Title page for ETD etd-05092012-155855

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Jordaan, Gabriel Jacobus
URN etd-05092012-155855
Document Title History of the Dutch Reformed Church mission in Sekhukhuneland and church development 1875-1994
Degree PhD
Department Science of Religion and Missiology
Advisor Name Title
Prof A S van Niekerk Supervisor
  • mission
  • missionary
  • history
  • Dutch Reformed Church
  • DRC
  • Ned Geref Kerk in Afrika
  • NGKA
  • congregation
  • minister presbytery
  • partnership
  • unity
Date 2012-04-10
Availability unrestricted
The first chapter deals with the concept of mission history, the choice of research method, the phases of mission work in Sekhukhuneland and the establishment of the different congregations in the Presbytery of Burger. The second chapter contains the story of the Pedi and their country, as well as that of other groups like the Swazi and the Ndebele. From Chapter 3 the pioneering mission work of evangelists and missionaries is described. The role that evangelist Phillipus Mantsene played since 1875 until his death in 1915, as well as his supporters, Rev and Mrs AP Burger, laid the foundation for the involvement of the Transvaal Vrouesendingvereniging, which was established on 15th November 1905. This led to the calling of Rev and Mrs AJ Rousseau, who pioneered the first mission station in Sekhukhuneland, called BURGER, which was officially opened in 1929 (Chapter 8).

This is followed by a description of the monumental work done by missionary Jacobus Murray Louw at Maandagshoek Mission Station from 1st April 1944 to January 1962. The first black missionary for this area, Rev EM Phatudi, was ordained with him on 27th March 1943 at Mphahlele, and for a few years the two worked together in Sekhukhuneland. Phatudi’s mother, who was the daughter of the late Kgoši Sekhukhune and his father, chief Mmutle III, saw to it that he became a special person in the history of the DRC Mission. He was one of the great leaders of the NGKA, as will be seen in Chapter 10.

Since partnership is the theme that dominates in this research, ample space is given to the work of evangelists in the history of the DRC’s support mission in Sekhukhuneland. They were the missionaries’ partners in establishing the Kingdom of God among the Pedi, Swazi and Ndebele of Sekhukhuneland.

With the help of Rev MJ Mankoe who served in the congregation of Burger (Chapter 26), I have been able to paint several life-sketches of the early pioneering evangelists who worked diligently and under difficult circumstances, shoulder to shoulder with the missionaries (Chapter 11).

The history of each of the mission stations which functioned in Sekhukhuneland is dealt with in Chapters 12 to 14. The missionaries who pioneered these stations and their co-workers made a major contribution to the growth of the mission church and the forming of the Presbytery of Burger. The history of each of these mission stations, as well as the different congregations resulting from these stations, is described.

The time came for consolidating the borders and the placing of black ministers. This was the work of the Planning Commission of the Presbytery of Burger in 1965 and 1966. Chapters 16 to 22 describe the borders, different wards and names of the congregations. The strategy behind this was to ensure that the missionaries, white and black, could occupy equal posts. Once this was completed, a new phase of partnership came into being, as described in Chapters 24 to 30.

During this time the phasing out of evangelists took place, as is dealt with in Chapter 31. The two legs that carried missionary work up to this stage became weaker and weaker. Firstly, evangelists left or became full ministers, and secondly the need for a white minister or white missionary fell away.

It has also been necessary to describe the circumstances, experiences, views and contributions made by missionaries to prepare the step-out and take-over stages of the phasing-out period from Church-Mission partnership towards full independence and Church-Church partnership.

In Chapter 33 a bird’s eye view is taken of the phases of partnership in the DRC’s mission work in Sekhukhuneland. One has to conclude that the circumstances and conditions of the members of the NGKA were harsh. They were struggling against poverty, difficult living conditions, sickness and unemployment. The endeavour for unity among churches, the great topics of church growth and the development of their church to full financial independence could not receive their full attention.

In conclusion, I reflect on post-1994 developments in a wider context, based on the study of the previous phases. I also look at the DRC since 1994, asking whether the DRC is still serious about mission work and the mission call.

Another chapter was added to reflect on partnership, asking whether this was the answer to problems and tensions. A historical journey since Whitby (1947) is taken and the role the Ecumenical Movements have played since then in the young churches in South Africa is summarized. The great concepts of missio Dei, kerygma, diakonia and koinonia are evaluated in the light of partnership and obedience which was the theme of Whitby, but also the theme that caused continual dialogue, especially amongst the Evangelicals and the Ecumenical Movements.

© 2011 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Jordaan, GJ 2011, History of the Dutch Reformed Church mission in Sekhukhuneland and church development 1875-1994, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05092012-155855/ >


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