The Magaliesberg range of Mountains dominates the Landscape that is now known as the Northwest Province. Rustenburg, the largest City in this Province, has significance for many groups in South Africa, and its History is complex and rich in variety. The known History of Rustenburg spans from the 15th Century to the post-Apartheid city, and the Town has become the fastest growing City in South Africa, due to the incredibly lucrative Mining Industry in the Region.
As Rustenburg lost its Political significance regarding Political developments after the establishment of Pretoria, as the Boer Capital, its role as the centre of Church activity grew. After the installation of Dirk van der Hoff and the establishment of the Dutch Reformed Church, a second minister, Dirk Postma, arrived from the Netherlands. After approval from the Gereformeerde Kerk Synod in Leiden, he left for South Africa, arriving in Rustenburg in November 1858. Postma's first experience of conflict was the issue of the relationship to the Cape Synod, and the singing of hymns. But he also began to engage in Missionary work, calling on Chief Magato, a move he was asked to explain at the second Synod in Pretoria in 1859.
When he staged a walkout over the issue of hymn singing, he was followed by various Dissenters, and was later asked by Paul Kruger to establish a Free Reform Church. Thus began the rift between the two Historic Churches in the Transvaal - the Hervormde Kerk- under Van der Hoff, and the Christelike Gereformeerde Kerk- under Postma. Membership of the new Church began with 610.
The relation between Church and State in South Africa, has always been complex. In later Years the Churches provided Moral and Scriptural Justification for Apartheid. But even earlier Churches were confronted with the question of their relation to the Black Inhabitants, of the Country. The fact that the Church in Rustenburg was Constructed using the Labour of 'Inboekselings', who were Black children Captured by the Boers and used as Slaves, this says much about how the relationship was constituted.
The Church played a Central Role in keeping the Boer Communities, united. It defined the Congregation and prescribed relations between Whites and Blacks. In 1889, the Doppers erected a new Church.
The Gereformeerde Kerk van SuidAfrika held a Centenary Celebration, over the Weekend of 27- 30 March 1959. The gathering was attended by Churchmen from the entire Country as well as Representatives from the USA, from Europe and elsewhere. Prime Minister HF Verwoerd delivered a speech at the Conference.
In 1990, various Churches attended the 'Rustenburg Churches Deliberation'- an attempt to decide the way forward for the Churches and their relation to Apartheid. As many as 230 Delegates, representing 81 Churches, participated. After this event, there was "a marked increase in affiliation between the different Church groups". As the size of Congregations increased, new Churches were Built. The NGK and The HervormdeKerk put up Churches; in Rustenburg North in May 1941, Rustenburg East in April 1944 and Rustenburg West in November 1946.
The Gereformeerde Church established a new Congregation, at the Crocodile River in 1911 and another at Matlabas in 1918. Further Churches were put up in Drieriviersbom in 1938, Elandskraalin 1948 and Rustenburg North in 1949.
The Catholics, although active in the Area since 1884, only erected a Church in 1936 and a Convent in 1950.
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