Throughout time, the human race has gathered around the camp fire, for safety, for warmth, and to share life’s greatest stories. Similarly, Imbisa is that meeting point, where we can congregate, connect and share in an environment of mutual respect. And so, it is in this spirit, that we invite you to draw a little closer to the fire.


What is IMBISA?

Imbisa stands for “The Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa” It was officially constituted in 1978 to connect Bishops’ Conferences and enable better communication between the regions. Today, almost half a century since its inception, Imbisa continues to connect The Southern African Church. We are proud to include voices from the wider Catholic community alongside those of our Bishops, Clergy and Religious.

Why does IMBISA exist?

Imbisa connects The Southern African Church across vast distances. It shares stories of particular relevance to Catholics in our region. It helps communities to stand in solidarity with one another. It inspires unity and provides a shared identity through ongoing communication. This website is one of the faces of Imbisa. It is a platform for Bishops to communicate with laity, and for laity to communicate with Bishops. It is a shared space where important conversations can be had, involving a diverse cross section of voices. This website is not a social network, or a news channel.

Who is IMBISA?

If you are Catholic and live in one of our member regions, YOU are Imbisa. No matter your age, vocation, gender, education or culture, your voice is important here. This website has been created to facilitate positive interaction between all members of our vast community. We invite you to share a Catholic story from your parish or diocese, offer your insight on one of the many pressing issues The Church in Africa is dealing with, or even ask for Catholic advice on a particular topic of personal or group concern.

Where is IMBISA?

Angola – Botswana – Eswatini – Lesotho – Mozambique – Namibia – São Tomé and Príncipe – South Africa – Zimbabwe

A brief history of IMBISA

The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) introduced a new era of collegial ministry into the Catholic Church as a response to the changing circumstances, in which she then found herself.

Africa was also changing rapidly and it was becoming clear that increased communication between all the Bishops of the region was needed in order for them to fulfil their office effectively.

These two factors sparked an informal meeting of the Southern African Bishops during the Universal Bishops’ Synod in Rome in 1974. Following this, a meeting of Bishops’ delegates of Southern African countries was held in Pretoria in 1975. This was the start of a process that would result in the birth of Imbisa.

The Imbisa Constitution was approved at an assembly held in Lesotho in 1978 and finally, in 1980 The Imbisa Secretariat was established in Manzini, Swaziland.

For over forty years, the organisation has remained true to its founding objectives, to enable Bishops to discuss matters of common interest and to update each other with regards to developments in their respective countries.

2020 marks a new chapter in the Imbisa story with the launch of this new website. It is designed especially to engage laity on a deeper level as we continue to strive for the ideals established in The Second Vatican Council.

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