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Nederduitse Hervormde Kerk
Dullstroom, Mpumalanga

Willem Pieter DIEPRAAM: Architect
G GUDE: Contractor

Date:1905
Type:Nederduitse Hervormde Kerk - Church
Status:Extant

 


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Coordinates:
25°24'57.31" S 30°06'22.89" E Alt: 2013m

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This church replaced one that was built in 1893 and destroyed by the British during the South African War. (See 1893 Church).

After the war from 1903 to 1908, the Boer people fell into a great depression. But the hardships did not prevent them from rebuilding the church. In 1905 it was eventually rebuilt and inaugurated.

Originally the church was designed to carry a steeple above the main entrance of the church. According to the town clerk, Mr. Kitzoff it was demolished by a shell fired from a Long Tom, a French Creusot artillery piece. It had been used for the shelling of British forces entrenched near the railway station. The Boer forces had deployed the Long Tom on Suikerbos Kop just behind the church. According to several sources the steeple was never to be replaced again, due to the depression and poverty that followed the war. It was then placed in a bell-chair next to the church, but in 1991 it was altered, because of the degradation of the wooden chair.

What the writer cannot explained is the photo entitled: "Inwyding: Hervormde Kerk Boere-Oorlog (Dullstroom)" with the steeple intact. Since the only inaurgurations according to several documents were in 1893, a long time before the Anglo Boer-War and then again in 1905, which it is most likely when this photo was taken, but it was supposedly never erected again.

Interior of the church

W.P. Diepraam also had carpenting skills and after the war he was responsible for building the wooden pulpit of the church. It was made of pine or as they wrote, 'kasplanke' [deal]. He decorated it with intricate woodcuts. This original pulpit is still in use today.

With the help of his wife Tant Kitty, they finished the pulpit with covers made of felt. She regularly restored it without the others knowledge and it was decorated with cord, fringes and tassels. The hanging pulpit cloth, was once hand-embroidered and was also made by Tant Kitty with the help of Corrie Grobler.

The seating in the church were bought by the members of the church, their names were painted on them. It is not sure but they could also have been made by W.P. Diepraam.

Conclusion

With its amazing history, you can not help but feel intrigued when you walk through the lane of enormous trees towards the church. If they could only speak, what wondrous stories we might have known.

This quaint little stone church, has experienced much more than any one can imagine when admiring it for the first time. If not for the will and the strong religious principles of the people involved with it during its lifetime, we might have only heard stories about this treasure.

The writer feels honoured to say that her great grandfather was so involved with its existence. The fact that he was an architect is another special piece of information, as her father is one as well, and the writer is studying to be one.

With Dullstroom developing into such a tourist attraction, the writer hopes that the history of the church will be known, as it is too rich to be forgotten.

Sources

The archive of the Dutch Reformed Church in Pretoria, who provided me with a file on the church, that contained documents and photographs of the church during throughout the course of its history.

Mrs. Johanna Janson whose family also played an important part in the history of Dullstroom, who accompanied me to the church.

Gerda Whitehorn from Dullstroom Accomodation, who provided me with information.

(Lorinda BEZUIDENHOUT, 2005
BSc. Interior Architecture
OMG 320)


Writings about this entry

Hoevers, Jan. 2005. Van Kerke en Dorpe. Historiese vertellinge oor die oudste kerke en dorpe in Suid-Afrika. Centurion: Publiself Uitgewers. pg 29
Menache, Philippe & David, Darryl Earl. 2010. 101 Country Churches of South Africa. South Africa: Booktown Richmond Press. pg 54
Menache, Philippe & David, Darryl Earl. 2015. Church tourism in South Africa : a travel odyssey. South Africa: Self-published by Philippe Menache and Darryl Earl David. pg 90