29 August 1688

Pierre Simond, a Huguenot minister, was born in 1651 in Nion (Dauphine). After studying theology he became a minister at Montjoux and then at Embrun. After the edict of Nantes, which forbade the practice of the reformed Huguenot religion, he fled to Zierikzee in the Netherlands and accompanied the Huguenots to the Cape on 29 August 1688, by order of the Heeren XVII (Lords Seventeen) of the Dutch East India Company (VOC).

Simond was stationed at Drakenstein, where he was given two farms. He was then required to preach at both Drakenstein and Stellenbosch. Simond is said to have been very involved with the spiritual and social welfare of the Huguenots and later led the deputation to Governor Simon van der Stel on 20 November 1689 to request their own congregation. They were granted permission to establish their own church building in 1691, which was near to the present day church building in Simondium.

Simon also published a new verse translation of the Psalms into French in 1703, which is possibly the first book written in South Africa. This book was subsequently published in Amsterdam in 1704 as Les Veilles Afriquaines ou les Pseaumes de David mis en vers Francois (The Africa night watches or the Psalms of Dawid in French verse form).

In 1700, Simond applied for permission to return to the Netherlands, and was not succeeded by another French-speaking minister. He then lived in Amsterdam and Haarlem, and became the second minister at Lille in 1709. It is not known where or when he died but it is known that he was outlived by his widow, Anne de Berault de la Magre, from Normandy.

  • Coertzen, P. (2008) 'The arrival and establishment of the Huguenots at the Cape of Good Hope' from The Huguenot Society of South Africa [online] Available at: www.hugenoot.co.za [Accessed 23 August 2010]
  • Potgieter, D.J et al. (eds) (1973) Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, NASOU: Cape Town, vol. 9 pg. 637.
  • Wallis, F. (2000) Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau