The "Deutsche Schule Hermannsburg" (or Hermannsburg School) is located in the hamlet of Hermannsburg on the North Eastern fringe of the Natal Midlands between Greytown and Kranskop.
The German Private School is the oldest in South Africa and was founded in 1854 by missionaries; of the Hermannsburg Missionary Society in Germany. They built the Mission house (which today houses the Museum). The missionaries soon felt the need to establish a School and within a few years this School was well known throughout the Colony of Natal, attracting many German and non-German scholars. It is said that General Louis Botha, co-responsible for the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910, is an old-scholar of the school as well.
The School has had many ups and downs, especially during the World Wars when Germans were not well received in the British Colonies. But it has managed to continue the education of young people without missing a single Year. Today it has about 200 scholars. Hermannsburg School is a private school, which receives grants from both the German and the South African Governments, but it largely owes its existence to the support of the local German community. While it still has a strong German flavour and close ties to the Lutheran church, (it is open to all though!)
Some old-scholars and past teachers of Hermannsburg School might remember it as HMB. The Schools Heritage dates back to the 1840's, when a Christian revival movement in Lower Saxony, Germany resulted in great interest in mission work. Pastor Louis Harms trained suitable young men as missionaries, sending them out with craftsmen to establish Mission Stations in Africa.
Over the next 100 years, about 240 missionaries made the journey into Africa, and all of them would come to Hermannsburg first. Here they would learn isiZulu, before travelling through Zululand, Natal and Transvaal to start mission stations. The German families in these areas are descendants of those settlers.
The Deutsche Schule Hermannsburg was founded in 1856 by the first group of these missionaries, becoming the very first Boarding School, in Natal.
The 200 Year old Mission House, was officially inaugurated as a Museum to house the History and artefacts of our beloved Missionaries. The founders were: Herr Direktor Wickert, Her Dr. W. Backeberg, Missionary Filter, Miss. Sup. F. Scriba, Fritz Scriba, Herr Struckmann, Arthur Leuschke, Henriette Röttcher, Inge Filter, Eckhart Dedekind and the first curator Werner von Fintel and of course the following curators Inge von Fintel and Petra Middleton.
In the 1860's, Pastor Heinrich Müller became Headmaster of Hermannsburg, helped transform the School from a small German-speaking Mission School into; the esteemed multilingual institution that it is today!