Remembering African Bishop – Bishop Paride Taban

19th November, 2023


The Catholic faithful from South Sudan and Sudan who are now living in Adelaide gathered recently to honour the life of Bishop Paride Taban, who died in Nairobi, Kenya on November 1.

Bishop Taban served as the first Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Torit from 1983 until 2004 and was remembered for his peace efforts in South Sudan.

Clement Kuek, who helped organised the Adelaide memorial on November 19, said many members of the local South Sudanese community had a strong connection with their country’s pioneer Bishop and were deeply saddened by his passing. Some of the Bishop’s family members also live in Adelaide.

Mr Kuek said the gathering in the Cathedral Hall following the weekly African Mass provided an opportunity to reflect on Bishop Taban’s remarkable legacy that would continue to inspire generations to come.

Ordained a priest on May 24, 1964, in Kator, Juba, Bishop Taban’s priestly motto was ‘Help your brothers and sisters in their difficulties’.

During the long conflicts that engulfed the Sudan, Bishop Taban was detained by all sides. In 1989, when the rebel Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army overtook Torit, he was arrested with three other Catholic priests. Until 1990 he was one of only two Bishops active in areas held by the SPLA.

He led an effort to make peace in South Sudan real by setting up the Kuron Peace Village, established in 2005. To show this profound commitment to peace-making, Bishop Taban was repeatedly quoted as saying; ‘if you are right, then you need not get angry, and if you are wrong, then you do not have any right to get angry’.

Bishop Taban died at the age of 87 following a long illness. His funeral Mass and burial took place on November 10 in Torit, South Sudan.

(by Lindy and Clement)