Inaugural Meeting of Catholic University Rectors in IMBISA Calls for Regional Forum

Participants at the first meeting of Catholic University Rectors that brought together representatives from four Southern African countries of Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Credit: ACI Africa

Participants in the first meeting of Catholic University Rectors that brought together representatives from four Southern African countries of Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe earlier this week called for the creation of a regional forum, an official has told ACI Africa.

In an interview with ACI Africa, the Pastoral Coordinator of the Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) highlighted the strategies the participants in the Monday, March 21 meeting explored in view of creating a forum for Catholic University Rectors in the Southern Africa region.

“Participants appreciated and thanked IMBISA's idea of inviting the Rectors of Catholic Universities from the region and expressed their desire to become a regional body,” Fr. Rafael Baciano Sapato told ACI Africa about the Monday, March 21 meeting that took place in Johannesburg.

The Catholic University Rectors who participated in the meeting “put forward proposals (toward) … the creation of mailing lists and WhatsApp groups as a platform to share information, ideas and projects, and challenged the Pastoral Department of IMBISA to energize the corporation,” Fr. Sapato said during the Monday, March 21 interview.

Credit: ACI Africa


The Mozambican Priest highlighted the Catholic institutions of higher learning in the IMBISA region saying, “We are talking about the Catholic University of Angola, the Catholic Higher Polytechnic Institute of Benguela also in Angola, the Catholic University of Zimbabwe, the Catholic University of Mozambique, and St. Augustine College of South Africa.”

The member of the Clergy of Mozambique’s Lichinga Diocese recalled the beginning of the initiative of bringing together Catholic University Rectors.

He told ACI Africa, “The Permanent Council of IMBISA at its April 2021 session held in Johannesburg approved the idea of walking with the Catholic Higher Education Institutions in the IMBISA region in order for them to assist the Church in the enlightenment of the faith and also to create an opportunity for them to walk together.”

Credit: ACI Africa

In another interview with ACI Africa, the Rector and Vice Chancellor of the Catholic University of Zimbabwe described the March 21 meeting as “very useful”.

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“It was a very useful meeting. We managed to connect with each other. We didn't know each other before. We knew there was a Catholic University in Angola somewhere. Now we can put that name to faces and to people”, said Prof. Ranga Zinyemba.

Prof. Zinyemba added, “The sharing that we did on our experiences, where we have come from, where we are and where we are going, that too has been very useful.”

Credit: ACI Africa

“I'm very keen to continue the liaison, the association with other Rectors. We have exchanged business cards. We are going to create online platforms for continued mixing and intermingling and sharing", the Rector of the Catholic university of Zimbabwe told ACI Africa March 21.

Such meetings, he went on to say, are important as they highlight the role Catholic Universities.


“We also look forward to continuing to create platforms such as this one, so that the role of Catholic universities is clearly understood by all of us”, Prof. Zinyemba said.

Credit: ACI Africa

On her part, the Rector of the Catholic university of Angola, Sr. Maria da Assunção, told ACI Africa that the meeting was an opportunity to reflect on socio-political issues and to look at ways to overcome them.

“This first meeting was an opportunity to reflect together on corruption, our challenges, and to look for ways to overcome them,'' Sr. da Assunção said during the March 21 interview.

Furthermore, the member of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) added, “We are all imbued with a single mission, which is to participate in this mission of Christ through education, announcing and seeking strategies for social transformation.”

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Sheila Pires is a veteran radio and television Mozambican journalist based in South Africa. She studied communications at the University of South Africa. She is passionate about writing on the works of the Church through Catholic journalism.