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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versión On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versión impresa ISSN 1017-0499


PIENAAR, Pascal. The Pniël Land Dispute of the Early 20th Century. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2020, vol.46, n.2, pp.1-10. ISSN 2412-4265.

In 1834 the slaves of the Groot Drakenstein area were emancipated. They continued to work for farmers in the surrounding area and this resulted in the formation of a community where these farm workers, now able to leave their employer's land, would return to in the evenings and call home. This land was originally a donation of De Goede Hoop farm, intended mainly for the establishment of a mission station for recently freed slaves. Reverend J.F. Stegman was appointed by the Apostolic Union, a non-denominational Protestant group, as the first reverend of this mission station. At the end of 1834, the Board of Directors of the "Mission Institute Pniël," a body instituted under the auspices of the Apostolic Union with the initial aim of operating for the benefit of the local people, purchased the Papiere Molen farm. A major portion of the farm was then divided into 99 holdings and applicants from the community, who were accepted as occupiers of these holdings, were known as "erf-holders." In the following years it became a condition of tenure that they would pay a monthly rental to provide a salary for the Minister, which became the source of contention following the passing of Reverend Stegman. In 1905, local residents of Pniël spoke out regarding their desire to have more input in the operation of the mission station and usage of the land, and they questioned the overall authority of the current board of directors. This led to a court case in which the Board of Directors acted as the defendants. This paper will seek to examine the circumstances for this case as well as those surrounding its outcomes through the lens of a modern reader.

Palabras clave : Pniël; mission; court case; land dispute; emancipated slaves; mission stations; theology; land; Apostolic Union.

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