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First female Anglican bishop elected in Africa

August 7, 2012

GENEVA

The Anglican Church of South Africa made history on July 18 by electing the first female Anglican bishop on the continent.

The Rev. Ellinah Ntombi Wamukoya, 61, became the bishop-elect of Swaziland and the first woman bishop in any of the 12 Anglican provinces in Africa.

Her election comes as the Anglican Church of Southern Africa ― which also includes Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Lesotho ― commemorates 20 years since the ordination of women to the priesthood as presbyters and bishops. The 1992 synod was, coincidentally, held in Swaziland.

Wamukoya was not initially a candidate, but after seven rounds of elections yielding no results, fresh nominations were invited from the Elective Assembly. She subsequently received the required two-thirds majority in both houses of laity and clergy.

Founded in 1968, the Diocese of Swaziland comprises three archdeaconries: Eastern Swaziland, Southern Swaziland and Western Swaziland. Her predecessor is the Rt. Rev. Meshack Mabuza, who became bishop of Swaziland in 2002.

Wamukoya is currently chaplain at the University of Swaziland and St. Michael’s High School in Manzini, Swaziland. She also serves as chief executive officer of the City Council in Manzini.

The election has to be confirmed by the members of the Synod of Bishops. When that happens, Wambukoya will become the 24th non-retired female bishop of the Anglican Communion.

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