Remembering Bishop Louis Ncamiso Ndlovu OSM

A year ago, yesterday (27 August 2012) we got the news that Bishop Ndlovu OSM had died. He had been administrator of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland) for four years and Bishop of the Diocese for nearly 27 years! He was 67 years' old. 

Soon a "Facebook page" called "Tribute to His Lordship, Bishop Louis Ncamiso Ndlovu" was started. Someone wrote there: "a great life is not measure by what u have achieved but by how u have touched and changed others".

These are some of the testimonies I read on the internet a year ago:

"Under his leadership the Catholic church has also brought hope to the needy and the ill, with a village dedicated to sickly HIV patients, numerous hospitals, schools, vocational schools and clinics which till today are better administered than those belonging to the government."

"He also participated in other important organizations such as the Council of Swaziland Churches, which brought together different denominations for the purpose of uniting Christian faiths in the fight against injustice and royal autocracy."

"Bishop Louis was highly respected by the broader civil society movement in the country not only for his passionate commitment to the mission of the church and dedication to the plight of the poor through his many programmes ranging from schools, training centres, clinics, homes for the sick and the dying, support for poor communities among many others. He was also admired for his courageous and unshakable campaigns for peace, democracy and human rights."

"He is remembered for his contribution during the evictions at Ka-Mkhweli area where he provided counselling for those that had been affected as well as food and tents for shelter. As a founding member of the Council of Churches, Bishop Ndlovu always reminded the council to provide for the spirit and also the body as many people living in the rural communities were doing so in abject poverty. He also knew that it was never enough to cure the symptoms of hunger by feeding people nor did he think that it was a proper response to only offer care to the sick and the dying, but he passionately believed that the church must also address the causes of the suffering."

"True to his motto “Fons pacis justitia” (“the source of peace is justice”) he showed a marked sensitivity to the establishment and development of social justice in the lives of the under-privileged and downtrodden. Perhaps this is the aspect that many Catholics and non-Catholics will remember him by. His unfailing support for the needy and helpless brought immense joy to many. Just as in his youth he brought joy with his exceptional dance skills, in his latter days he brought acute joyful awareness to matters of justice to those who suffer."

"The local Diocese has made huge strides in its firm establishment as a local Church, irrespective of the small Swazi population and recent arrival of the Catholic faith in Swaziland. Bishop Ndlovu worked tirelessly to animate the participation and training of the laity in the growth of the diocese, which is now bearing worthwhile fruits. He also carefully guided vocations to the priesthood and religious life, ordaining some 25 priests, balanced by the growth in the number of local diocesan priests. Under his leadership, the material goods of the Church are looked after with diligence and used to slowly consolidate the Church’s future. Most importantly the catechetical formation of Catholics is on course and remained a priority under his paternal encouragement.

Perhaps the words of Mother Theresa of Calcutta to people in India are appropriate too for what Bishop Ndlovu has taught us: “My life is a message!” Yes Bishop Ndlovu’s life is indeed remains a message that if we want true peace we must work for justice and respect for the dignity of all!"


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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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