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Death, cremation and columbaria in the culture of Dutch Christian Calvinist South Africa

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Author:FISHER, RC & CLARKE, NJ
In:South African Journal of Art History Vol 25 Issue 2
Date:2010
Pages:pp 69-80
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From the earliest days of South African colonisation - through the offices of the VOC - there was the hegemony of Calvinist belief as it manifests in Dutch Reformed Protestantism in which death was preordained, inevitable and not treated lightly.

At that time the Christian practice was to bury the dead, cremations being seen as doing the Devil’s own work.

The practice of cremation came late to the shores of South Africa particularly for Christian burial. One of the first to design for the practice was Gerhard Moerdijk, as presented in his final design at the Architectural Association in London in 1913.

This article presents a concise history of the traditions and practices of South African Dutch Reformed Protestant Calvinists in dealing with mortal remains along with some anomalies and the changes over time.

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