Pope Francis Transfers, Elevates South African Bishop Overseeing Formation of Laity

Archbishop elect Zolile Peter Mpambani. He has been transferred from South Africa’s Kokstad diocese to the Metropolitan See of Bloemfontein.
Credit: Public Domain

On April 1, Pope Francis transferred the Bishop Zolile Peter Mpambani from South Africa’s Kokstad diocese to the Metropolitan See of Bloemfontein, elevating him as Archbishop.

The 63-year-old Archbishop-elect is responsible for formation, life and the lay apostolate at the South African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC).

He will succeed Archbishop Jabulani Adatus Nxumalo who has resigned after attaining the canonical age limit of 75.

Archbishop Nxumalo, a member of the religious congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) has been the Local Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Bloemfontein for the last 15 years.

Born on February 20, 1957 in Aliwal diocese, central South Africa, the Archbishop elect gave his religious vows in the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SCI/Dehonians) in January 1982 and was ordained a priest of the same congregation five years later.

Pope Francis appointed him Bishop of Kokstad, coastal South Africa in May 2013. He adopted the episcopal motto, “As I have loved you.”

In an interview soon after his episcopal appointment, Bishop Mpambani revealed that his desire to become a Dehonian missionary was inspired by the many German missionaries from the congregation present in his home parish.

The SACBC communication office has urged Christians to remember the Archbishop-elect in prayers “during this time of preparation to take a new task in the Church of God.”

The Metropolitan See of Bloemfontein was erected by Pope Pius XII on January 11, 1951 from the Apostolic Vicariates of Aliwal and Kimberley.

The Archdiocese measures 64,393 square kilometres and has a 15.8 percent Catholic population, according to 2017 statistics.

The Metropolitan See is under the patronage of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and comprises four suffragan dioceses: Bethlehem, Kroonstad, Kimbereley, and Keimoes-Upington.


ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
[email protected]