Revd. Canon Israel Pani Qwelane was born on the 20th of July 1943 in Bolokanang, Petrusburg. He was the first of ten children of the late Violet Mase Qwelane.
He started his schooling at Bantu Community School in Petrusburg and proceeded to Bantu High School (Sehunelo Secondary School) in Bloemfontein. He attended High School at St. Agnes Teyateyaneng (TY), Lesotho where he matriculated in 1962. The Anglican Church’s St. Patrick’s Mission in Bloemfontein, sent him to England for Theological Education until 1967. He was ordained as a Deacon by the late Bishop Frederick Amoore in 17 December 1967. He was ordained as a Priest by the late Bishop Frederick Amoore in 1968. From 1968 to 1969, he served as an Assistant Priest at St Augustine, Thaba Nchu.
He entered into holy matrimony with Ida Saomeng Ngakatau in 1970. They were blessed with three children, being Chwaro (now late), Malesole and Kgololesego.
Between 1970 and 1974, he served as the Rector of St Peter, Zamdela (Sasolburg). From 1975 to 1980, he served as the Rector of St Augustine, Thaba Nchu. During this period, he oversaw the relocation of the old Church and building of new one.
From 1981 to 1989, he served as the Dean of the Cathedral of St Mary and St James in Maseru, Lesotho. During this period, he represented the Diocese of Lesotho at Provincial level and oversaw the building of the Church in Lithoteng.
During the period 1990 to 2001, he served as the Archdeacon of the Vaal Triangle and Senior Priest in the Diocese of Christ the King. He was the Rector of St Michael and All Angels (Zone 13, Sebokeng), St Lawrence (Zone 7, Sebokeng), Church of the Resurrection (Zone 14, Sebokeng), St John (Boipatong) and St Mary Magdalene (Zone 17, Sebokeng). He was instrumental in the development of the Church of the Resurrection. To date, the church has hosted many Diocesan-related and community events. Together with the wider inter-faith church family, he was involved in bringing comfort and healing to those who were traumatised or injured during violent incidents of conflict that broke out in the Vaal Triangle in the early 1990’s.
From 2003 to 2006, he was the Rector of St Augustine, Ratanda (Heidelberg). From 2007 onwards, he acted as Relieving Priest for St Andrew, Rust-Ter-Vaal, St Martin, Sicelo (Meyerton), Holy Spirit Chapel, Three Rivers and the Church of St Mary and St John, Vereeniging.
Together with the late Ntate Vincent Leutsoa, he launched the Brotherhood of St. Andrew in The Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Today, the organisation has a large membership base throughout the Province.
In recognition of his contribution over the years, he received a Mayoral Award from the Mayor of Emfuleni in 2012.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 50 years Ida, daughter Malesole, son Kgololesego, daughter in law Nobuhle, grandchildren Nhlanhla, Tebogo and Katlego together with six siblings.
May his soul rest in peace.