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DateOriginal Topic
1st December 2003Colenso
By Peter Ewart
Hope we all remembered him yesterday on the 150th anniversary of his consecration (& of the creation of the Diocese of Natal). Good to learn that several events in KZN have marked the occasion this last week.

For those of us (all of us?) who may have qualms about British policy towards Zululand c1878-1910, invoking the name of this man goes some way to salving the conscience!

Not sure if he's quite 100% rehabilitated over here, though ...

3rd December 2003Keith Smith

Have just returned from KZN, where I spoke to a number of missionary-type people, quite by chance. There is a strong movement to have Colenso's excommunication reversed, and the prospects for that event look extremely good.

3rd December 2003Julian Whybra
I recently had to go for work reasons to Amersham and Cheshunt in Bucks to Elangeni School. To my surprise, I found that the school was built on the site of the Colensos house! Nothing remains of the original building except some rather nice kitchen tiled flooring which they'd kept as decoration. The headteacher didn't know anything about Colenso and asked me if I'd ever heard of him.......(six hours later...).
The flooring is outside in front of the main entrance but under a brick canopy to protect it.
3rd December 2003Peter Ewart

That's interesting. He is certainly no longer "persona non grata" in RSA but I have a sneaking suspicion that he hasn't quite made it over here yet - on the theological question, that is. (Although how one countermands his statements relating to the Old Testament in this day and age is difficult to imagine!)

As far as the other two controversies are concerned - his defence of Langalibalele and Cetshwayo &, I suppose, his daughters' defence of Dinizulu - I'm sure his reputation is on very firm ground these days. Not sure how one goes about un-excommunicating a Bishop any more than one can pardon an executed solider from the Great War, but I shall watch that one. The Privy Council was supposed to have solved matters in the 1860s by making the decision null & void.


Glad you delivered the history lesson! Surprised that the head teacher wasn't aware. Had she (I think it's a she?) never thought of asking: I wonder why ... etc." Interestingly, his other (later!) home is being restored and is nearly finished (Bishopstowe & chapel/school of Ekukanyeni) although the house was not the original, that one having gone up in the fire after he died.

The recent cathedral services and exhibitions (similar to those in 1983, on the centenary of his death) in Durban & PMB would, I suppose, amaze Colenso if he knew!

4th December 2003Julian Whybra
No, she was aware only that he was a bishop out in Africa somewhere and that the school was named after the house, and the house, she believed, named after somewhere in Africa that was important to the family. Of his career and fame, she knew not a thing. It's a Middle School in Amersham - I should have typed Chesham by the way not Cheshunt - that's next week.