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Prefecture Apostolic of Upper Cimbebasia

Cimbebasia was the name given for a long time to the western part of Southern Africa. Originally it was included in the immense vicariate made up of Senegambia and French and Portuguese Guinea which had been erected in 1842 and of which Bishop Barron was appointed first vicar Apostolic. The Congregation of Propaganda separated Cimbebasia (3 July, 1879) from this vicariate and made of it a prefecture Apostolic. The Congregation of the Holy Ghost was placed in charge of the new field, and Father Duparquet of the same congregation was appointed first prefect Apostolic. The new mission was, however, still very large, being made up of three distinct regions: the northern part, which included the territory of the Amboella and Gangela and was under the influence of Portugal; the southern part, composed of Ovamboland and Damaraland, now under the control of Germany; and Bechuanaland. After having tried to found stations in all these different territories, the missionaries decided to concentrate their efforts on the northern part of the prefecture. The superior general of the congregation, therefore, requested the Holy See to confide to other institutes the remaining sections of the vicariate. Consequently, Propaganda placed the northern part of the vicariate, under the name of the Prefecture of Upper Cimbebasia, in charge of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost (1 August, 1892), while the German territory was called the Prefecture of Lower Cimbebasia, and given to the Oblate Fathers of Mary. Bechuanaland was then united to the vicariate of the Orange Free State. The Prefecture of Upper Cimbebasia is bounded on the north by the Kassai River, on the east by the 22d degree of longitude east of Greenwich, on the west by the upper course of the Kunene, and on the south by the degree of latitude determined by the lower course of the Kunene. This degree of latitude also forms the boundary line between the Portuguese and German possessions in Southern Africa. Under the direction of the prefect Apostolic, 20 priests and 8 Brothers of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost labour for the evangelization of this territory. They are aided by 40 catechists and 5 Sisters of the Congregation of St. Joseph of Cluny. There are 7 stations: Kakonda, Bailundo, Bihe, Katoko, Kassengue, Massaka, and Kuniama; 28 flourishing schools contain 1600 boys and 1100 girls, of whom 374 boys and 123 girls have their home at the schools. The Catholic population numbers about 10,200, of whom 9000 are natives. During 1903 and 1904 there were 806 children and 491 adults baptized.

Prefecture Apostolic of Lower Cimbebasia

Bounded on the north by the degree of latitude determined by the lower course of the Kunene River; on the east by the 22d degree of longitude east of Greenwich; on the south by the 23d degree of south latitude, in such manner that the town of Rehoboth is included in the Vicariate Apostolic of the former Orange Free State, now the Orange River Colony; on the west by the Atlantic. The region is under the control of Germany. The prefecture was erected by a decree of Propaganda of 1 August, 1892, which divided the earlier prefecture of Cimbebasia. The Oblate Fathers of the Immaculate Mary have charge of the mission under the prefect Apostolic, who resides at Windhoek, the principal station. The other mission stations are: Little Windhoek, Nobra, Swakopmund, Usakos, Aminuis, Tpukiro, Omaruru, Okumbabe. The Catholics number about 1000, some 800 being Europeans. The labourers in the evangelization of this field are: 20 priests, 17 brothers, and 11 Missionary Sisters of St. Francis. There are 11 schools with 500 pupils, and 2 orphanages with 108 orphans.

About this page

APA citation. Leroy, A. (1908). Cimbebasia. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Leroy, Alexandre. "Cimbebasia." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Gerald M. Knight.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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