Browsing Doctoral Degrees (History) by Author "De Wit, Christoffel Hendrik"
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- ItemDie Berlynse Sendinggenootskap in die Wes-Kaap, 1838-1961, met spesiale verwysing na die sosio-ekonomiese en politieke omstandighede van sy lidmate(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2006-03) De Wit, Christoffel Hendrik; Heese, H. F.; Venter, C.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences . Dept. of History .ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis deals with the history of the Berlin Missionary Society (BMS) that commenced their work in 1834 in South Africa. Due to financial reasons the ZuidAfrikaansche Zendinggenootskap (SASG), which coordinated missionary work in South Africa, requested the BMS to take over their activities at the missionary station Zoar in the Little Karoo. Their missionary work ofthe BMS rapidly extended to the neighbouring Amalienstein, then Ladismith, Anhalt-Schmidt (Haarlem), Riversdale, Herbertsdale, Mossel Bay, Laingsburg and Cape Town. Culturally and ethnologically, the field of work of the missionaries of the BMS in the northern provinces differed radically from that of their colleagues in the Western Cape. By 1838 the coloured communities of the Western Cape were already well acquainted with Western culture as well as with the Christian religion. This did not prevent the missionaries from applying a strict pietistic and patriarchal approach towards the coloured people they worked amongst. As the owners of the land on which these missionary stations were established, the missionaries laid down strict rules and regulations and were able to control the spiritual and material behaviour of the members of their congregations. Their approach had two important effects: The mlSSionanes, m emphasising the important role of education, opened doors to better living conditions for the various communities on a short term basis that eventually created socio-economic empowerment. On the other hand, it led to opposition from within these communities, which in later years would have a profound influence on the political mobilisation of the coloured population of the Western Cape. Financial problems and poverty became an integral part of the history of the BMS in the Western Cape- and for that matter, in South Africa. This was especially apparent during the first half of the twentieth century, when two world wars had a devastating effect on their work. The effects during this time on the BMS and the communities they served were two-fold: Due to financial constraints, the BMS increasingly handed over spiritual and educational work to local pastors and teachers. Secondly, the missionaries came to associate themselves with the rise of Afrikaner nationalism. Their low profile in opposing the developing policy of apartheid - and even tacit approval of it - not only led to a break with the committee in Berlin, but also to the estrangement of many of their church members. In 1961, the year in which a republican form of government was established in South Africa and the Berlin Wall was erected, the German Lutheran missionary societies amalgamated to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Africa (ELCSA) and the traditional missionary work of the BMS came to an end. Compared with the missionary activities of the much larger Dutch Reformed Church in the Western Cape, the role of the BMS may seem less relevant. When the impact of the work of the missionaries and their dedicated coloured church members are considered, their contribution to education and human development, is far bigger than their numbers represent. This allows them a place in the history and development of the Western Cape with its cultural diversity.