James Mata Dwane

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People category:

Biographical information

Synopsis:

Church Leader

First name: 
James Mata
Last name: 
Dwane
Date of birth: 
1848
Location of birth: 
Grahams town,Eastern Cape,South Africa
Date of death: 
1916
Location of death: 
Grahams town,Eastern Cape,South Africa

Dwane was born in the Eastern Cape in 1848 and was raised as a Wesleyan. Ordained as a minister in 1881, he proved to be a man of great ability and strong personality. In 1894-1895 he was sent to Britain on a fund-raising tour, but on his return he quarreled with his church over how the money was to be used.In 1885 Dwane and his family moved to Middledrift,where Chief Kama of the Gqunukhwebe subgroup of the Xhosa had been given some land as a reward for service to the colonial authorities .In 1896 he left the Wesleyan Methodist Church, joined Mangena Mokone's Ethiopian Church, and soon began to overshadow Mokone himself. Later in 1896 he traveled to America to establish a link between the Ethiopians and the Black African Methodist Episcopal Church. The AME accepted affiliation from the Ethiopians and appointed Dwane their general superintendent in South Africa. This appointment led to friction on Dwane's return, since he had accepted the post without consultation with other Ethiopian leaders. He resigned from the Methodists and worked briefly as an Imvo Zabantsundu editor before joining the independent Ethiopian Church founded by Mangena Mokone.

Under Dwane's leadership the Ethiopian Church prospered, received government recognition in the Transvaal, and applied to Cecil Rhodes for permission to expand into Central Africa. When Bishop Turner of the AMEC visited South Africa in 1898, he consecrated Dwane as Vicar-Bishop, but the paternalistic relationship of the American church with its South African affiliate became a sore point over time, and in late 1898, after Dwane had paid a second visit to the United States, he led part of the Ethiopian Church to split from the AME. In 1900, apparently enticed by the prospect of being appointed a full bishop according to the conventions of the apostolic succession, Dwane affiliated his followers, now known as the Order of Ethiopia, to the Anglican Church of the Province. White churchmen welcomed this as a triumph in the face of the separatist threat; Dwane, however, was never made an Anglican bishop, and the majority of Ethiopians did not follow him back into the white church. The Order of Ethiopia became a predominantly Xhosa group, whereas the Ethiopian Church remained intertribal. In 1905 Dwane serve on the committee of the Inter-State Native College Scheme which led to the creation of the University of Fort Hare.Dwane died in Grahamstown in 1916. 


References:
• Gerhart G.M and Karis T. (ed)(1977)Gail M. Gerhart, Teresa Barnes, Antony Bugg-Levine, Thomas Karis, Nimrod Mkele .From Protest to Challenge 4-Political Profiles (1882-1990) http://www.jacana.co.za/component/virtuemart/?keyword=from+protest+to+ch... (last accessed 08 November 2018)

Last updated : 08-Nov-2018

This article was produced by South African History Online on 17-Feb-2011

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