bishop in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. The first African woman bishop was the Rt. Rev. Ellinah Ntombi Wamukoya, who was elected bishop of Swaziland on 18 July 2012 and ordained and installed on 10 November 2012. She passed away from the COVID virus earlier this year. The Rt. Rev. Margaret Vertue was elected on 12 Oct 2012 Bishop of False Bay, South Africa. She was consecrated and installed on 19 January 2013.

Among the GAFCON affiliated provinces, three women have been elected to the episcopate. The Rt. Rev. Elizabeth Awut Ngor was consecrated on 31 Dec 2016 by the Most Daniel Deng Bol, Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan as assistant bishop of the Diocese of Rumbek. On 27 March 2021 the Rt. Rev. Emily Onyango was consecrated assistant Bishop of Bondo at St Michael’s and All Angels Cathedral in Bondo in the Anglican Church of Kenya.

The first GAFCON diocesan woman bishop, the Rt. Rev. Rose Okeno of Butere, was consecrated on 12 Sept 2021 by the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Jackson Ole Sapit at the Butere Girls School sports compound in Kakamega County, Western Kenya.

Born in Soweto, Bishop-elect Kgabe trained for the ministry at the College of the Transfiguration and earned a PhD in Practical Theology in 2011 from the University of Pretoria. The title of her dissertation thesis was “Abuse of alcohol by Anglican clergy: challenge to pastoral care?” Ordained deacon in 2002 and priest in 2003, she served parishes in the Diocese of Johannesburg before being appointed rector in 2014  of the College of the Transfiguration — the provincial seminary. No date has yet been set for her consecration.