St. Benedict

Brief History:

The Prefecture of Zululand was erected on the 27 August 1921 and entrusted to the Benedictine Congregation of St Ottilien.  Before that time it had formed part of Natal Vicariate. On 11 December 1923 it was raised to the status of a Vicariate under the title of “Vicariate Apostolic of Eshowe”.  With the establishment of the Hierarchy in South Africa it became the Diocese of Eshowe on the 11 January 1951.


It is bound on the East by the Indian Ocean, on the South by the Tugela River, on the West by the Tugela, Buffalo, Blood and Didusini Rivers, and in the North by the Pongola and Umfolozi Rivers.


• Area:  26 364 sq.km

• Total Pop: 2 500 000

• Cath. Pop: 81 500


Former Bishops and Administrators

• Very Rev. Jabulani Vusumuzi Alfred Ndaba, Diocesan Administrator July 2005 to April 2008.

• Rt Rev Bishop Mansuet Dela Biyase, appointed Bishop on 28th February 1975. He was ordained Bishop on 28 June 1975. He died on 1 July 2005.

• Rt Rev Bishop Thomas Spreiter, OSB, Titular Bishop of Thaenae. Consecrated 1 May 1906 as second Vicar Apostolic of Dar-es-Salaam; Prefect Apostolic of Zululand 27 August 1921; first Vicar Apostolic of Eshowe 11 December 1923; resigned 14 May 1943, died 27 January 1944 at Inkamana.

• Very Rev Theodos Schall OSB, Administrator Apostolic from 14 May 1943 to 3 August 1947. He died on 16 November 1955 at Nongoma.

• Rt Rev Bishop Aurelian Bilgeri OSB, appointed 12 June 1947. Consecrated Titular Bishop of Germanicopolos and second Vicar Apostolic of Eshowe 14 September 1947. First Bishop of Eshowe 11 January 1951.  He died 24 July 1973 at Mtunzini.

• Very Rev Fr Elmar (Rupert) Kimmel, OSB, Administrator Apostolic from July 1973 until February 1975. He died on 08 July 1980 at Nkandla.