Newly Appointed Bishop in South Africa to Foster “Synodal process” in His Episcopacy

Mons. Thulani Victor Mbuyisa, appointed Bishop of South Africa's Catholic Diocese of Kokstad on 6 April 2022. Credit: Mons. Thulani Victor Mbuyisa

The newly appointed Bishop of South Africa’s Kokstad Diocese has, in an interview with ACI Africa, said he will seek to foster the “Synodal process” when he takes canonical possession of his Episcopal See. 

In the Thursday, April 7 interview, Mons. Thulani Victor Mbuyisa who was appointed April 6 said he will seek to specifically foster “encounter” with the people of God under his pastoral care, including members of the Clergy, women and men Religious, and the Laity.

“Certainly, getting to know the Clergy, the Religious and the Laity is one of the most important aspects of my ministry,” Mons. Mbuyisa said, adding that he plans to visit the stakeholders in his Episcopal See, “to sit down with them, and hear from them what it is that they expect from their shepherd.

Credit: Mons. Thulani Victor Mbuyisa

The member of the Congregation of Mariannhill Missionaries (CMM) who was the Superior General of the Religious Institute further said in reference to the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality, “The Synodal process is all about encounter. And so, this is also what I would like to see myself as, as a person who is willing to encounter others to sit down with them to listen to them, to journey with them.”


The 49-year-old South African Bishop-elect who is expected to succeed Archbishop Zolile Peter Mpambani who was transferred to Bloemfontein Archdiocese in April 2020 told ACI Africa, “With all the challenges that we have, the political and socio-economic issues, I will be keen to hear how these impact on the people of God.”

Credit: Mons. Thulani Victor Mbuyisa

Amid the “socio-economic issues”, Mons. Mbuyisa said he will explore how he “can be of assistance, that is, I as a Shepherd together with the Priests, religious and deacons.”

Mons. Mbuyisa joined CMM in 1992 and has been serving as CMM Superior General since October 2016.

In the April 7 interview with ACI Africa, the Bishop-elect also spoke about his reaction to the news of the latest administrative changes in Kokstad Diocese.

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Credit: Mons. Thulani Victor Mbuyisa

“I felt anxious and greatly surprised, and honored”, the CMM member said, and added, “At the same time, I see it as an honor to our own Congregation, as a sign of trust, and as an opportunity to serve the Church in Southern Africa and worldwide.”

As a Priest, Mons. Mbuyisa has served in various capacities. He was Parish Vicar of St. Michael's Mission, and also Chaplain of Mangosuthu University of Technology and St. Francis College in Mariannhill.

The holder of a Licentiate in Canon Law from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada, also served as Superior and formator at the Nivard House Formation House in Nairobi (2007-2010); Provincial Superior of CMM in East Africa, based in Nairobi (2010); Councilor and Secretary General (2010-2012), and Vicar General and Procurator of his Congregation (2012-2016), among other responsibilities. 

Credit: Mons. Thulani Victor Mbuyisa


In the April 7 interview with ACI Africa, Mons. Mbuyisa said that his experience over the years has given him the confidence he needs for his Episcopal Ministry.

“All of the other appointments, the other offices or ministries have given me all the experience that I would need for this ministry, and so I'm going into this new ministry with that confidence,” he said. 

The South African Bishop-elect said although his hometown is just a few kilometers away from what is going to be the headquarters of his Episcopal See, he does “not know much” about the Diocese.

Credit: Mons. Thulani Victor Mbuyisa

“I do not know much about Kokstad; I know that it is just down the road from my home, so there will be that familiarity as well”, he said, and added, “There’s a lot to learn; a lot of catching up to do.”

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Once consecrated Bishop, the native of Exobho in South Africa’s Province of KwaZulu-Natal that is covered by Durban Archdiocese will be at the helm of the 17,635 square kilometer South African Diocese that has an estimated population of 89,220 Catholics, according to 2019 statistics.

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.