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Voortrekker School
Mashishing (Lydenburg), Mpumalanga

Client:Andries Potgieter Voortrekker Company
Street:Church Street near cor of Kantoor Street


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25°05'28.02" S 30°27'07.11" E

This simple thatched cottage at the corner of Church and Kantoor Streets in Lydenburg is probably the oldest pioneer school building north of the Vaal river.

In 1845 the Voortrekker leader Andries Potgieter and his party moved from the vicinity of Potchefstroom to the north-eastern Transvaal (Mpumalanga) where they established "Andries Ohrigstad". As a result of the prevalence of malaria and the unfavourable farming conditions they suffered severe losses, both of life and of possessions. Consequently some of the Voortrekkers moved to the south and founded a new town which they called Lydenburg in commemoration of their sufferings at Ohrigstad. Here they started without delay to build a landdrost's office, a church and a school. This thatched cottage was the school, completed in 1851 and built in the style that was typical of many farmhouses erected during the pioneer period in the Transvaal. The first teacher in this school was Willem Poen.

This building was not used exclusively as a school. Before the first church was completed, services were held in it and it served to accommodate the Rev. Andrew Murray of Bloemfontein and J. H. Neethling when they visited the Transvaal congregations on instructions of the Cape Synod in 1852. Indeed, it must have been the centre of the social and cultural life of Lydenburg and the surrounding area, for when President T. F. Burgers visited the town in 1874 he was welcomed in this building.

[J.J. Oberholster, 1972. The Historical Monuments of South Africa. Cape Town: The Rembrandt van Rijn Foundation for Culture. pp, 333.]

The building is currently used as a Sunday School.

Declared a National Monument in 1962 and is now a Provincial Heritage Site.