Genadendal Historic Village & Museum

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Genadendal Historic Village and Museum is a mere 6 km from Greyton. This interesting and historic village of Genadendal, the oldest Moravian mission village in Africa with church buildings and a school dates back to 1738.  To visit Genadendal’s church square, Die Werf, is to journey back in time. It boasts both a watermill in working condition and a fascinating museum that gives visitors insight into life in Genadendal centuries ago.
The original Moravian mission church houses the oldest pipe organ in South Africa. In front of the church stands the old bell and a collection of oak trees that would have granted shade to those attending church. Around the church yard are the original little thatched and predominantly white-walled cottages that first housed Georg Schmidt, the German missionary of the Moravian church who founded the village, and his mission. Georg Schmidt arrived in the area to evangelise among the Khhoi people as far back as 1738, only to be thrown out by rival Cape Dutch Reformed clergy who did not believe he had the right to baptise converts, after only eight years. It was some 45 years later before the Moravians finally resumed Schmidt’s work, and Genadendal grew into one of the largest settlements in the Cape Colony.
Today the centre of town is a community project run by locals who make available a museum, an operational water mill, a printing museum, a restaurant, a group of weavers, a bookshop and country-style accommodation to visitors. The original Moravian mission church houses the oldest pipe organ in the country. In front of the church stands the old bell and a collection of oak trees that would have granted shade to those attending church.
Genadendal means Valley of Grace and the surrounding area is indeed beautiful. Unsurprisingly, there is also a hike, known as the Genadendal Hiking Trail, which begins and ends in the little town and winds its way through the Riviersonderend Mountains.
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Last updated : 11-Oct-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011