South African Chaplain General visits Army Chief of Chaplains
March 19, 2013
Chaplain (MG) Donald Rutherford, U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains, hosted a visit by the Chaplain General of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Brigadier General (Reverend) Monwabisi Andrew Jamangile, on March 18 in the Pentagon.
The meeting established a professional relationship between the two senior chaplains
and paved the way for future engagements in South Africa. The meeting was also an opportunity to discuss religious support issues within their respective chaplain corps.
The SANDF has the second largest military chaplaincy in the world, one that is well-established, professional and integrated within its force. The Chaplain's Service is a support service within the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Regular Force chaplains representing all the major religious bodies in the country are appointed to all four Arms of Service: Air Force, Army, Navy and Military Health Services. While Chaplains are all members of the Chaplains Service of the SANDF, they wear the uniform of the Arm of Service to which they are appointed. They also fall under command of the Chief of their respective Arms of Service.
The SANDF Chaplaincy collaborates closely with emerging chaplaincies in Africa, but welcomed the opportunity of sharing with one as established as the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps.
Chaplain General Jamangile was interested in learning about the role that U.S. Army commanders take in caring for Soldiers and their Families, and how it extends throughout the deployment cycle. He was also impressed by the Strong Bonds program, and its focus on building skills to sustain strong, healthy marriages.
Chaplain General Jamangile was also interested to learn about the U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard's Yellow Ribbon Program since SANDF Soldiers and their Families are often deployed across large areas and regions, and provide extensive Peace Keeping Operations across Africa.
The Chaplain General commented that his nation's chaplain corps and military were "highly professional in peace support operations," and that the SANDF plays a critical role in promoting democracy and stability in Africa. "We are masters of reconciliation and healing, which was started by our first president and commander in chief, Nelson Mandela. When it comes to peace and reconciliation, you can learn a lot from us."
In addition, the SANDF Chaplaincy has the lead on moral and ethical leadership development within the SANDF and was very interested in learning about the role of the staff chaplain at the Center for Army Profession and Ethic (CAPE) at West Point, NY.
Chaplain General Jamangile remarked that there are common goals within both chaplain corps, noting that though their culture, traditions and operating context may differ, both militaries are part of a larger "military family" and share common challenges. "At the end of the day," he said, "we are both defenders of our countries' sovereignty, constitutions and people."