History of the Cathedral
The current Assistant Bishop Naledi arrived in Botswana from South Africa as Rector for the parish of Gaborone in 1971. At that time there was no diocese of Botswana, there was no cathedral. So the Anglicans and Congregationalists worshipped at the Trinity Church together with the Presbyterians and the Methodists. The Population of Gaborone was much smaller than now, so the church leaders at the time thought that they did not need a large church to meet because the Roman Catholic Church and Trinity Church were already there, and could cater for everyone. In 1972 the diocese of Botswana was inaugurated, before then the congregation was part of the diocese of Matebeleland in Zimbabwe, and The Bishop was living in Bulawayo.
The first Bishop of Botswana, Charles Thomas Mallory (an American), was elected in June 1972 and consecrated on 31st December later than same year. The Diocese of Botswana thus had come into existence. Many high-ranking Anglicans at the time felt that you could not have a new diocese without a cathedral. The First Bishop began talks with Anglican congregations in Molepolole, Francistown, Lobatse and other to ask them what they thought the priority of the diocese should be. Indeed many felt that the building of a cathedral was the first priority at that time. There were also only six priests at the time and no religious communities.
Building a cathedral is an expensive project; many people were approached to contribute toward the building of the Cathedral. Both Anglicans and non-Anglicans , companies and individuals were approached. The response was good. Companies such as DeBeers gave quite a substantial amount as well as several Anglican members, who made pledges over a period of time.
Some key individuals that were responsible for early fundraising efforts other than the Bishop himself were: Campaign Chairman, Dr J. S. Moeti; Advance Gifts Panel Convener, Dr F. C. Winter; Special Gifts Chairman and Appeal Treasurer,Mr J. C. Kannemeyer; Regional Chairman, Mr P. Molefhe, Civic Appeal Chairman, Mr M. J. Moipolai; Civic Appeal Team Leaders: Mr P. L. Mahupula, Mrs J. S. Moeti, Mrs S. R. Tlhapane and Councillor M. Oliphant; Appeal Planning Committee Chairman, The Very Reverend Michael Molale (became the First Dean of the Holy Cross Cathedral) and Appeal Treasurer, Mrs F. C. Winter.
The building of the Cathedral began in December 1977 and was completed in 1978. The Cathedral of the Holy Cross was dedicated on November 26, 1978 by Bishop Charles Shannon Mallory.
The dedication service was conducted by the Diocesan Bishop, The Rt. Rev C.S. Mallory. To open the service the Bishop stood at the doors of the Cathedral and said the words "Let the doors be opened". The doors were opened with his Pastoral Staff. The Bishop marked the threshold with the sign of the cross. Then, to a triumphant fanfare, the Bishop and his Procession entered the Cathedral.
The Bishop addressed the congregation and then presented three candidates to the congregation for Ordination to the Holy Order of Deacon. These were Dennys Bepe, Aaron Setshegetso Mhiko and Isiah Lenge Sikunyane.
Then followed the Ordination to the Holy Order of Priests of Philemon Lentekile Mahupela, Pego Toto and William Noel Viljoen. They were called on to serve the Glory of God and the good of the Church.
The service, which was conducted in both English and Setswana, ended with the Recessional Hymn "Blessed City, Heavenly Salem, Motse wa Jerusalema"
By 1978 the Church site did not hold a title deed to the plot it was only a 50-year lease; therefore it could not be consecrated because, it could only be consecrated with a title deed showing that the property is owned by the church. It took a lot of talks and negotiations between the Church and the Government of Botswana to acquire the title deed for the Church. Bishop Mallory was succeeded by Bishop Makudu (who later was also elected Archbishop of the Province of Central Africa – comprising of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi). Unfortunately he could not succeed in acquiring the title deed before he left office in 2000.
In 2001 Theophilus Tswere Naledi became the Third Bishop of Botswana and continued to work on getting the title deed. In 2004, with the help of Senior members of the church including the current Bishop, Trevor Mwamba, the then vice-president Ian Khama granted the church the title deed in perpetuity. Subsequently the Cathedral of the Holy Cross was consecrated by Theophilus Naledi on the 12th September 2004 just prior to his retirement. In 2005 the Rt. Reverend Dr Musonda Trevor Selwyn Mwamba became the Fourth Bishop of Botswana which he continues to be to this day.
Video Interview with Bishop Naledi on Jan 10, 2012
Daily News article from Wednesday, November 29, 1978