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Lutheran Church
Hermannsburg, KwaZulu-Natal

Date:1870
Type:Lutheran Church
Status:Extant

 


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Coordinates:
29°02'33.19" S 30°47'33.89" E Alt: 1167m

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Transcription of English section of National Monuments Council plaque:

THE FOUNDATION STONE OF THIS NEO-GOTHIC CHURCH WAS LAID
ON 1 APRIL 1868. THE BUILDING WAS CONSECRATED ON 23 FEBRUARY
1870. ON MAY 1872, AFTER A PERIOD OF CONTINUOUS RAIN THE
TOWER COLLAPSED, BUT WAS REBUILT IN A MODIFIED FASHION
DURING SEPTEMBER 1872. THE BUILDING IS CLOSELY ASSOCIATED
WITH THE FOUNDING OF THE HERMANNSBURG MISSION SOCIETY IN
SOUTH AFRICA AND THE HISTORY OF THE GERMAN SETTLERS IN NATAL
National Monuments Council

_________________________

This is where it all started in 1854 - the missionaries from Hermannsburg in Germany bought the farm  Perseverance and built their first home - which can still be viewed as part of Hermannsburg's Mission nearby, - their first church (here)an, their first school, next door. It is interesting to note that the first recorded rugby game in Natal was between Hermannsburg and Maritzburg College in the 19th Century.

The missionaries erected a beautiful sandstone building "up the hill" - with big steeple and all. Unfortunately, massive rains were not too kind to this building project, which caused the original steeple to collapse. Since then the church-building has a smaller steeple and a separate outdoor belfry. Both contribute to the special "flavour" of Hermannsburg. The steeple has its own rooster, which has been a rather lively bird over the years, having "flown" from its perch on numerous occasions - the last being just a few years ago after a storm, the outcome always being the same: The bird in thousand pieces - the pieces gathered and puzzled  together to re-create a new one! Previous generations knew about the image of the rooster - much has changed since: When the new rooster was positioned on the belfry recently - this time using a crane and not the acrobatics of some courageous men - a pupil "down at the school" looked out of the window and cried: "Look, they are putting the chicken back!"

For a more complete story of the Hermannsburger missionaries and their exploits in Africa (firstly aiming for Ethiopia - but settling here in Natal) - and and idea of why there are so many German sounding names on the nearby farms - read this interesting article on the history.

(Submitted by Greg Jones, October 2016)


Writings about this entry

Menache, Philippe & David, Darryl Earl. 2012. A Platteland Pilgrimage : 102 country churches of South Africa . South Africa: Booktown Richmond Press. pg 46
Richardson, Deidré. 2001. Historic Sites of South Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. pg 229