South African missions, Methodism, identity and agency in the Cape, with reference to the Klipfontein Mission Station, ca.1800s-2010s

Nel, Annemieke B. (2020-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The development of an individual’s personal and community identity forms an intrinsic part of how that individual views the world around them and directs their choices and actions within that context. The nature of one’s interaction with their external environment and community affiliation, tied in with their personal values and beliefs, encompass all that defines a person and their community. In modern times, personal identity can be found to be more fluid – especially due to the increased amount of exposure that any single person experiences to the world and its global cultures and traditions. Historically, some communities were more isolated to an extent that a student of history can more clearly trace the various elements that influence identity development. In this thesis, a community on a mission station is chosen as the case study for exploring identity formation and the presence of agency over an extensive period, along with the presence of substantial external influences. Officially, Klipfontein was an out-station established by the Methodist (then called Wesleyan) Church. By its nature, mission stations in South Africa were homes to indigenous occupants of South Africa, but governed by Western religious values and traditions. This meeting of two different “worlds” and cultures, provided an interesting milieu in which community identity developed and evolved. The history of the Methodist Church and its roots, as well as its policy surrounding the evangelisation of so-called native people in South Africa (specifically the Cape) is of importance in order to understand the context in which the inhabitants of some mission stations developed their identity over their lifetime. Additionally, the racial climate and a consideration of how and why the nomadic Khoisan came to settle in the Cape and on mission stations, specifically, may contribute to a better understanding of Western-Cape based Coloured identity in the present day. A brief history of Klipfontein and its inhabitants is recorded, drawing on the limited resources available, as well as on stories told by the elders who reside on the remaining land. Lastly, the theory of identity formation is discussed, along with parallels between the elements of an individual’s cultural identity and the Klipfontein community. Over the last almost two centuries, generations of ‘Klipfonteiners’ have exhibited acts of agency in an attempt to secure their future on the land and preserve their historical and cultural roots that have evolved over a considerable period. The community’s connection to the land they live on and the symbolic importance of their ‘place’ in the world, has surpassed the conventions of the church and the physical borders on a map and remains just as prominent as when their forebears first discovered the stone from which a fountain flowed and decided to call this place home.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die ontwikkeling van 'n individu se persoonlike- en gemeenskapsidentiteit vorm 'n intrinsieke deel van hoe daardie individu die wêreld om hulle sien en hulle keuses en aksies binne daardie konteks rig. Die aard van 'n mens se interaksie met hul eksterne omgewing en gemeenskapsverhouding, gekoppel aan hul persoonlike waardes en oortuigings, sluit alles in wat 'n persoon en hul gemeenskap definieer. In die moderne tyd kan persoonlike identiteit gevind meer vloeibaar gevind word - veral as gevolg van die toenemende hoeveelheid blootstelling wat enige enkele persoon ervaar in die wêreld en sy wêreldkulture en -tradisies. Histories was sommige gemeenskappe meer geïsoleer, dat 'n student van die geskiedenis die verskillende elemente wat identiteitsontwikkeling beïnvloed, duideliker kan opspoor. In hierdie tesis word 'n gemeenskap op 'n sendingstasie gekies as die gevallestudie om identiteitsvorming en die teenwoordigheid van agentskap oor 'n uitgebreide tydperk te ondersoek, tesame met die teenwoordigheid van aansienlike eksterne invloede. Amptelik was Klipfontein 'n sendingstasie gestig deur die Metodiste (toe Wesleyaans genoem) Kerk. In sy aard was sendingstasies in Suid-Afrika huise vir naturelle-inwoners van Suid-Afrika, maar beheer deur Westerse godsdienstige waardes en tradisies. Hierdie ontmoeting van twee verskillende "wêrelde" en kulture het 'n interessante milieu voorsien waarin gemeenskapsidentiteit ontwikkel het. Die geskiedenis van die Metodiste Kerk, sowel as die kerk se beleid rondom die evangelisering van inheemse mense in Suid-Afrika (spesifiek die Kaap) is van belang om die konteks waarin die inwoners van sendingstasies hul identiteit oor hul lewensduur ontwikkel het, te verstaan. Daarbenewens sal die rasseklimaat en 'n blik op hoe en waarom die nomadiese Khoisan in die Kaap en op sendingstasies kom vestig het, spesifiek bydra tot 'n beter begrip van Kleurlingidentiteit in die hedendaagse Kaap. 'n Kort geskiedenis van Klipfontein en sy inwoners word aangeteken, gegrond op die beperkte hulpbronne wat beskikbaar is, asook stories wat deur die oudstes wat op die oorblywende grond woon, vertel. Laastens word die teorie van identiteitsvorming bespreek, tesame met parallelle tussen die elemente van 'n individu se kulturele identiteit en die Klipfontein-gemeenskap. Oor die afgelope twee eeue het generasies van Klipfonteiners uitstallings van agentskap getoon in 'n poging om hul toekoms op die land te verseker en hul historiese en kulturele wortels wat oor 'n lang tydperk ontwikkel het, te behou. Die gemeenskap se verbintenis met die land waarop hulle leef en die simboliese belang van hul 'plek' in die wêreld, het die konvensies van die kerk en die fisiese grense op 'n kaart oortref en bly net so prominent soos wanneer hulle voorvaders die klip waaruit ‘n fontein vloei, vir die eerste keer ontdek het en besluit het om hierdie plek ‘huis’ te noem.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/108264
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