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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499

Studia Hist. Ecc. vol.34 n.2 Pretoria Dec. 2008


Farm ministries in the Hoedspruit area: Past and present



Christina Landman

Research Institute for Theology and Religion, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa




Missionary work came late to the eastern Lowveld, and specifically to the areas today known as Hoedspruit, Acornhoek and Bushbuckridge. The twentieth century saw the Swiss (Evangelical Presbyterian Church) and the Germans (Lutheran Church) doing missionary work in the eastern Lowveld, with the Roman Catholics making an entry through Mozambique. The Dutch Reformed Church began missionary work in the Hoedspruit/Acornhoek/Bushbuckridge area in the 1950s. At present, however, these and other mainline churches have all but disappeared from the religious scene among farm workers in the area, and among black Christians, indigenous churches with a focus on healing ministries are dominant. This article traces the history of Christian ministries among farm workers in the eastern Lowveld, with particular emphasis on the Hoedspruit area. It focuses on developments since the Tomlinson Report of the 1950s led to the renewal of missionary work in the broader South Africa, including this area. Against this historical backdrop, the religious identity of farm workers in the Hoedspruit area is described with the help of a recent research project on the religious discourses that inform the way in which farm workers in this area - among whom there is a 28.8% prevalence of HIV infection - perceive illness and healing. Reasons for the departure of farm workers from the historically mission churches in favour of indigenous churches with pronounced healing ministries are identified.



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Works consulted

Unpublished sources

Boshoff, Carel & Anna. Herinneringe van ons bevestiging op Kampersrus 18 Augustus 1956.         [ Links ]

Notule van 'n Plaassendingvergadering soos op 4 Junie 2001 om 18:30 te Van Rensburgsaal gehou.         [ Links ]

Notule van Plaassendingvergadering gehou op 23 Julie 2001 te Van Rensburgsaal.         [ Links ]

Notules NGK Kampersrus, 13 Junie 1959 tot 4 Maart 1993.         [ Links ]

Oral interviews

Beukes, Koos: 8 January 2009        [ Links ]

Botha, Sias: 20 January 2009.         [ Links ]

Crafford, Dionne: 8 January 2009.         [ Links ]

Dorey, Pieter: 19/21 January 2009.         [ Links ]

Dreyer, Piet: 9 January 2009.         [ Links ]

Grové, Harrie: 29 September 2008.         [ Links ]

Kritzinger, Dons: 3 January 2009.         [ Links ]

Louw, Danie: 29 January 2009.         [ Links ]

Mandosela, Andrews: Ongoing interviews March to November 2008.         [ Links ]

Masinga, Daniel: 20 January 2009.         [ Links ]

Masinga, Martha: 20 January 2009.         [ Links ]

Mosehla, Nathanael: 21 January 2009        [ Links ]

Scheepers, Louis: 19 January 2009.         [ Links ]

Published material

Kritzinger, J J 1982. Die onvoltooide sendingtaak in Noord- en OosTransvaal. Universiteit van Pretoria: ISWEN.         [ Links ]

Kritzinger, J J 1988. Die onvoltooide sendingtaak in Suid-Afrika. Universiteit van Pretoria: ISWEN.         [ Links ]

Saayman, Willem 2007. Being missionary, being human: An overview of Dutch Reformed Mission. Pietermaritzburg: Cluster.         [ Links ]

Congregational histories (Gemeentegeskiedenisse)

Rivoni 1958-1968

Projects and reports

Landman, C 2008. "Concepts of illness and healing amongst farm workers in the Hoedspruit area". Project done by the author with the assistance of Andrews Mandosela between March and November 2008, comprising 210 interviews with farm workers. Funded by the National Research Foundation.         [ Links ]

Evian, C 2008. "HIV prevalence and behavioural survey among employees on commercial farms in Hoedspruit, Limpopo, RSA." Funded by IOM, PHAMSA and Hoedspruit Training Trust.         [ Links ]

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