Obituary: The Reverend Lymon Shumi Dlangalala

2013-04-17 00:00

THE Reverend Lymon Shumi Dlangalala, former Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (Natal West District) has died. He was 71.

Dlangalala was born on June 30, 1941, at Ekuthokozeni District in Newcastle. He attended primary school at Ekuthokozeni Normandin Primary School and Esididini (Dannhauser). His secondary school education took place at St Lewis Bertrand’s High School in Newcastle and he completed his matric at Polela High School in Bulwer. After training to be a teacher at St Chad’s Ezakheni Teacher Training College, Dlangalala taught for three years before offering himself as a candidate for the Methodist ministry in 1966. He was initially stationed at the Edendale Circuit where Reverend J.H. Msimang was his superintendent. After two years of probation, Dlangalala was sent to the Federal Theological Seminary at Alice for formation and academic training. While he was at Alice, Dlangalala left an indelible mark as a choir conductor and a dramatic actor, as well as a soccer player.

Dlangalala was next stationed at Ixopo African Circuit (Umzinto) in the Natal District. While serving there as a probationer minister, the Natal District was split into two districts, namely the Natal Coastal and Natal West Districts. Dlangalala was ordained at the 1972 Conference of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa held in Port Elizabeth.

While he was at Umzinto, he married Lindiwe Luthuli in 1973.

From 1975 to 1980, Dlangalala was stationed at Dundee Circuit where the conference appointed him as superintendent. This was his home circuit.

In 1981, Dlangalala accepted an invitation to Ermelo Circuit in the then southeastern Transvaal and Swaziland District. He served in this circuit until 1984. Thereafter, he was again invited and stationed at Ixopo Circuit where he served until 1990. While he was at Ixopo, he went to the United Kingdom to further his studies in Christian education.

In 1991, Dlangalala was stationed at the Pietermaritzburg and Howick Circuit. It was during his ministry there that he was elected as the vice chairperson of the Natal West District and eventually bishop of the same district.

“Lymon was a champion of forming relationships and maintaining them at any cost to himself,” says his friend and colleague Reverend Alfred Dlamini. “He was like Joseph of the Old Testament. He may not have acquired great wealth and prestige for his family, but he left behind a legacy of love.”

Dlangalala was well-known for his promotion of the use of music within the church and he initiated a music competition within the District of Natal West. His sermons were broadcast on radio for over two decades.

Dlangalala retired from active ministry in 2004 due to ill-health. After his retirement, he resided in the Pietermaritzburg and Howick Circuit and continued to offer assistance to the local church.

Dlangalala, who died on April 11, is survived by his wife, Lindiwe Dlangalala (uMaLuthuli) and his five children, Lethiwe, Ndumiso, Nombuso, Linda and Sibongile.

His funeral will be held at the Edendale Lay Ecumenical Centre at 9 am tomorrow.

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